NORMAL, ILLINOIS (June 5, 2009) – Imagine the extraordinary site of a 1950-60s era automobile looking today exactly as it did when it first rolled off the assembly line. A well-preserved masterpiece like that, without touch-up paint on the engine block or replacement parts, is a rarity that deserves its recognition in automotive history.

Now Bloomington Gold has created an award to distinguish these incredibly preserved vehicles and the owners who have so carefully taken care of them. Known as The ZZenith(tm), this award recognizes vehicles that are at least 40 years old and have maintained originality and condition levels within 90-95% of the way they appeared factory new.

The ZZenith Award will be launched during the 2009 SURVIVOR Collector Car event – America’s only car event devoted exclusively to un-restored original collector cars of all makes and models – and can be presented to any car that qualifies, creating no limit to the number of ZZenith winners. SURVIVOR Collector Car is presented by Bloomington Gold on Sunday, June 28, 2009, at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Ill.

In addition to the coveted honor of ZZenith Awards, an expert board of judges will inspect all registered cars to present a large variety of recognition awards, including Freeze Frame, Limited, Mark of History, and more.
Members of the 2009 ZZenith Board are:
* Mike Ardito
* John Ballard
* Colin Comer
* Ken Dover
* Marty Fowler
* McKeel Hagerty
* Dennis Hakim
* Paul Kirwan
* Richard Lentinello
* Bob Perkins
* Chris Piscitello
* Rob Sass
* Steve Shauger
* Jonathan Stein
* Tim Thorpe
* Dave Walters

“Achieving a ZZenith Award will mean our highly credible board has declared your vehicle to have been preserved ‘nearly new’ with less than 10% deterioration, restoration or replacement parts from when it was brand new – an extraordinary feat,” said David Burroughs, CEO of Bloomington Gold. “This level of preservation is highly unusual to find among most un-restored automobiles of this vintage and older.”

Cars receiving the ZZenith Award will be driven to a special display location on the Pheasant Run golf course and the owners will be presented with printed certificates that can be kept with the vehicle’s documentation. According to Burroughs, this prestigious award will likely become the standard by which collector cars are evaluated in the future, with enthusiasts asking “Does it have a ZZenith Award?”

For more than 30 years, Burroughs has recognized the need to reward car owners who strove to preserve their car’s originality. In 1978, he introduced the GoldCertified standard by which expert judges assess a (restored or un-restored) Corvette’s authenticity and condition. It is GoldCertified if it appears to remain within 95% of what it looked like on the day it left the factory: no better, no worse, no different.

To give owners an incentive not to restore or recondition vehicles that didn’t need it, Burroughs developed a new judging process in 1989 that awarded SURVIVOR status to un-restored Corvettes that could meet a national standard for un-restored cars. They needed to be at least 20 years old, pass a 20-mile road test, remain less than 50% restored or refinished, and retain over 50% of their original factory finishes in nearly new condition.

In 2008, the first SURVIVOR Collector Car event kicked off with 128 amazing cars of all makes and models parked on the beautiful fairways of Pheasant Run golf course – possibly the largest collection of un-restored collector cars assembled in history.

The 2009 SURVIVOR Collector Car event will also feature an extended display area for owners to showcase their un-restored vehicles as well as a buy/sell area next to the awards field to give enthusiasts the opportunity to buy and sell un-restored collector cars at the show. To learn more, including how to become a judge and about vehicle eligibility/certification standards, call 309.888.2588 or visit

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