In August 2001 I bought this Yellow 1968 L-89 Corvette. Back in 1989 it was in Bloomington Illinois for that annual June National Corvette Certification Board judging event for Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. I was there too but don't remember this car.
There is some controversy as to that Bloomington award. It may be that this Corvette was awarded Gold and at some time after the event, this was changed to Silver. Or maybe it was only a Silver.
In 1968 Clippenger Chevrolet in California sold this 1968 L-89. Years later when Robert Mendez had it for sale in Phoenix, Arizona and an old customer of mine Loren Lundberg inspected the car. Recently Loren wrote me in Feb 2003 and I quote:
"I can't explain the Gold-into-Silver, but I did look up the Driveline ad and run #7366 through the data base. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be the one that Brian Futo and I considered buying in Surprise AZ a number of years back - from Bob Mendez, who was the second owner. Even still have the file on the car - damaged emergency brake console, rear compartment surround/doors. jeaders, tape deck hole in RH dash, lips gone off both rear quarters and a vertical crack in the LR, early 68 stress cracks in the front, etc.
Car had not been plated since 1977. Tripower and heads were present. Can't imagine anyone worrying about the engine stamp, although my notes do indicate that the serial part of the stamp had decreasing depth as it moved to the
right - indicating that the stamper had "cocked" the holder.
Mendez was trying to pretend that he was the original owner, but we found out that was not true - we believed he had bought it as a used car in late 1969 - he recited it as being from "Jack Head Chevrolet" somewhere in CA. At least it has made it to a good home.
Some time prior to 1989, John Gardner then purchased this car and paid Tom Thorpe over $38,000 to do a frame off for particition the 1989 Bloomington judging.
Vette Vues magazine from October 1989 has a report on that June 1989 Bloomington Event. On page 78 it shows the Gold awards and there it is this listed with the other 1968's and shown by John Gardner CA.
From then until 2001 this was L-89 was identified as Bloomington Gold certified be the subsequent owners. In 1990 it was up for sale. The next three owner all traded another car to get this Corvette and subsequently traded it to obtain another vehicle. Marshall Moran next traded it to Charles Lillard who advertised it in Hemmings Motor New in February 1997 as follows.
"CORVETTE: 1968, 435 hp, L89, safari yellow, 4-spd, T-tops, tank sticker, #s match, not restamped, Bloomington Gold, $33,000 PH: 916-xxx-xxxx CA"
Tim Gilmore responded to that advt and traded for this car. He in turn advertised the car in the NCRS Driveline twice as Bloomington Gold certified.
March/April 1998 Driveline:
"1968 Corvette Coupe #7366, 427/435, L89 alum heads, 4 spd, 4.11, F41, off road exh, power windows & brakes all on orig tank sticker. Tim Thorpe resto Bloomington Gold car, ordered by Bob Wingate of Clippenger Chev. Owner history, resto receipts & pictures of this yellow/blk car. Orig eng, trans, rear & frame. Full operational TI. In L89 survey. $36,000. 512-xxx-xxxx, TX."
"68 Coupe #7366, 427/435, L89/Aluminum head engine, Bloomington Gold certified and Tim Thorpe restored, original engine, transmission and rear, owner history from Clippenger Chevrolet to current. pw, pb, F41, 4.11, N11 and more on original tank sheet., yellow/black $33,000 or trade for nice midyear. 512-xxx-xxxx. TX"
I asked Tim Gilmore if he misrepresented this Corvette as Bloominton Gold certified, when he traded it to Tom Barr in 1998. He claimed that he believed it to be Gold certified. In 1991 Tom Barr contacted Bloomington to obtain verification of the awards since he had no copies of their judging sheet. That letter from Bloomington and those judging sheets he received are shown below.
Tom Barr was shocked to say the least and truthfully represented the car to me a Silver certified when I purchased it. I have emailed and spoken to some of the prior owners. Each prior owner to Charles Lillard has said they only obtained a photocopy of the alleged Gold certificate number 1830 shown below.
I have written to Bloomington to see who they say owns the number 1830 Gold certificate. The current owners of Bloomington were un-responsive. (Now it's 2004 - Bloomington never bothered to answer.) If they answer I might find out who rightfully owns Number 1830 and will be closer to determining who turned SILVER into GOLD or if GOLD was changed to SILVER. If you know who owns a legitimate certificate near this number please let me know.
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