2023 Solid Axle Corvette Club National Convention

Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
May 31-June 3, 2023



*Photos and Captions by Diane Preston






The 2023 Solid Axle Corvette Club Annual National Convention was held at the in Normal, Illinois on May 31-June 3. It was hosted by the Great Rivers Chapter and chaired by SACC Secretary, Mary Rae Brockhouse. 

As always the registration desk is right there in the lobby.


Manning the desk was Gerri Hollada, Leslie Barnes, and helped by Marie Chance.





Participants began arriving on Tuesday, May 30 from all over the country. Wednesday, May 31 began the planned activities.
















First was the Annual Board meeting attended by the national officers and regional representatives in the morning. Items of discussion can be found in the minutes.


L to R:  Lucy Badenhoop, Club Treasurer; Mary Rae Brockhouse, Club Secretary;  Don Brittin, Club Vice-President;  Jack Hollada (Holiday), Club President; Tom Barnes, Eastern Regional Representative, and Michelle Paillou , Central Regional Representative.















Wednesday afternoon the board met with the chapter representatives to discuss club issues, including retention, dues collection, IRS reporting and recruiting new members. Bill Huffman, president of the Michigan Chapter, did a special presentation of a recruitment flyer he had developed for his chapter








That evening the welcome party was held at the hotel and everyone enjoyed a delicious Italian buffet arranged by Gerri Hollada.


Ya know what.... sometime you just are not ready for someone to take your pic.











President Doc Hollada presented the Noland Adams Award to Past President Larry D. Spilman.  Actually, this was a bit complicated.  Larry could not attend, and so Doc called Larry on his cell phone, told him he had won the award, then placed the microphone to the cell phone so all could hear Larry's response.  Larry was very appreciative and thanked everybody.















An auction was held for an event poster, framed letter from Noland Adams to Max Brockhouse and some very special commemorative coins.

The framed letter from Noland Adams to Max Brockhouse (regarding the British boat "the corvette", actually went to a bidder who had placed his bid ahead of time.

Our special guests Wednesday evening were the owners of the Bloomington Gold Event, Guy and  Jocelyn Larsen, who joined us at our Welcome Reception. We appreciate them inviting us to be special guests at the 2023 Bloomington Gold. They were gracious hosts all weekend and we had full access to all events and venues.  

Both Guy and Jocelyn took a turn on the microphone and welcomed us all.  They also brought
goodie bags!  Thank you Guy and Jocelyn!!


(L to R): Guy Larsen, Jocelyn Larsen, Jack Hollada, Mary Rae Brockhouse.








The official Annual SACC Business Meeting was held immediately after dinner Wednesday evening.

The white bags were the goodie bags that Guy and Jocelyn Larsen brought for us.









Thursday morning a tour of the David Davis Mansion was scheduled for those wanting to go. The mansion, known as Clover Lawn was completed in 1872. It was the home of David Davis, the friend, mentor and campaign manager for Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln appointed Davis as United States Supreme Court Justice in 1862. The mansion and garden remained in the Davis Family for three succeeding generations. In 1960, the house was donated to the State of Illinois; today, it is operated as a state historic site and has been declared a National Historic Landmark. The SACC Ladies enjoyed a luncheon after the tour.











The alternative activity for the morning was a Tech Session featuring Ken Yeager (Mid-America Corvette Mike Yeager’s older brother). He conducted a lively open discussion on C-1 technical issues that tend to plague all early Corvette owners. Water leaks, electrical issues and gasoline seemed to be on everybody’s mind. 









Thursday afternoon a group of us drove north along historic Route US-66 to Pontiac, Illinois to visit the Route 66 Museum. It conjured up memories of the days when we were kids travelling cross country. The same building had a wonderful Veterans’ museum with an unbelievable number of uniforms belonging to Veterans from the area. We found a great place for lunch just around the corner next to the Pontiac/Oakland Car Museum. This museum housed an astounding collection of memorabilia, a research library and some very nice vehicles. Everything we did was well worth the 30-mile trip.















SACC VP Don Brittin led the way on this road trip and tour.






















Thursday evening, we attended the Welcome Reception for Bloomington Gold with hors d’oeuvres and drinks. It was held among the 2023 Gold Collection featuring a fantastic assemblage of Z06 Corvettes, including the first one. The new 2023 Z06 was also on display with Corvette Chief Engineer Josh Holder near it answering questions.


