Ed Nieves Journey Into the World of Tri-Power, NCRS, Bloomington Gold and Triple Diamond-Level Corvettes

Keeping his 1995 Corvette convertible “factory fresh” and then some!

Dateline: 10-3-18 – The Corvette hobby is a sub-culture of the larger car-culture. Within the Corvette community there are many sub-cultures where owners do different kinds of things with their Corvettes. Some race their Corvettes and within the racer crowd there are different kinds of racing. Some start out personalizing their Vette that leads to all-out custom Corvettes. Others give their Corvette a pampered life with heated and air conditioned garages; the cars never get wet, and are cleaned after every drive. On the opposite side are the Vettes that are driven, repaired, and enjoyed for hundreds or thousands of miles.

At the extreme opposite end of the daily drivers are the Vette Vues Tri-Power, NCRS Top Flight, Bloomington Gold, and Triple Diamond Award Corvettes. These Corvettes look like they were put into a Star Trek transported and beamed from Bowling Green or St. Louis, directly to the owner’s garage. For Corvette fans that haven’t been to the Bowling Green Assembly Plant and taken the tour, these Corvettes are as close as you can get to “factory fresh.” What every Corvette nitch has in common (besides a passion for Vettes) is that the owners are all enjoying their Corvette in their own unique way.

Ed Nieves was like lots of red-blooded American males that have a “Some day I’ll get a Vette!” mental infection. But Life and obligations typically keep the Corvette daydreams way down the list. Ed had the itch we can all relate to. But in 2008 he decided to go for it!

Ed’s “dream Vette” was white with a red interior – just like the first 300 1953 Corvettes. He was willing to go for a C3 Corvette but found very few with the white/red combo he wanted. Ed was hoping to find a private seller, looking for a new home for his baby. As luck would have it, Ed found a 1995 Corvette, with the color combo he wanted, and it was only one hour from where he lives in Miami, Florida. But here’s the big, “But…” The car was up for auction on eBay, which was not how Ed wanted to buy his Corvette.

However, the description was intriguing; it read…

“Incredible all original 13-year-old Corvette Convertible still looked like it’s sitting on the dealer’s showroom floor. Everything works to perfection, and this car needs nothing. If you wash it, you might get it dirty.”

The listing said that the 13-year-old Corvette only had 14,000 miles – very light usage. The more Ed looked at the photos and read the car’s details, the more he knew he had to act quickly. If that’s the color combo you’ve always wanted, and the details were right, who wouldn’t want to check that out if it was only one hour away?

Ed contacted the seller in Fort Lauderdale and arranged to see the car. Upon his arrival, within seconds, Ed knew this was the real deal – exactly the Corvette he wanted! The deal was quickly negotiated and an hour later, Ed had the top down and was heading south to Miami.

As Ed put it, “Of course, I lowered the top and drove her home like I stole her!” Upon his arrival home, Ed tossed the keys to his eldest daughter, Melissa and told her, “Take it for a spin with your little sister!” (Awww, what’a Dad!)

After Ed had the oil and fluids changed and a good tune-up, he drove and enjoyed his white 1995 Corvette convertible, mostly on the weekends. South Florida is a wonderful place for top-down evening cruising. Things cool off, the air is sweet, and the sunsets are spectacular. The car wasn’t “perfect” and needed a few things, but it was all small stuff. Ed was a happy guy!

The Sunshine Corvette Club is a Miami-based Corvette club. When Ed decided to attend the club’s Annual Corvette Show, he really didn’t know what to expect. What he found was a great group of Corvette lovers, eager to help one another. Ed also got an experiential education on super-sano Corvettes. Much to Ed’s surprise, his Corvette was awarded 3rd Place in the C4 class. Seeing what the 1st place Class winners looked like, Ed got a clear picture of what he needed to do to get his Corvette up to speed.

Over the next few years, Ed kept improving the cosmetics of his Corvette and started racking up 1st in C4 Class wins. One day Ed’s Corvette pal, Jack Exter, told him about the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS), and that the NCSR Florida Winter Regional Meet in Kissimmee, Florida was to be held in January 2012. Jack could tell that Ed’s Corvette was already pretty well up to NCRA level competition, so once again, Ed jumped into the pool, not really knowing what to expect. Ed explains, I found myself lost in the world of technical judging. However, after it was over, I was awarded an NCRS Top Flight at the banquet ceremony. This was the beginning of the end for me. I was bitten by the bug!”

