Eye Candy: Carlisle Spring 2016

The scene at Carlise Events' Spring fling | Andy Reid photos
The scene at Carlise Events’ Spring fling | Andy Reid photos

You never know what to expect at Spring Carlisle.

Sure there will always be hundreds of cars and parts for sale but the big factor that either makes Carlisle a wonderful event or more of a prison term is the weather. Last year at Carlisle we dealt with temperatures as low as the 20s, and with rain, sleet, and even snow.

As a result, this year I brought everything from shorts to flannel-lined jeans and packed outerwear that included numerous sweatshirts, a down vest and a raincoat. I also brought my mud boots.

Happily, this year we enjoyed fantastic short sleeve weather over the entire weekend. Sure, there were a few sprinkles on Thursday and Friday, but these subsided by 10 a.m. on both days and Saturday presented sunny skies all day, all of which made checking out the cars and parts available at Carlisle Spring a whole lot of fun.

If you have never attended the Spring Carlisle event, it is part-swap meet, part-cars for sale corral, and part-auction. Basically, if you are into American cars and are looking for something, be it a 1963 Studebaker Avanti or a 1999 Chevrolet Corvette, you will find those and everything in between at Carlisle’s Spring event.

I never got an exact count of the car corral participation numbers, but I would estimate the number being close to 800 for sale. Some of these cars were perfectly restored examples and some of them would just barely qualify as project cars, but most were basically really clean, sorted driver-level American classics. There were some imports, including a overpriced brown Triumph TR6 and a stunning well priced low-mile Acura NSX, but these were exceptions. If you are looking for a C1-C6 Corvette, a muscle car, a full classic or a luxury car from the last half of the 20th century, Spring Carlisle is the place to find it, and often at a very good price.

If you like classic motorcycles there were some terrific deals at the show including a Honda Dream for $800/OBO and a nice Triumph 250 for an asking price of $1,800. There were also scores of cheap Harley Sportsters with prices running anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000. With perhaps one exception, these bikes were very well priced and very under the market.

If you cannot find what you are looking for in the car corrals, then you can try the auction across the street. We saw everything from a 7,000-mile 2013 ZL1 Camaro that sold for less than $40,000 to a supercharged 1941 Graham Hollywood that sold for the bargain price of $37,500. There were other great deals like this at the auction both Thursday and Friday and some weed cars there as well.

If parts were what you were seeking, I practically guarantee that someone had what American car part you were looking for. If you need those Corvette L82 aluminum valve covers, you could buy them for as little as $30 for the pair. Need a pair of cylinder heads for a flathead Ford, they were there as well. If you wanted a 1- foot elephant sculpture you could get that as well, though I wondered how you would get it home.

In addition to parts, there were tons of automobilia items, with everything from car books to fuel pumps and vintage signage. Many of these items were available at great prices and people had wagons loaded with tons of stuff as the days progressed.

I bought a bunch of auto books that I have been hunting for, none cost me more than $20, and two of them cost a single dollar each.

The spring Carlisle event is a bit like Disney for the car-crazy adult, offering everything people like us want in an event, combined with a super friendly staff on site and some amazing food options.

Photos by Andy Reid

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