Eye Candy: Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals

Photos by Larry Nutson

Sunny skies and a cool breeze made my first visit to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, as well as to the Import and Kit Nationals, quite pleasant and memorable. Every auto enthusiast should make at least one visit to the Carlisle Fairgrounds and take in one of the dozen or so auto events held there each year.

This was the 29th edition of the Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals. What’s really unique about this three-day, mid-May car show is that nearly every car is driven to the show. There are very few trailer queens, save for some out-an-out race cars.

British marques took center stage. Austin Healeys, Jaguars, Lotus, Minis…both small and large, MGs, Triumphs, TVRs and more were in the multitude. I also was amazed at the huge number of Saabs. Nissan was on board with a Heritage Collection display. License plates from all over the eastern U.S. as well as Canada were evident.

A vender midway and swap meet had folks searching for restoration parts both new and used. Seminars thru out the weekend provided tips on maintenance, troubleshooting as well as restoration and kit building.

The Carlisle Club Program provides access to perks, recognition and parade participation. Saabs@Carlisle, the Audi Club, Speedster Owners, Volvo Club of America, and yes, the Manx Club for street-legal dune buggies, were all on the scene.

The Susquehanna Region of SCCA conducted autocross runs for anyone who wanted to have a go at it. IMSA champion Bobby Archer of Archer Brothers Racing from Duluth, Minnesota, was on hand and ran some hot laps on the autocross course in a replica of his winning 1984 Renault Encore.

The enthusiasm at this event is mind-boggling. Show goers and car owners are of all ages. I was impressed at the large number of young folk who brought their own personal prized car to exhibit, with some of the cars being about the same age as the owners.

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