As we gear up for our 5th trip to Bloomington Gold—and at the same time, get serious about our next CM staff Corvette—it’s only natural that we should begin to think about the pluses and minuses of original, preserved, older-restored and freshly restored cars.

Our Corvette fanatic friends, including Terry Michaelis of ProTeam Corvettes and Keith McCormick of McCormick Auctions in Palm Springs, CA, are adamant: “Having a Bloomington Gold Survivor-certified car is the best.” According to them, nothing can trump a car with its original finishes, and an unrestored car can provide a more authentic driving experience than a restored one.

Well, yes and no. For me personally, the burden of responsibility of caring for an original Corvette doesn’t interest me at all. The CM cars are daily drivers, and I don’t want to worry that a fender bender, or a slice in a seat from someone’s careless placement of a screwdriver in their back pocket, becomes a major tragedy.

I also don’t want to have to explain to somebody why the old, no-luster paint on my Sting Ray is “special” and should be “admired.” My dream car would be one that had a cosmetic restoration a decade or so ago, and has been driven 10,000 miles since. It would have fresh suspension bushings and everything underneath in good shape.

It should have its original engine and be painted its original color to a decent standard, so that when we show up to a Corvette Show ‘N Shine, people will immediately like it—rather than us having to explain why, as a (Bloomington Gold-style) Survivor, it is okay if it’s looks kind of worn out.

I also would be very reluctant to buy a Corvette that has had a “body-off,” rotisserie-style restoration. I simply think that once a car has been completely blown apart and then reconstructed, it rarely—if ever—drives as it should. Further, any kind of restoration to that level simply increases the price of a Corvette—without increasing its driving value to me. Just as with a Survivor, I don’t want the burden of caring for a 100-point car. After all, we have a 4-year-old, and he rides in all of our vintage cars. Sooner or later, Bradley is going to dump his chocolate milkshake onto the carpet. If that causes me to have a concours-prep heart attack, I’m in the wrong car.

That’s not to say that I don’t admire and respect Corvette enthusiasts at both ends of the spectrum—those who lovingly preserve their original cars, and those who restored their cars to an ultimate level—even beyond Bloomington and NCRS standards. After all, when you own a car, part of the deal is getting to do exactly what you want with your car.

Which gets us back to the next CM Corvette. At the office, we’re pretty clear about exactly what condition Corvette we are looking for—an older, restored, correct-color, numbersmatching car. Small block is better than big block.

Our budget is $30,000 to $40,000. What should we be looking for? Send your thoughts and suggestions to me at [email protected], and watch for your comments in our next issue.

Thanks again for being a part of the CM gang.

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