There was sun, heat, humidity, and a freak storm that knocked down trees and sent vendor tents flying like an Arizona auto auction. Apparently it was the usual summer weekend in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Since the Camaro Nationals is held in the same place and time as the GM Nationals, there were plenty of great General Motors cars to see besides just Camaros. We met tons of friendly people from all over the world including Canada and even a few from England. This show is an extremely big draw and after experiencing it, we understand why.
There was eighth-mile drag racing out at Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way, 4x4 rock crawling, music, Ms. Carlisle GM Nationals contest, and more. In fact, there was so much to do, we'd need a week to take it all in.
The burnout competition was epic. People and cars all over the event were covered in black dust. The Carlisle Fairgrounds looked like Pompeii after Mount Vesuvius in Italy erupted back in 79ad. Only the people who took cover in the car-filled buildings were spared from the fallout.
It was great to see the Papa John's Pizza Camaro on display. After reading so much on the Internet about how John Schnater was reunited with it, we felt connected for a split second. Well, that and the fact that all of us Camaro owners got a free, one-topping pizza pie.
All generations of Camaros were present. The first-, second-, and fifth-gens made up the largest segment of the Camaros at the event. There were all kinds of build styles on hand. We spotted street machines, Pro Street, factory-restored, day two, and it seems as though the Pro Touring build style is becoming popular in these parts.
Only a few third-gens were spotted, but the place was crawling with second-gens from NastyZ28.com. First-gens were everywhere, but the large presence of fifth-gens proved GM underestimated the Camaro enthusiasts who had been waiting 8 years to once again own a brand new generation American icon.
There was plenty of action going on inside the buildings, too. One building housed a judged Camaro show where they were loaded on a lift to be judged for originality. There were some really nice restorations in stiff competition. One of our favorite display buildings was Building G at Gate 1. It was previously some sort of car or tractor dealership with a showroom straight out of the '40s. For the second year in a row, Brian Henderson of Super Car Workshop has worked with friends to convert the empty building into a specialty car display building that resembles a late '60s or '70s dealership. The regulars know it as The Solid Lifter Showroom. But whatever you want to call it, that place was stuffed full of all kinds of Chevy muscle in the form of immaculate restorations of Dana, Gibb, Yenko Super Cars, and more. To further drive home the theme of the vintage dealership, Henderson enlisted the artistic talents of Caleb Arone to paint the front windows of the showroom to resemble how they may have appeared in the early '70s.
Our Camaro Performers hat is off to pay respect to Rick Markko and all the people who made this event a success. The staff was more helpful and courteous than any other show organization we've ever come into contact. From our perspective, this event ran like a well-oiled street machine.
The only complaint we had was that the majority of the attendees only stayed until the end of the day on Saturday. Who does that? On the west coast, Sunday is just as busy as Saturday. We hope to see you out there next year and maybe Sunday will be a bigger day.