A Parade, Family Fun and Industry Guests Draw Nationwide Crowd
With spectacular early weekend weather, industry guests and Ford Motor Company on site, the 2011 Carlisle Ford Nationals provided an energy and excitement for Blue Oval enthusiasts that make an event like this worth the price of admission. More than 2,500 cars and trucks covered the grounds and thousands passed through the gates to honor the legacy of Henry Ford and to support a company in Ford that has seen its business boom in the past few years, despite tough economic times.
Some early arrivals took aim at the swap meet and car corral for bargain shopping Thursday, while others simply got the lay of the land in front of the busy weekend. Also on Thursday, the Pinto Stampede arrived in Carlisle following its 1,600+ mile journey from Denver, Colorado. Two dozen of the infamous rides came onto the grounds at approximately 6:30 p.m. and were joined over the course of the weekend by nearly 40 more pintos, pushing the Pinto representation to nearly 70 as they raised $7,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Proving that all roads really do lead to Carlisle, local streets were packed with an amazing array of cars as the showfield grew to near capacity by late Friday afternoon. From sun up to sun down there was something for everyone. Industry guests hosted seminars and signed autographs, there was drag racing action at Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way in Boiling Springs, one-of-kind displays, test drives at the Carlisle Expo Center hosted by Ford Motor Company and so much more. As part of the test drives, more than 3,000 people got behind the wheel for the ride and drive experience, taking laps in some of Ford’s newest products. The test drives total eclipsed the 2010 numbers by more than 1,000 people, further solidifying the strength of the Ford brand.
Blue Oval lovers converged on the mid-state by the thousands on Saturday. As the day progressed, rows and rows of cars and trucks were displayed, covering at least 10 decades of the Ford brand. Autos on the grounds ranged from the new 2012 models all the way back to a 1922 Model T. Unique styles were on display as well, including modified, customized, tricked out and original factory vehicles covering well over 230 judged classes. Style of car also varied from un-restored survivors to one particular Mustang that was literally finished hours before its owner hauled it to Carlisle.
As the Saturday turned into Saturday night, the Ford Nationals crowned its 2011 King of the Hill at the burnout competition and the Coyote Countdown winner was announced. The winner, Patrick Leftwich of Chapmansboro, Tennessee took home $1,500 in Ford Racing Performance Parts by being the first to guess 4 hours and 50 minutes. It took Kurgan Motorsports 4 hours and 52 minutes to swap out the engine from a 1993 Fox Body Mustang, making Leftwich the winner. After that award, came the drawing for the 5.0L V-8 Coyote Engine. That amazing piece of machinery was awarded to Keith Smeathers of Garden City, Michigan. The last stage activity of the night saw Karin Noelle from Harrisburg crowned as Miss Carlisle 2011 for the Ford Nationals.
There were multiple automotive alternatives as well for the entire family to enjoy with Kids at Carlisle and the Women’s Oasis. Saturday night concluded with the Downtown Ford Parade and Street Party. The first-ever event saw over 250 Fords line the square of Carlisle for an evening of live music and family entertainment. In conjunction with the festivities, Representative Steven Bloom presented Carlisle Events co-owners Bill Miller Jr. and Lance Miller with a special PA House Citation for their efforts both personally and professionally in Carlisle.
Sunday wrapped the event with another great day on the showfield, a Pinto giveaway and multiple awards. Charles Guyer of Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania took home the 1971 Pinto and the near hour-long awards parade dazzled those in attendance. Car corral and swap meet shoppers also got a few last-day bargains with sales being made late into the afternoon.
While the 2011 event is history, 2012 is right around the corner. Details on next year’s Ford Nationals are already in the works. You can register now by calling 717-243-7855. Plan on being in Carlisle June 1-3 for yet another celebration of all things Ford!
About Carlisle Events: Carlisle Events, host of 10 annual collector car, truck and motorcycle events, attracts more than half a million people to its 150-acre facility in Carlisle, Pennsylvania each year. Included in the annual events schedule are two huge automotive swap meets and auctions -Spring and Fall – and individual specialty shows featuring Corvettes, Fords, GMs, Chryslers, trucks, motorcycles, tuner/modern customs and imports. Founded in 1974 by friends Bill Miller and Chip Miller, the "Cars at Carlisle" shows attract automotive enthusiasts from around the world. Information about Carlisle Events and Carlisle Auctions is available to consumers via the Internet at www.CarlisleEvents.com and www.CarlisleAuctions.com/.