’Vettes crowd Pheasant Run for one last show
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News June 22, 2012 5:18PM
Judges scour over every detail of Mark Saulka's 1965 Corvette at the Bloomington Gold Corvette show at Pheasant Run in St. Charles on Friday, June 22, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 25, 2012 6:27AM
The sweet smell of scented exhaust filled the air along the 15th hole at Pheasant Run Golf Course, as 125 Corvettes young and old sat parked along the fairway, waiting to be judged.
They waited for their chance to win the Bloomington Gold coveted Gold Award. The award is not about buffing and shining your car like other car shows, according to Director Ed Saari. The name of the game for this show is authenticity.
“How is the car today versus when it left the factory?” Saari said.
The Gold Award contest is just one event at the Bloomington Gold show, which runs through Sunday at the resort in St. Charles.
Thousands of Corvettes are being displayed, with their owners celebrating their favorite sports car over the soft hum of running engines and the classic rock car-show soundtrack.
This is the 40th year for the event, and the final year that it will be held at Pheasant Run. The show began in Bloomington, and moved to Pheasant Run 10 years ago to accommodate the large number of drivers. Next year the show will be back in central Illinois, this time along the University of Illinois campus.
Mark Ardito of Johnsburg owns a repair shop in Libertyville called Tri Power Automotive. This year he brought his two ’67 Corvettes, one yellow and one blue. He said he likely will make the drive to Champaign next year, but it will be a little more inconvenient.
“I’m bummed because I live north of here,” he said.
The two cars he entered in the Gold Award competition were unrestored. That makes it more challenging to win, because the owner is relying on the car already being in good shape, he said. One group of judges had already evaluated his cars, but there would be three more throughout the day, he said.
The ’67 Corvettes held a value of somewhere between $250,000 and $350,000, he said.
Corvettes gain value as they age if they are cared for properly and not driven much, according to Steve Quies from Rockford. Quies entered a 1992 red Corvette into the competition. Over the course of his life he has bought and sold more than 100 Corvettes, he said.
His ’92 model only has 17,000 miles on it. Quies said he plans on making the Champaign trip next year. He has only missed a few of the shows, and has made the trip to Bloomington several times, he said.
Joe Kasuba does not plan on making the trip. He is a Corvette owner, but did not have a car entered in the judging this year. He loves the styles, horsepower and the sounds of the car.