By Ben Morse
“This is the tower. I have a formation of Corvettes on the runway and they're cleared for takeoff.” Words similar to these were echoed by Tamiami Airport officials April 27, 2002, as the 16th Annual Spring NCRS meet took flight at the Wings Over Miami Air Museum.
Seventy-nine Corvettes and six very special Camaros attended this year’s meet hosted jointly by the Sunshine Corvette Club and the Florida Chapter of NCRS. Among the participants at this year’s even was a stunning 1955 Corvette owned by Walter Shafer. This rare Corvette drew a constant crowd of spectators. Its 265 cubic inch small block was detailed to factory specs with braided spark plug wires, an abundance of chrome and sans oil filter.
Goldin Brothers Racing brought their vintage 1976 Greenwood Widebody Corvette to the show. This “Spirit of LeMans” Corvette racecar registered a top speed of 212 MPH on the Mulsanne Straight. Nestled inside a heavily modified stock frame was over 900+ horsepower of Kinser-injected, big block power. The unique cross-ram fuel injection manifold was developed by Greenwood to gain the power of injection without the aerodynamic drag of velocity stacks sticking out of the hood.
Kelly Steel displayed his recently completed 1959 Corvette. With its tube-frame and late model drive-train and suspension it wasn’t a picture of restoration, but it did demonstrate the best of old and new Corvette inspiration. The tan leather interior and yellow exterior made this unique Corvette a crowd pleaser.
Also pleasing to the eye was Dave Walter’s 1967 L-88 Corvette Coupe. You would expect this one of only twenty made mid-years to be trailered to the event. Wrong! Dave and his canine side kick Tex-Ann drove to the show. Nothing like the sight, sound and smell of a high compression big block rumbling into a hanger.
Richard Krooss drove his 1964 Bow Tie award-winning Coupe to the show. This pristine example of the mark sat proudly in the hanger. Richard enjoys this historic piece and has preserved it for future restorers to study.
New this year was the special invitation to the local F-Body (Camaro) Club. Gary Licko drove his rare 427 CI Yenko Camaro to the event. This largely original example of the Cannonsburg high performance Chevy dealer’s work wowed the crowd.
A fly-over by a vintage PBY and two trainers had the crowd turning skyward. Several other old war birds also flew during the event including an Air Force jet trainer turned pleasure plane.
Pre-flight judging was conducted by Tom Warren on Walter’s Shafer’s 1955 and 1967 Corvettes. Ed Augustine and Keith Geel represented the Florida Chapter. Their long treks from central Florida were appreciated by the attendees.
Open to all years of Corvettes, this year winners were:
1953-1962 Kelly Steel, 1959
1963-1967 Coupe Frank Vernie, 1967
1963-1967 Convertible Abraham Binker, 1967
1968-1975 Coupe Angel Sepulveda, 1975
1968-1975 Convertible Izzy Guillama, 1968
1976-1982 Irving Goldenberg, 1982
1984-1996 Coupe John Shaw, 1996
1984-1996 Convertible Andrew Ives, 1996
1997-Current Coupe Rudy Gonzalez III, 1997
1997-Current Convertible Alex Gonzalez, 2001
Our sincere thanks to our Trophy Sponsors Grand Prize Chevrolet, Walters Engineering, Wheel Tec, Sheilia Breighner, Jamie Basilio, The Goldsmith Foundation, Soft Tech Systems, International TAC, Metro Beauty Center and Sunshine Corvette Club, Inc.