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World’s Largest Gathering of Corvettes at Carlisle Nationals

Corvettes at Carlisle: The world’s largest Corvette show just got bigger

John Machaqueiro Sep 19, 2016
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Adding an additional day is one way to make an already excellent car show even better. That’s what the folks responsible for putting on the Corvettes at Carlisle event have done. The 2016 edition of the world’s largest Corvette show expanded to four days this year in celebration of everything Corvette, with over 58,000 total guests passing between their gates during the show. On hand were over 5,000 Corvettes, which included the ones in the Corvette-only parking area for those who didn’t want to enter their car in the Fun Field but drove your Vette to the show.

Aided by Mother Nature, the weekend was bathed by glorious sunshine, a key ingredient to draw the Corvette faithful from all over the globe to Pennsylvania. Now in its 35th year, the international appeal to this ever-growing event can be evidenced as you walk the fairgrounds. If you tune in to your surroundings as you move around you can often hear some form of Spanish, French, or numerous other languages being spoken at any given time.

If you have a particular generation of Corvette that rocks your world, the folks at Carlisle make it very easy to locate that object of your desire in the Fun Field. It was once again organized from C1 to C7, with vendors, swap meet, and manufacturer areas clearly defined. Mixed in with the cars on display are also the many Corvette Clubs that use the show as a meeting point. The crew from the ZR1.Net Registry is always out in force with their large display, as was the Grand Sport registry with their growing list of members. Mixed in as well was the NCRS (National Corvette Restorers Society) tent. After many years outside Gate 1 in the makeshift car dealership, they too joined the mix in the Fun Field this year.

There’s much more to the show than just the rows and rows of Corvettes in the Fun Field. The Corvettes at Carlisle show has something for everyone. If you need a new exhaust installed, just visit Installation row, hand over the keys, and come back later. For the guy that doesn’t like to cut a check to have work done, there are numerous seminars throughout the weekend that cover a large range of hands-on topics like computer based diagnostics on C5s and C6s, to hobby oriented topics like “Auctions 101: How to buy and sell a Corvette” and “collector car fraud.” If you are into autocrossing your Corvette, the autocross track at the back of the fairgrounds was buzzing all weekend. If lighting up the tires on your Corvette puts a smile on your face, then the Friday afternoon burnout contest was the place to be. The turnout this year was surprisingly good with four candidates abusing their cars, which resulted in a particularly fiery display of tire roasting showmanship from one of the entrants.

The organizers also believe in giving back to the community, which came in the form of a record setting 500-plus Corvette parade and street party through downtown Carlisle on Friday night. You could also admire the lovely curves of the young ladies competing for Ms. Carlisle on Saturday afternoon; always a crowd favorite for obvious reasons. GM had a strong presence with engineers answering questions throughout the weekend, and doing demos of the 2017 offerings. This face-to-face interaction between the guys making the cars and those buying them has become a crowd favorite over the years, and a great selling tool for the Corvette brand. Every year there is also a specific theme in the Chip’s Choice display. This year celebrated the accomplishments and lives of Dick Guldstrand and John Greenwood, with a sampling of their most notable race and road cars. There was also a large 1966 Corvette display to celebrate its 50th birthday in the Fun Field.

If you’re trying to put a Corvette back together, or perhaps looking to buy a project or turnkey car, the options are far and wide at Carlisle. There was quite a stream of cars for sale at the far end of the fairgrounds all weekend, along with many basket cases waiting for a second chance in the swap meet area. If parts are what you need, this is the event for one-stop shopping. Between the used parts from the guys in the swap meet area to reproduction parts from vendors like Corvette America, putting a Corvette back on the road has become a pretty easy task. Buying a car is equally easy with a bank and notary on the spot as well.

They’ve even considered the unthinkable; those that bring a friend or spouse that have no interest in cars. Since there are outlet malls within striking distance, on Saturday the event staff have free shuttles to the Hershey Outlet shopping center for those that take shopping seriously and need to burn through unused parts funds.

With 2016 in the books, the 2017 weekend plans are already taking shape; pencil in August 24-27, 2017, on your calendars. RPO L88 models will have top billing as the theme in the Chip’s Choice display, along with the 1967 model year, so bring some sunscreen, even more cash, and a Corvette to what promises to be another great event.

2016 Corvettes At Carlisle 2/45

Finding the generation of your choice is easy at Carlisle. Each is organized by rows. This was the C2 row, which lined both sides of the walkway.

John Greenwood Banner 3/45

This was the banner honoring the achievements of John Greenwood on and off the track. He is known for building numerous Corvettes configured for the FIA World Endurance Championship. His widebody race cars were very fast and could be seen at places like Le Mans, Sebring and Daytona. He also applied his widebody look to a number of street legal cars.

Dick Guldstrand Banner 4/45

This was the banner honoring the achievements of Dick Guldstrand. An accomplished racer who won three consecutive Sports Car Club of America Pacific Coast championships, as well as setting the track record at Le Mans 1966.

1976 Corvette Carlisle 5/45

Built in 1976 by John Greenwood, this car’s mission was to compete at Le Mans that year. It was blindingly fast on the Mulsanne Straight, achieving 217 mph at the fabled French track. It also saw action in 1977 and 1978 in the IMSA and Trans-Am series stateside.

Corvette Carlisle Trans Am 6/45

Ordered by Jim Mancuso for Trans-Am competition, this was the 10th customer car built for competition by Greenwood.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette 7/45

This 1978 street legal Greenwood Turbo GT is one of only 43 customer cars produced in five model ranges. This is an extremely low-mileage example with only 10,500 miles on the odometer.

Nassau Guldstrand Corvette Convertible 8/45

This Nassau Guldstrand convertible is chassis #3 and was recently unearthed from a long sleep in a garage. This is an unrestored original that made its debut after many years in hibernation.

1984 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 9/45

This 1984 convertible is an early example of a Corvette that received the Greenwood treatment.

1962 Chevrolet Corvette 10/45

Dressed in Almond Beige with a Fawn Beige interior, this 1962 Corvette sported a 360-horse 327 small-block fuelie mated to a four-speed. It was for sale in the car corral area. Claiming to be a numbers-matching specimen, this one was unique and ready for NCRS judging.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 11/45

This 1963 convertible roller was a prime candidate for a full-blown restoration or a killer restomod … $15,000 was all it took to have it parked in your garage.

Corvettes Carlise Tri Power 12/45

One of the nicest Tri-power setups for sale we found in the swap meet area. With a premium price tag, this was still sitting there on Saturday as we walked by.

C3 Corvette Modern Drivetrain 13/45

We found this C3 with a modern drivetrain for sale under a tent. As is often the case, those looking for a car at Carlisle need to walk the entire facility.

Used Good Year Tire 14/45

For the guys who fixate on OEM restorations right down to the last detail, tires are often some of the hardest items to find. This particular example could have been taken home for $250.

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