Bruce Ingram is a video engineer who covers NASCAR for NBC Sports, so he’s used to fast cars. It’s not surprising, then, that he chose this ’72 454 to drive for fun. He’s smart, too. He married Wendy, who is every bit as enthusiastic about it as he is. In fact, she enthusiastically encouraged him to buy this Corvette. Earlier in their courtship, Wendy was the inspiration for another Corvette Bruce bought, a ’90 coupe. They sold that one right before they made the trip to Carlisle last year.

We met up with them there when we were scouring the show field for the car we’d pick as Corvette Fever’s Celebrity Choice. This one stood out in a very large crowd, and we swooped in on it. Good thing, too, because two other judges were right behind us, hoping to make the 454 with the original Sunflower Yellow paint their pick. Bruce and Wendy were delighted—this was the first show they’d entered!

The paint may be original, but this shark has in other ways been brought out of the ’70s. The previous owner had removed the AIR pump, and installed an aluminum LS6 intake. It also sports the relatively rare (2,221 of the 27,004 total production ) rear-window defroster.

Bruce and Wendy took the big-block to Carlisle in 1995. They also took Bruce’s buddy, Dave. Wendy spent two hours in the August heat (with a dysfunctional A/C), sharing the passenger seat with Dave, as they snaked into the Carlisle Fairgrounds. She loved it. What could Bruce do but marry her? The big-block went along on their honeymoon in 1998. It’s right there with them in their wedding album, and is considered a permanent part of the family.

For more kicks, they joined the caravan from their Baltimore home to the National Corvette Museum’s Fifth Anniversary Celebration. They could have driven down in their ’90, but Bruce says, “The drive would have been uneventful.” Because of the severe space limitations of a ’72 with the top down, they shipped all their things to their destination and filled the back of the Corvette with tools, oil, and a single change of clothes. They had no major problems, but they did have to stop every 150 miles or so for gas and a quart of oil. They became known as “the couple whose car smoked.” During the trip, they befriended “the couple whose car overheated” and “the guy whose carb flooded,” learning those folks’ real names only at the end of the trip. The oil-burning problem was remedied by the Corvette Performance Center in Baltimore, and the Ingrams speak highly of the shop.

More awards are undoubtedly in this Corvette’s future. But Bruce and Wendy would enjoy it thoroughly even if show judges had never discovered its star appeal. As they told us, “It’s a keeper.”