By Steve Temple

Photos by Steve Temple and Ed Baumgarten

My how time flies when you’re havin’ fun at the Corvette Funfest. Mid America Motorworks has been hosting this event in southern Illinois for more than a quarter century now, and continues to attract several thousand Corvettes from all eras, from classics to customs. We were hoping to check out the new C8 there this year, but it was not to be (for reasons that are a bit unclear, though the ongoing labor dispute at GM might have had something to do with the delayed debut).

That didn’t dampen the spirits of some 20,000 attendees, though, as the Funfest is arguable the world’s largest corvette party. Included with the event was the chance to meet some notable personalities from the Corvette world, such retired Chief Engineer Dave McLellan, retired Bowling Green Assembly Plant Manager Will Cooksey, retired Corvette Brand Manager Fred Gallasch, “Corvettes at Carlisle” President Lance Miller and restorers and authors Chris Petris and Kevin Mackay. Many of these personalities hold seminars and autograph signing sessions on location.

In addition, several driving excursions were held, both on a local drag strip and cruises through the countryside. Concluding the festivities was a live performance by “The Return,” a Beatles nostalgia band.

In addition to all the entertainment, we were actually on the hunt for the modified models, Corvettes with a totally different spin. What we come across every year is astonishing, so we decided to share a brief glimpse of them, both from this year’s event, and years past as well (some are repeat attenders). So enjoy, and look for upcoming features on these creative Corvette reincarnations.

Mid America Motorworks | https://www.mamotorworks.com | 866/309-3973

Lingenfelter showcased a CRC conversion that turns a C6 into a split-window configuration, inspired by the ’63 model of the same name. While the engine is a stock LS3, Lingenfelter plans to upgrade it with the company’s power adders.

Paul Gragg’s ’65 Coupe, powered by a 468 ci big-block, actually incorporated several distinctive design elements from the C2 era. These ranged from the ’67 Stinger hood, to ’66 side pipes and a ’63 split window. The rear fenders were also widened to fit 22-inch wide meats. For all this and more, it earned our Celebrity Choice trophy.

No, it’s not a paint scheme, but an actual cove recessed into the doors, one of the most distinctive body features ever seen on a Corvette. Owned by Ray Gierstikas, this Concept C60 is strikingly modified version of a ’98 Corvette developed by Joseph A. Zyskowski of Exotic Rebodies. It consists basically of a more aggressive, contoured high-rise hood design with a functional scoop, plus custom headlights, rear fender flares and, most noteworthy, front fenders and door skins altered with a retro cove shape.

As one of the most radical shark conversions ever done, this Greenwood body conversion on a C3 hearkens back to a high-performance landmark in Corvette history.

While not a complete Grand Sport replica, this C2 built up by Frank Loedeman has the hood and front spoiler, along with Weber side draft carbs on a stroked small-block.

This D&D replica of a ’63 Grand Sport roadster has seen many, many miles. Dennis Manire has driven all of the country in it, and also used the car to raise money for the families of wounded police officers. Hence the stormtrooper manikin in the driver’s seat.