It only took us 20 minutes to drive from the Rolls-Royce Foundation Museum in Mechanicsburg to the Carlisle Fairgrounds but what a difference. Not stately limos here: it was all-American muscle at the annual Corvettes at Carlisle show, this being the 33rd edition. It claims to be the largest Corvette event of all and seeing something like 5,000 cars present makes me think it is no exaggeration.
The show in 2015 ran Friday-Sunday and an additional day has since been added and it was big enough already, in my view! So, what was there to see? Obviously Corvettes of all seven generations were present. The National Corvette Restoration Society (NCRS) had taken over a building that was formerly a car dealership and had a number of top-level cars on display, going back to a red 1954 car. The NCRS is famous for being very, very fussy over details of restorations and the goal is to have the cars as close to factory stock as possible.
The NCRS represents one end of the Corvette continuum; walking around the grounds (and the fairgrounds are very extensive!) you see plenty of Corvettes that have been modified to suit their owners' tastes, or, in some cases, strange whims.
The LeMans GTLM class-winning Corvette C7R was present and a skeletal C7 as well.
This car was in a building housing a number of other top-rated restorations and I was particularly taken with this red C1, which featured mirrors on the floor so you could see just how perfect the chassis restoration was.
It was fun to wander around and look at so many beautiful cars. But they were not just beautiful: Corvettes at Carlisle offers many Corvette-related events, including maintenance lectures, autocross sessions, and in front of the main grandstand there was a burnout competition. We watched as Lance Miller, one of the event organizers, brought his gorgeous C6 ZR1 out and made a whole lot of smoke.
The car is a one-year only colour, Carlisle Blue, and there was a special parking area for cars painted like this.
Also at the burnout competition was this young lady in her Carlisle Blue car as well.
There is a big trade show element to Corvettes at Carlisle as all kinds of parts, new and used, and accessories are available. I purchased a set of stainless steel engine covers, control knobs, lettering and taillight trim but there were elaborate workshops set up in the tents for people wanting to have new exhaust systems, headers or even more expensive things installed. And don't forget all those cleaning products!
|Adding a noisier exhaust!|
|Lots of stainless steel here! I liked the alternator cover so much I have gotten one too!|
|Useful things to have for every Corvette owner|
|Hoods 'R' Us|
Famous custom car designer Chip Foose was present to sign autographs and a long line formed quickly when he arrived at the Magnaflow exhaust stand.
It was great fun if a bit overwhelming. We caught up with fellow Corvetteers from our club in Ottawa, who had established themselves in a visible location (the club President had come with an RV) and there was lots of cold beer. And here are some additional photos which should give some indication of just how big and varied Corvettes at Carlisle is.
|Replica 1963 Corvette Grand Sport|
|Matching His and Hers Corvettes|
Having spent half of Friday and all day Saturday at the event, we felt that we had pretty much seen and done everything we wanted to. A Saturday highlight is a drive through downtown Carlisle en masse and 450 cars took part this year but as someone who prefers not to have to drive a manual transmission car in stop-and-go traffic I was satisfied to let this one pass. But we did enjoy terrific weather, lots of great cars, and the chance to meet some interesting people--although I was somewhat saddened to have missed seeing the Ms. Carlisle bikini competition.
On Sunday we would get back on I-81 for the trip northwards, accompanied by a lot of other Corvettes.