Corvette fever on Indy streets this weekend

By Diane Brown, IU Communications Specialist:

At first it was one car – white – behind me as I drove east on Crawfordsville Road headed to work Friday morning.

Soon I spotted two more vehicles from the famous Chevy family in the left lane – and then two more.

Then it hit me when I saw the line of Corvettes – make that parade of Corvettes — waiting to turn into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the 16th Street gate.

Must be a “Vette” show in town, I thought to myself.

Not just any show, I learned, but the show called the granddaddy of all shows, considered by some as the nation’s most prestigious and longest running all-Corvette show, according to local media coverage.

For the first time ever The Bloomington Gold Corvettes USA Show takes over the Indianapolis Speedway this weekend.

Great photos from the show hit Twitter, including a collage from Melanie Shaughnessy.

Photo via Twitter @MelAnn51

Photo via Twitter @MelAnn51

The Corvette holds a special place in American automobile history.

“The Corvette is the iconic American borne and bred sports car, and that is the heart of its popularity,” said IUPUI associate professor Pete Hylton, director of the motorsports engineering program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The Corvette show will hold a special place in at least one couple’s history as the site of their engagement.

My first encounters with the American obsession with the Corvette came during college. My alma mater had a Vette Club. As far as cars go, its members, including my sociology professor, dominated homecoming parades.

The Bloomington show takes to the Marion and Hendricks counties streets for a road tour at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 27 when more than 1,000 Corvettes will travel from the IMS to U.S. 40, to Cartersburg Road and to the square in Danville before ending the ride at Metropolis Mall in Plainfield. There the cars will be on public display.

Hundreds if not thousands, including this blogger, were in Plainfield several years ago when another Corvette road tour made an Indiana stop.

As part of a 50th anniversary road trip originating at The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., that show featured at least one Corvette from every year, but one, of the car’s production. All were on display at Griot’s Garage for spectators to get up close and personal. It was a great time.

Proposal on Victory Circle Photo via Twitter @CorvetteBlogger

Proposal on Victory Circle
Photo via Twitter @CorvetteBlogger

A quick stop at the Corvette Museum as a break during a trip to Tennessee offered a great time too. I particularly loved the Corvette nursery where some of the “babies” were waiting for their “parents” to take delivery of them.

Unfortunately I don’t own a Corvette, unless you count the ones in my collection of Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightnings, M2Machines, etc.

My most recent addition to my collection is the Hot Wheels Star Wars Darth Vadar car. You can find it, along with its R2-D2, Chewbacca, Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul, and Han Solo counterparts in local Walmarts, Meiers, KMarts.

Mattel introduced the toy car last year during the 2014 San Diego Comic Con show, along with a full-size working model. The toy 1:64 version in its light-saber case sold for $40 at Comic Con.

Car and Driver had a run-down:

The real-life or 1:1 version wasn’t up for sale. That car has a 526 hp Chevy LS3V-8 under the hood and was built on the body of a Corvette C5, the model used to pace the Indy 500 in 1998, 2002 and 2004.

Word is plans are in the works for the IMS, with Hendricks County as a partner, to hose the Bloomington Gold show for several years to come – another reason to rename Indy the motorsports capital of the world.

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