In the five years from 2012 to 2017 Ed has racked up an impressive number of awards, including; Four Top Flights, an NCRS Performance Verification Award (which requires every component of the car to work to factory specifications), and an NCRS Hill Mark of Excellence Award (reportedly, only 34 cars have won this NCRS prestigious award).

Ed set his sights on two very special national awards; the Vette Vues Tri-Power Award (hosted at the Corvette/Chevy Expo, in Galveston, Texas) and the MCACN Triple Diamond Award (hosted at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago). But, Ed learned that he needed to first have a Bloomington Gold Award in order to qualify for the Tri-Power Award and the Triple Diamond Award.

By this time, Ed was a veteran at transporting his Corvette in an enclosed trailed. In 2015 Ed packed up his 1995 Corvette and headed to Indianapolis. The event was spectacular for Ed, as his Corvette scored 99.5 out of 100, and received a Bloomington Gold Award. With a Bloomington Gold Award under his belt, in March 2017 Ed sent in his application for the Tri-Power Award to Bill Wolf, publisher of Vette Vues Magazine and organizer of the Corvette/Chevy Expo in Galveston, Texas.

It is a 1,200-mile drive from Miami to Galveston in a truck with an enclosed trailer, but it was worth the effort. Ed recalls, “The car was placed in the lobby area with the rest the Tri-Power contenders, and it was an awesome experience from day one. We received a Tri-Power Award, a President’s Award (awarded to cars that score above 98%) and won best of class. I was ecstatic with our results, and the judging process was fair and comprehensive. Bill, Bonnie, and the staff put on a spectacular event.” (You can read about the event in the August 2017 issue of Vette Vues Magazine and Ed’s Corvette is on page 7)

In November 2017 it was time to go for the Triple Diamond Award at the MCACN (Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals) event. Ed packed up his award-winning 1995 Corvette and headed north for the LONG 1,400 miles trip from Miami, Florida to Rosemont, Illinois.. This is the biggest and toughest muscle car and Corvette show of the year and there were approximately 570 pristine cars there. After the judging, Ed’s car received very positive feedback and at the awards ceremony was awarded the MCACN’s Triple Diamond AND Gold Concours Awards! Ed’s 1995 Corvette convertible scored in the high 99-percent range.

When thinking about “competition” Corvettes, we usually think “racing”. But this is a very different kind of competition; it’s about extreme attention to details. Ed’s Corvette went from being a well-kept driver, to an NCRS Top Flight, Tri-Power, Bloomington Gold, and Triple Diamond award-winning car.

This kind of competition isn’t “just” about having a well-preserved automobile. Ed’s Corvette also has the complete owner’s manual, delivery inspection brochure, Chevrolet Satisfaction System Brochure, Corvette Roadside Assistance Brochure, GM Warranty booklet, the Limited Warranty brochure, the CFSs brochure, the locking nut bag, two sets of keys, key knockouts, the emergency key from the factory, the original air filter, and the passive keyless entry decal. The only thing missing is the original gasoline, oil, coolant, and air in the tires!

Ed Nieves has come a very long way in his journey into the world of Corvettes. He sums it up this way, “I have to admit that it has been a lot of work traveling and attending these car meets throughout the U.S. But the adventures continue to keep me motivated and more importantly, I enjoy meeting new people and saying hello to old friends. My foundation, the United Correctional Officers Federation, is based on the NCRS standard of judging, and I continue to serve as an NCRS judge with the C4 team and assist the Florida NCRS chapter as their newsletter editor. The Corvette that I purchased nine years ago just to drive, turned out to be more, and better than I expected.”

