The folks at Carlisle Events pulled it off again this year. The 2018 edition of Corvettes at Carlisle presented by Corvette America was another stellar success in great part aided by Mother Nature with mild weather, which is a rare occurrence in central PA during August. With that helping hand, the crew at Carlisle put together another show, which is really a misnomer, as it is actually an annual event, the world’s largest Corvette themed, that now spans four days with an influx of over 5,000 Corvettes and 60,000 plus guests in attendance. Keeping all those attendees happy and amused, especially for those that spend the weekend, can be a daunting task that can only be filled with a multitude of different activities and displays.
The perfect recipe for a stellar weekend in Carlisle. Good weather and plenty of Corvettes with an almost record setting crowd in attendance.
Some of those displays are themed and roll over each year. One such display is Chip’s Choice, which is set up in building T. For 2018, the theme was titled “Vette Rods”. On display were a number of C1 to C3 restomods that showcase the growing trend of modifying older Corvettes with modern suspensions, drivetrains, and interiors. Included in that group were Jason Lemek’s 1963 restomod convertible that graced the pages of Vette magazine in February of 2015, and George Silvestro’s LS9 powered 1963 coupe that was recently featured in the January 2018 issue. Another annual presence out in the Fun Field is the large display put on by the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS), with their tent housing a sampling of the various Corvette generations that have gone through their rigorous certification process.
2018 was close to breaking the record set in 2013 with registered cars. They were only a few short of that milestone, and if GM unveils the C8 in 2019, we might see that record shattered.
Also prominently displayed was the annual half-century salute to a corresponding year, with this year showcasing the 1968 Corvette. Present were numerous NCRS level survivors, and also a sampling of restored, day-two, and modified C3’s. While those displays play a prominent role out in the field, surrounding them are rows and rows of Corvettes neatly lined up by generations. Many of those cars are actually part of the many groups that are hosted during the weekend.
Corvette America was once again the presenting sponsor for the 2018 Corvettes at Carlisle. With their large tent set up by the main stage, it offered those in need of restoration parts a convenient one-stop shop.
This annual event has also become a meeting point for numerous local, regional, national, and web-based Corvette clubs to display their member’s cars collectively. This year there were over 150 Corvette clubs registered, with some like the 1963 to 1967 Sting Ray Registry, Grand Sport Registry, and the Cumberland Valley Corvette Club having the strongest presence over the weekend.
The 2018 Chip’s Choice display was dedicated to Vette Rods, and this 1963 owned by Jason Lemek was perhaps one of the best examples on display. This C2 was also featured in Vette magazine back in February of 2015.
Adjacent to the Fun Field is the swap meet area. If you’re looking for parts for an older, or newer Corvette, this is the place to look. There are always a number of sellers with the odd and hard to find original and NOS parts for the early Corvettes, however, we do advise you to bring buckets of cash as some of these items have become quite pricey. Mixed in with these vendors you can also find those offering a vast array of new reproduction items, correct style tires, mechanical parts, and interiors. Some vendors like Al Knoch Interiors not only set up to sell their merchandise, but also offer installations during the weekend. If you’re looking for a performance exhaust, you’ll find it and also have the option to drive out with it installed. Beyond the Corvette specific merchandise, you’ll find an equal number of vendors selling everything from car care products, sunglasses, diecast cars, and a wide range of memorabilia.
One of the Corvettes on display in the 50th Anniversary display was this unrestored Polar White 1968 owned by Tim Hendricks. There were 1,868 Corvettes painted in this color that year.
If you were looking to buy or sell a used Corvette, the car corral was packed with plenty of folks willing to make deals. The range of options was vast with examples of every generation available in various levels of condition. As in previous years, when we’ve walked around looking at the cars in the corral we are never disappointed in what we find, and are often surprised as to what is still out there waiting to be restored, or restomoded. These diamonds in the rough aren’t exclusive to the car corral, as some folks opt to put their cars up for sale in the swap meet area as well if they are set up with a vendors spot.
One of the earliest examples on display under the NCRS tent was this 1955 Corvette owned by Al and Anne Schwacke. Painted in Corvette Copper, this is estimated to be 1 of only 15 produced in 1955 with this color.
The Manufacturers Midway is where you’ll find most of the larger aftermarket vendors displaying their latest hardware for sale. You will also find the Chevrolet display with the latest Corvette offerings. This is direct engagement on GM’s part with their customer base. They not only bring a large display but also a sizeable contingent of engineers to engage and inform prospective buyers with what is in the pipeline. On Friday and Saturday the engineers conducted hourly seminars in the GM tent and vehicle walk-arounds in front of the main grandstand. Other vendors, like main show sponsor Corvette America also went beyond simply selling parts and also held seminars on things like online Corvette resources, interior dye techniques, and how to buy and sell a Corvette. Also on the menu every year is a burnout contest, and a bikini contest to close out the Saturday festivities at the fairground. While those events take center stage in the middle of the fairgrounds, at the back of the property is the autocross track. This year the stakes were raised for those wanted to track their Corvettes in a competitive setting with a cash payout of $1,000 bucks for the winner. Sponsored by Lingenfelter Performance, the competition was fierce leading into the bracket style shootout on Saturday afternoon.
