We’ve just returned from the 2013 Corvettes at Carlisle show, which turned out to be one for the record books. As of noon on Saturday, roughly 2,700 Corvettes had passed through the gates of the Carlisle Fairgrounds, making this year’s show the largest since C@C’s inception in 1982. Whether you choose to attribute those numbers to a resurgent economy, Vette fans’ desire to finally see the new Stingray in person, or both, the record-breaking tally is an encouraging sign.
Even discounting the presence of the latest Vette (early-production examples of which were practically everywhere), Carlisle ’13 served up a bonanza of Corvette coolness drawn from every previous generation of the brand.
In recognition of its 50th anniversary, the ’63 Sting Ray received special attention at this year’s event, with 63 pristine examples of this seminal model on display in a dedicated area of the show field. In addition to this august group were a number of historically significant ’63s, including the Pininfarina-styled, steel-bodied Rondine concept and the mind-blowingly insane “Asteroid” Corvette, built by SoCal customizing legend George Barris. Look for feature articles on both of these notable one-offs in VETTE in the months ahead.
C4 devotees complain often (and rightly) about the lack of attention and respect their favored generation receives in Corvette circles, but Carlisle proved a striking exception to that rule. The always-excellent ZR1 Net Registry display was filled to bursting with prime specimens of the original Corvette supercar, including a ’91 Lingenfelter-tuned Z owned by Watergate-figure-turned-radio-personality G. Gordon Liddy (who was on site Friday and Saturday for autographs). The Grand Sport registry also turned out in force, with dozens of club members showing off their distinctively painted ’96 coupes and convertibles.
But perhaps the most exciting C4 development came with no advance warning, when Carlisle Events co-owner Lance Miller’s Callaway LM Agusta racer rolled off a transport truck near the fairgrounds entrance. Though the car’s engine tuning is still being sorted out, Miller told us he hopes to be vintage racing this onetime Le Mans GT2 pole-sitter in the not-too-distant future. Keep your fingers crossed for a Sebring ’14 debut.