Obviously a Corvette such as Ed Nieves’ doesn’t rack up many, if any, miles on the road any more. Maybe Ed will have to look for a second white and red Corvette driver. If he does, will he be able to keep it a driver, or will the temptation be too great to turn it into another award-winning Corvette? Keep us up to date, Ed. – Scott


2016 NCRS Winter Meet in Florida


by Walt Thurn as republished from SuperChevy.com, Graphics-Photos by Super Chevy
33 Corvettes Are Judged and 25 Receive Top Flight Awards

Dateline 02.20.16: The National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) is dedicated to the preservation of Corvette history through the use of a comprehensive judging process. This process enables the NCRS to verify how accurately owners have restored and returned their cars to its original state. Corvettes that meet these requirements are presented with a Top Flight Award. Continue reading

2016 NCRS Winter Meet in Florida”

Hottest Corvettes and New Parts at the 2015 SEMA Show


by Scott Parker as republished from Super Chevy
Accounting for the hottest Corvettes and new parts seen in Las Vegas

Dateline 11.28.15: If you are a car guy, there are few spectacles quite as awe-inspiring as the SEMA show. All the big players in the aftermarket industry congregate at the Las Vegas Convention Center for what can only be described as an epic display. Good or bad (but mostly good), every trend in the automotive aftermarket starts right here. Wheel designs, color combinations, build styles – you name it – enter the magnifying glass as builders and manufacturers try to outdo each other for the coveted SEMA awards. Continue reading

Hottest Corvettes and New Parts at the 2015 SEMA Show”

The 2015 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals Review – Nov 21st Chicago


by Drew Hardin as republished from HotRod.com
High Quality Cars at the 7th annual Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals (MCACN)

Dateline 11.23.15:  The 7th annual Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals (MCACN) doesn’t officially get underway until Saturday November 21, but we showed up at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport a few days early to bring you a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at some of the incredible muscle cars that will be on display.

Continue reading

The 2015 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals Review – Nov 21st Chicago”

2015 Corvettes at Carlisle Show is a Wrap! That’s All, Folks! 5 Videos!

The 33rd edition of Corvettes at Carlisle, Comes to a close!

Image: http://www.CorvetteBlogger.com

Corvettes at Carlisle is a Corvette Happening! The sights, the sounds, the carbon fiber, fiberglass, and wax. With almost 63 years of Corvette history spread out over 82 acres, to take it all in is a marathon. Today, thanks to the wonder of YouTube you can at least get a sense of what the event was like.

Continue reading

2015 Corvettes at Carlisle Show is a Wrap! That’s All, Folks! 5 Videos!”

Corvettes at Carlisle 2015 Video Report – 4 Videos!!!

Can’t be at the 2015 Corvettes at Carlisle Show? Here are a few video reports.

Photo Credit: http://www.CumberlandValleyPA.com/

Thanks to the wonderful world of YouTube, Corvette lovers around the world can at least see and hear some of the sights and sounds of the 2015 annual Corvettes at Carlisle show.

There are two more videos… Continue reading

Corvettes at Carlisle 2015 Video Report – 4 Videos!!!”

Car Club USA: Corvette Homecoming – Video

Here’s What Corvettes Mean To People


The other day Joe Pruitt, the Event Coordinator/Owner of the National Corvette Homecoming event contacted me to tell me about their new event video by Efran Films that covered the National Corvette Homecoming 2014 event. This is a very touching video that captures what Corvettes mean to people. As we know, they’re not just “car” they’re something else. Actually, the people in the video say it perfectly. This video has heart! Enjoy!Scott


Annual Fleming’s Pumpkin Run Car Show in the Pines!

Dateline: 11.26.11

When it comes to eclectic cars and  machines, Piney people know how to have fun!

WE have a DOZEN slide shows at the bottom of this post!!!

If you are going to have an old cars and machines show, what could  be a better place that an old junk yard for some Autumn car fun. Let’s face it, modern junk yards, er, ah, salvage yards, or worse yet, auto recycle centers, are BORING! I mean, who wants to wander up and down rows and columns, like walking a giant spreadsheet? Well, that a lot’a fun, like working in a Big Box store! But the really old junk yards are FUN. They wander and meander all around like a child’s board game. You never know what you’ll find around the bend and behind that pile of old gas pumps.

