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Last week, a series started with the title On the campaign path where I'll share my experience with my 72 Corvette as I perform this year at NCRS, Bloomington Gold and MCACN. Now that you know what I have, let's look at what was needed to prepare it for the judges. Instead of focusing on the specific tasks required to prepare my car, this week I will mainly go through some preparations for the judge's processing and sprinkle some details.
Based on my previous experience with C3 Corvettes, I was pretty sure this would be a car that I would run through the different rating systems. Of course, I did a thorough review and made the purchase, but I had to go over things more closely to decide on a full action plan. When I got the car back, I ordered the new one 5th Edition NCRS 1970-1972 Judges Manual and Technical Information Manual, The 5th edition features 364 pages of colorful photos and endless details that show how these cars appear after final assembly.
If you have not yet rated with NCRS, I also recommend buying the 8th edition Judging Reference Manual contains the details of the rating system and the rules of the organization. Another option is to study your local NCRS chapter via the NCRS website to find an experienced member or judge in your area who could possibly help. I've done this a couple of times to get help checking cars outside of the state before buying, and have had great results both times. Because the NCRS is an organized club, there are plenty of resources to help you prepare for the assessment. And with many NCRS members joining the Bloomington Gold and Muscle Car and Corvette national shows, I'm sure you could also contact one of these organizations, and they could help guide you in the right direction for evaluating the To find preparation help. Finally, there are online discussion boards like the Corvette Forum and the NCRS Technical Discussion Board where people can ask and answer questions of all kinds. If you come across a problem during recovery, there's a good chance that someone else found it and the answer may already be online. I mention the NCRS documents here because they are most readily available and most detailed. My experience has shown that if you are prepared for the NCRS valuation standards you should be in good shape for Bloomington Gold and MCACN as well. Of course, do your homework first, do not take my word for it.
So I picked up my NCRS review manual and went to CorvetteBlogger Restoration Center and started to replay the car itself Download a copy of the 1970-72 Grading Sheets from the NCRS website, The assessment of Corvettes is divided into five sections: operation, mechanics (engine compartment), chassis, exterior and interior. As I work through each section, I not only add notes to the actual review sheets, but also create a separate to-do list, which ultimately becomes the worksheet I follow to take care of the items I need. If you judge the car yourself, I recommend that you be tough with your prints. That is, if you believe that a judge earns one point, then you should take two. After putting the chart together, I came down 93%, just behind the 94% for Top Flight and 95% for Bloomington and MCACN Gold, but now I had a road map to get there. Due to my yielding evaluation style, I know that the 93% would most likely be higher in a judged event.
Having worked through the car in detail, I now confirmed what I already knew. This is a great candidate for the NCRS Flight and Bowtie Awards as well as the Bloomington Survivor, Gold and Benchmark Awards. With that in mind, I reviewed the calendar for 2018 and orbited two weekends in June. In early June, the NCRS would be Motor City Regional and two weeks later, Bloomington would be Gold. In anticipation of these shows, in November I am qualified to participate in Triple Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals.
The preparation of an unrestored Corvette makes the task at hand a lot more difficult. I had to prioritize the repairs instead of replacing them. At Survival Prices, the judges want to see the actual parts that were on the cart when it left St. Louis. You must carefully preserve what Chevrolet built 46 years ago.
There are no pristine Corvettes, so of course I had a lot to do. The first area that I look at before formal judging is surgery, because it quickly loses points. A single error can cost as much as 25 points, while a condition or deduction can only be one or two points. Fortunately, I only had a few things that did not work on my car. For example, the hood alarm switch did not work, a high beam was blown, the clock did not work, and the windshield washer did not work.
After the operations, I next looked at items that would cost me the most. One of the big items was the battery. The original Delco battery was long gone and the currently used battery would have earned almost a complete deduction. Reproductions – apart from the high prices – do not exactly match the originals and still receive a small deduction. When I started looking up Repro batteries to order one, I learned that the company that made them had some problems and did not do them anymore. I was looking for something, but in the end I left the penultimate in Corvette Central.
Elsewhere in the car, I had only small things to correct or to get. On the outside I had to get me a few license plate frames. It was anything but a few color adjustments with a scale and fresh, thorough waxing. Apart from this battery, the interior was kept apart from a few manual parcels owned by the owner. The chassis needed only a few minor details. The exhaust system was replaced many years ago. Given the cost of a replacement system and the subsequent deductions that virtually all replacement systems have on the market, the price relative to the dollar spent did not make sense to use a new one for the car. Instead, I decided to paint my silencers black, like St. Louis, add some stickers with part numbers, take over the prints, and continue.
After I finished everything, it was time to clean. The assessment standards allow "delivery dust", ie a degree of pollution equal to that which the vehicle would have had on its delivery to the first customer. Since this is an unrestored car, things had to be carefully wiped or cleaned to protect the original markings and surfaces. My recommendation here is to start with something like a dish soap and work slowly towards a Simple Green or another degreaser. Cleanliness is a very small part of the total score. So do not be afraid to be on the safe side. When an original is finished, it will not come back.
Once everything was ticked off the to-do list, it was time to re-persuade the car with all the improvements. This time my score was much higher – 95.5%. As before, my harder evaluation style would have required a lower score than I would see on the actual valuation date. So far things look promising.
Between October 2017 and June 2018, I had brought the car up to a level where I could compete for the biggest awards in our hobby – or at least I thought so. Time to really find out. Next stop was the NCRS Motor City Regional. Check in next week, as I have.
Photos by Steve Burns
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