(L to R): Diane Preston, Mary Rae Brockhouse, and Gerri Hollada seem to be having a good time.
















This reception was part of the Gold Member package of benefits.


Enjoying the special cake was Jane and Dennis Fontana from the Central Great Lakes































The theme for this year's Special Collection was the Z06 in Corvette history.


Kathy Ilowiecki is shooting a picture of this stunning '63.





















Friday and Saturday parking set aside during the main events for our Solid Axle cars was as good as it could get. We were parked inside the Bloomington Gold perimeter fence near the main gate where all Corvette parking attendees entered. We were close to all activity areas, on grass with shade trees and with security at all times.















There were Gold School Seminars repeated both days. Chief Corvette Engineer, Josh Holder, held two separate tech sessions both Friday and Saturday to introduce and answer questions about both the new Z06 and E-Ray separately. Unfortunately, the E-Ray itself was a no show due to technical difficulties.




John Kraman of Mecum Auctions told about what goes on within the auction and what it takes to make their auction happen. He also talked about the current market for collector cars. In another, a panel of experts discussed and answered questions about the purpose of NCRS and Bloomington Judging.  Bob Jones, Caretaker of the Z06 Registry and Marty Fowler, Bloomington Gold Judge presented info about the history of the Z06 and the current Gold Collection.












Friday evening, we joined all Gold Members for a buffet dinner at Medici’s, a local downtown Italian restaurant. The food was excellent and the lively conversation indicated everyone had a good time. There were great door prizes furnished by Bloomington Gold sponsors. SACC members won most of them.
















Here is Michigan Chapter President Bill Huffman receiving his door prize from Jocelyn Larsen,

plus a table full of happy diners.
















Two more of our members won door prizes.  On the left you see Jocelyn handing Leslie Barnes
her door prize which was a $200.00 spending spree at the Bloomington Gold Store.  Also Kathy Iloweicki won a door prize!














Saturday was a repeat of Friday’s tech sessions, swap meet, judging in the Arena, and automotive vendors in the Horton Field House. Some of our members assisted Jack Hollada in staffing our SACC membership booth in the vendor area both days. We thank Michelle Palliou for allowing her 1958 to be recruited at the last minute to display in our booth, when Don Brittin’s 1960 broke down on the way the Convention.  Here you see VP Don Brittin chatting with potential new members.
























Here is our vendor booth as looking from the East side of the building.  (L to R) D) VP Don Brittin and Eastern Regional Representative Tom Barnes.




















On the right is Central Regional Representative Michelle Paillou seated at the vendor booth's business table situated to the rear of her car.  With Michelle is Marie Chance.


The owners of Bloomington really liked that we had a stunning C-1 there at the vendor booth.  Plus it brought in potential new members.























And talk about convenient... another perk of going Gold Member was this lounge that was situated right across from our vendor booth.  During the day they had breakfast, snacks, lunch, then more snacks.


(L to R) Laura Lael, Gerri Hollada, Mary Rae Brockhouse.  They worked hard at this convention and needed a break.












Random Convention Pictures






Jerry Bent                                                                              Rex Barnes








Bob Burnett                                                   Karen and Russ Borchardt






Bob Cook, Mid-Atlantic Chapter President       Michelle Paillou, Central Regional Representative







Tom Barnes, Eastern Regional Rpresentative          Jack Hollada, SACC President







Some of the cars in our secure parking area that had night patrol.







Strictly Bloomington Gold





The judging was conducted in the arena just a fairly short walk from where the vendors were located.  


The ultimate moment was the presentation of the awards to each of the owners whose cars had been on display for us all weekend. Our SACC members Kathy and Greg Rohde earned a Gold Award for their beautiful Silver 1962. The Bloomington Gold judging is famous for its fairness and the way the judges compare each car to the benchmark. Among the cars were several that received Benchmark Awards for being survivors and their originality.  For Greg and Kathy the car was awarded 98.0967 points.  As Greg ponted out, you cannot get closer to 99 than that.  The car came with heavy duty suspension and brakes, radio delete, one top with fuel injection.













The final event was truly what Corvettes were meant for... a road cruise!!! Vettes of every generation lined up late Saturday afternoon for a 35-mile cruise around Lake Bloomington. We returned along old Route 66 to Uptown Normal for a rousing block party hosted by the Town of Normal.

























At the conclusio of the road tour we returned along old Route 66 to Uptown Normal for a rousing block party hosted by the Town of Normal.