Fleming’s Auto Parts, in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey is such a junk yard. The first weekend of every November since 1996, Harry Fleming and his team have been having their Street Rod Show and Antique Engine & Tractor Show at the family owned junk yard. We first learned about the show from our friend John Loeper of Ocean City, New Jersey. John described the show as a “celebration of machines,” and he wasn’t kidding. Open to the Pumpkin Run show are: show cars and trucks, antiques, classic ‘50s cars, muscle cars, street rods, rat rods, motorcycles, military vehicles, antique race cars, steam tractors, and just about any kind of mechanical machine you can think of. They even have an air cannon that fires pumpkins at a junker minivan. The crowd really likes the cannon!

I don’t know why, but the weather pattern here in New Jersey is very consistent. Early November always delivers cool, crisp, autumn weather – PERFECT for an outside car show. But it’s not just the weather and the cars that create the ambiance of the Pumpkin Run, it’s the smells. There’s a wonderful blend of smells – the pine trees, the Jersey sand, the fallen maple leaves and pine needles, the closeness of the Atlantic ocean, the kettle corn, the burgers, the french fries, AND (I know this sounds really weird) engine exhaust. Ahhh… SMELLS GREAT! Continue reading “Annual Fleming’s Pumpkin Run Car Show in the Pines!”

The Briggs “Swift” Cunningham 1960 Fuel Injected Corvette is Now a Movie Star! “The Quest” DVD – Available Now

Dateline: 9.7.11
After years in the making, “The Quest” DVD can be yours for just $20 Bucks!

The 1960 Fuel Injected Corvette famously known as the “Cunningham Le Mans Assault” car is now a movie star! It seems that for most of us, there’s a Time/Date stamp on our affection for Corvettes that coincides with that first moment we laid eyes upon the machine. For me, it was ‘66 to ‘69 big block Corvettes. For Chip Miller, it may well have been this car, the 1960 Briggs “Swift” Cunningham 1960 Fuel Injected Corvette. it’s not hard to “get” the passion. When you look at the machine, it screams “RACE CAR!” And while that is definitely correct, a closer examination of the car reveals how astonishingly close the car is to a stock ‘60 Fuelie Corvette.

For an excellent look under the pretty fiberglass, check out THIS PAGE from the Corvette restoration masters at Corvette Repair. Kevin MacKay and his team are arguably the masters at vintage Corvette racer resto work. Thanks to Corvette Repair’s work, this car has won the NCRS American Heritage Award.

Here was the deal for this Le Mans-winning Corvette. The car started life as a new Fuel Injection optioned 1960 Corvette. Cunningham’s team was well seasoned at preparing a car for endurance racing and took maximum advantage of Duntov’s “racer kit” options. RPO-579D got you the then top-of-the-line 283/290-HP Fuelie engine. RPO-685 mated the 4-speed manual transmission to the Fuelie. RPO-687 added the heavy duty brakes and special steering. And RPO 1625A added the oversized 24-gallon fuel tank. That’s essentially all that was needed from the factory to build a race car upon. This configuration was the 1960 equal to a 2012 Z06. From there, the Cunningham team removed items that race cars don’t need, such as front bumpers, and fancy interior door panels, and added safety and go-fast parts, including racing lights, louvers on the hood for additional cooling, headlight covers, side-mounted exhausts, Halibrand lightweight racing wheels, a quick-fill gas cap, and miscellaneous other touches. The car was AMAZINGLY stock. This will be obvious when you check out Corvette Repair’s Portfolio Page.

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The rest is history. With John Fitch and Bob Grossman doing the driving, the Cunningham Corvette took first place in the GT 5000 class and finished in 8th place overall. Pretty damn impressive for a machine so close to a production car from St. Louis! Continue reading “The Briggs “Swift” Cunningham 1960 Fuel Injected Corvette is Now a Movie Star! “The Quest” DVD – Available Now”

Vette Shows: The Sights of C2 Corvettes at the 2011 30th Corvettes at Carlisle Show

Dateline: 9.3.11
2011 Corvettes at Carlisle Week continues with coverage of 1963 to 1967 C3 Corvette Sting Rays – The Original American Idol!

Yesterday we showed you some of the C3 Shark Corvettes from the 2011 Corvettes at Carlisle Show. We attended on friday and it was a good thing because I read on keith Cornett’s CorvetteBlogger.com that overcast skies on Saturday have vendors packing by noon time. Hurricanes seldom blow up the east coast the way that Irene did, what’a shame it had to be that weekend.