The Solid Axle Corvette Club usually sets up at the main entrance to the fairgrounds with a rather elaborate display. For these folks it’s not just another show. They put on the full display with props like these period correct fuel pumps.
For 2019, you can bet that some of the annual displays will again return. A salute to the 1969 model year is also a guarantee. GM will again have a strong presence, and if the rumors of a mid-engine C8 Corvette announcement at the beginning of the year prove to be correct, 2019 will likely see attendance numbers that rival the benchmark set in 2013 when the C7 was introduced. If you’re planning on attending the event, pencil in August 22–25, 2019 on your calendars. Vette
If patina was your thing, this 1972 C3 had it to spare. This was perhaps the most worn out paint we saw out on the show field.
There is no end to what can be found during the show. This C3 and its owner have been regular attendees at the show over the years. While some may question all the use of 24K gold, make no mistake, that big-block is every bit as serious as it looks.
Many Corvette owners aren’t shy about expressing their patriotism, and this was certainly evident at the Callaway Owners group.
This ’80’s flavored 1964 is another example of what you will find during the weekend at Carlisle mixing it up with other generations of Corvettes.
If you’re the gambling type and wanted to try your luck, this 2019 C7 was up for raffle. Tickets were $100 bucks each and there were only 1,000 available. Proceeds for this raffle benefitted the Chip Miller Amyloidosis Foundation. This one sold out quickly.
This is the typical setup for those that are selling parts and making a weekend of it. This is often a good excuse to hang out with a few friends, have a few beers, and sell a few parts in the process.
Over the years, the engineers at GM slapped on some rather unique induction systems on Corvettes. If you’re looking for one, they often come with a big price tag.
This 1960 Corvette proves that they’re still out there waiting to be rescued. We found this one in the swap meet area with an optimistic price tag of 25 grand, and a claim that it had all its parts. The question this one made us ponder is if it’s cheaper to buy something already done.
If a correct date-coded block is needed for a restoration, there were numerous to be found throughout the swap meet.
With a price tag of $8,500 bucks, this 1957 had our attention from 20 feet away. It wasn’t until we were next to it that we noticed it had no engine, rear, or steering. It was a one-piece body with some questionable trim.
Unlike traditional car shows, Carlisle allows vendors like Al Knoch to set up and do full interior installations. When we popped in to check things out, they were in the middle of doing a full installation on this ’61 Corvette.
It’s not just about car parts in the show field. For 295 bucks you could walk away with your very own Rat Fink statue made from recycled aluminum cans.
Not every project car we encountered was an early Corvette. This 2016 C7 had a price of tag of 9,500 bucks or best offer. We can’t see anyone putting one of these back together, however, if you have a shop, this is a viable alternative to repair a newer Corvette.
Big cars go hand in hand with small cars, and there is always no shortage of vendors selling diecast.
The choices in the car corral are many. This ’89 Corvette, 1 of 29 built, was originally driven by Randy Ruhlman in the Corvette Challenge series and was up for sale for 45 grand.
With a price tag of 55 grand, this ’63 coupe was offered as an “as is” rolling project. As with some of the other cars we saw in similar condition, we question these asking prices and the viability of a full restoration, or a restomod.
Hosted by the Cumberland Valley Corvette Club and sponsored by Lingenfelter Performance, the autocross shootout had numerous competitors all gunning for the $1,000 dollar prize. This year the winner of that cash amount was Justin Peachy with his C6 Z06 with a time of 39.799 seconds.
As part of GM’s engagement with its customers, new Corvette’s like this ZR1 convertible are placed on display to help inform potential clients
The GM diplay that is present every year is always Corvette specific and also highlights the racing program.
Exhaust system upgrades take place throughout the four days during the show. located in the Installation Alley, this is just one of a number of services set up to service cars registered for the show.
Another highlight that takes place in front of the main stage is the burnout contest. This year there were again a few brave souls who abused their Corvettes. The eventual winner of the best burnout was Ray Seifert with his ’99 Corvette, known as Vette Buggy.
The bikini contest has become an annual tradition at Corvettes at Carlisle, which is always well attended, and a crowd pleaser for obvious reasons. The 2018 winner was Amanda K. with another Amanda as the runner-up, and Cheyenne in third. We’re pretty sure that Amanda K. has won this title a few times, again for obvious reasons.
The Corvette is a truly American icon, and in recognition of that reality, every year the event organizers put together a red, white, and blue tribute to honor that fact. This is always set up on the hill and can be best viewed from the air.