While the 1965 Mako Shark II show car was a total game-changer for Corvette styling, back then no one was saying, “Gee, don’t you think the Sting Ray is looking a little tired?” NEVER HAPPENED. I’ve often wondered what the Corvette would look like today had the shark styling had not happened and the Sting Ray design was allowed to develop and mature, the same way the 911 Porsche did over the years. Today’s 911 Porsche still has the basic look from when the car first arrived as a 1965 model.

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While Chevrolet stylist Larry Shinoda is generally credited for designing the Sting Ray, Larry’s work began where the Q-Corvette ended. In 1957 Ed Cole, the lead designer on the small-block Chevy engine was no the general manager of Chevrolet and wanted to leave his mark on future Chevrolets by reengineering the entire line up of Chevy cars with transaxles so that the interiors could all be opened up with the elimination of the big transmission hump. The larger project was called the “Q-Chevrolets” and the “Q-Corvette” was just one can in the line. The Q-Chevrolets were supposed to be introduced by 1960, but after the numbers were crunched, the entire project was canceled.

Here's what designers inside the Corvette design studio were thinking back in 1957. The basic shape was spot on!

Bill Mitchell took the opportunity to make the Corvette his own. He liked the look of the Pininfarina and Boano body designs on the Italian Abarth cars. The strong horizontal crease and fender humps were borrowed from the Italian cars. The structure of the Q-Corvette had a hoop/roll bar behind the driver’s seat. This allowed the car to have lift-out roof panels and the absence of an a-pillar for the windshield. Stylists Bob Veryzer and Pete Brock worked under Mitchell’s direction, with the help of Continue reading “Vette Shows: The Sights of C2 Corvettes at the 2011 30th Corvettes at Carlisle Show”

Vette Shows: The Sights of C6 Corvettes at the 2011 30th Corvettes at Carlisle Show

Dateline: 8.29.11
2011 Corvettes at Carlisle Weeks continues with the first of our NEW “VETTE Shows”

Yes, Hurricane Irene put a wet blanket on the 30th Corvettes at Carlisle Show Saturday and Sunday of the 3-day annual event. But Friday was SUPER! Carlisle, Pennsylvania is located in the southern part of Pennsylvania and it tends to get rather hot and humid in the Summer. I’ve attended a few Carlisle events in the Summer that were absolutely STIFLING! Hurricane aside, we lucked out on Friday because the humidity wasn’t too bad, the temps were in the mid-80s, and there was a slight breeze. Over, you’d call it a “nice Summer day.” Between the two of us, Karen and I took about 500 photos of Corvettes.

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We’ll be sharing our photographic coverage of the show over the next week or so and Continue reading “Vette Shows: The Sights of C6 Corvettes at the 2011 30th Corvettes at Carlisle Show”

Vette Videos: Building the 1957 Corvette SS Racer Video

Dateline: 8.11.11
Take a trip in the CorvetteReport.com Video Time Machine to 1957!

Many times, a bold project must have a bold leader. Zora Arkus-Duntov was one of the all-time great corporate outsider misfits. Not only was he the only executive at GM that had actually raced cars, he had raced at Le Mans! Plus, he was constantly wandering off the reservation!

Corvette SS racer at Sebring 1957.

After Sebring in ‘57, it was obvious that modified stock Corvettes would never be competitive against the Jaguars and Ferraris. GM’s chief designer, Harley Earl proposed building a “Corvette” based on a D-Type Jaguar with a Corvette engine and a modified body. When Zora heard about the proposal and looked into what would be needed to create such a car, red flags popped up all over the place for the wild Russian. But Earl was no fool, he was a master tactician, and may well have made such an outrageous proposal as a way of pushing Chevrolet towards building their own purpose-built Corvette racer.

Obviously, because of Duntov’s background, he was the only man to lead the project. After he put together his team of designers, draftsman, and fabricators, the chassis of a Mercedes-Benz 300SL was used as a model for how to construct a tube space frame. Continue reading “Vette Videos: Building the 1957 Corvette SS Racer Video”