Chevrolet Nationals: A Great Time For All In Attendance

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Rain. If you’re a farmer in central Pennsylvania, rain is typically a commodity that is usually welcomed from time to time. Unfortunately, those attending the first couple days of the 2017 Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals, considered it an unwelcomed guest.

I can vouch for that, because when I arrived on Thursday afternoon, the rain was diligently putting forth a strong effort to dampen the spirits of many. Even though the liquid sunshine was present, there were still those diehards that were not going to let Mother Nature ruin their weekend. While not a torrential downpour, those who did brave the weather on Thursday, did manage to realize the uncomfortable condition of having wet feet. All that I could do was hope for the best when Friday rolled around.

Jeff and Laura Nolan brought their Burgundy '69 SS Chevelle to the show, and it features an L34 big-block, M21 Muncie four-speed, and a Posi rear with 3.55 gears.

Well, That Didn’t Start Out As We Had Hoped

When Friday morning rolled around, unfortunately, the falling rain was still an issue. But, it was not a hard driving rain, and many were still walking the grounds with either a poncho or a simple umbrella. The resilience of dedicated car guys never ceases to amaze me.

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Finally, at around Noon, the skies did finally clear out and the overcast conditions kept the sun’s heat at bay. That was a sign that the good times could get fully ramped up. That is, until around 4:00 p.m. Yep, you guessed it, that’s when the precipitation of water began to once again fall. As many spent the evening under the porch areas of their hotel room, the weather man was proudly stating that Saturday was going to be a much better day. Fortunately for everyone attending the show – and him, he didn’t disappoint.

Although the grounds were still a little on the damp side during the early morning hours, by mid-morning, the sun had eliminated all wet spots, and the slightly overcast sky and slight breeze made for an amazing Saturday. If you stayed home because of the early rain, you missed a hell of a show on Saturday.

If you Were There You Didn’t Miss…

Since 2017 is the 5oth Anniversary of the Camaro, and F-Body in general, it was no surprise that one of the highlighted activities was the Celebration of the Chevrolet Camaro, presented by Camaro Central. Thanks to clubs like Camaros Unlimited, Hampton Roads Camaro Club, and the Central PA Camaro and Firebird Enthusiasts to name but a few, the show was filled with all generations of the Chevrolet pony car. Thanks to everyone who brought their pride and joy.

If you are not afraid of challenge, we found this slightly used '67 Camaro in the swap meet. Sure, there was a little rust on the floors, fenders, doors, quarter-panels, and roof, but anything is savable.

Speaking of the Camaro, the very first Camaro ever built, and one unbelievably cool V12-powered first-gen were on hand. There were other display cars in Building T, and the variety of stock, modified, and custom Camaros and Firebirds included some very unique and cool racecars.

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David Shingle and his ’63 Nova was part of the huge gathering of Novas that were part of the Nostalgic Nova Club group.

But not everything in attendance was about the Camaro. All things General Motors are welcome at the Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals, and this year, Novas at Carlisle was hosted by the National Nostalgic Nova Club. Another new display was the Cosworths at Carlisle celebration. The Cosworth Vega Owners Association made this year’s Chevrolet Nationals their official stop. It was interesting to notice how many of these mini-musclecars filled the hotel parking lot when I drove past the hotel where they gathered at night. Come show time, they could be found on the showfield near the shale bank, along with the 40th Anniversary of the Monza Mirage celebration. That’s right, Vegas and Monzas made their presence known on the show field.

If your interest leans towards what are most definitely the pinnacle of classic Chevrolet muscle, then the Solid Lifter Showroom display in Building Y was your go-to part of this grand event. The quality of the restored vehicles in this building is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Under one roof were many COPO legends, vintage racecars, and even a turbocharged Z28 with a pedigree. There weren’t many of these Yenko Z28s built, but one was at Carlisle. I hope you got to see it! If not, you’ll find a few pictures of it in the gallery of images.

Street rods were sparse at the event, but Ron Weaver's '41 Master Deluxe was a standout.

Show Cars And So Much More

But the event is not just about show cars. There was so much more to do, and some of the festivities were designed to get your blood pumping. The autocross at Carlisle was hosted by the Cumberland Valley Corvette Club, and the on-site track allowed drivers to run the road course and compare their times to each other. Unfortunately, those that wanted to test their personal car were only able to do so on Sunday, and enthusiasts were able to make three timed runs consisting of two laps each.

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Image courtesy of Carlisle Events. Congratulations to the 2017 burn out winner, Jordan Small and his 2000 Chevrolet Camaro!

But, the rest of the weekend saw the crew from UMI Performance taking show goers for one wild ride! The UMI cars were delivering free ride-alongs on the autocross course throughout the weekend. The rides were available to anyone attending the Chevrolet Nationals, and you could even take multiple rides!

And what is a Carlisle event without a burnout contest. Competitors did smoky-battle for bragging rights and the title of “Carlisle King of the Hill.” The contest was limited to ten vehicles, and each of them were given three minutes to put on a show.

Talk about smooth. John Stiles' '68 IMpala was representing the National Impala club proudly. Something doesn't look quite stock with the air cleaner though...

Talk about smooth. John Stiles’ ’68 Impala was representing the National Impala club proudly.  John took First Place in the ’67 and up full-size class.

Something doesn't look quite stock with the air cleaner though...

Finally, Bruce Larson, hosted Carlisle’s Nitrofest. It goes without saying that Bruce is an NHRA legend and all-around car guy, and he spent the weekend sharing his amazing USA-1 Camaro Funny Car. Along with Bruce’s Camaro, Rocky Roxlau’s Time Bomb Vega was in attendance and made the perfect complement to Nitrofest.

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Several times each day, the NItro car teams would fire up each car with a luck volunteer from teh crowd sitting in the driver’s seat. This was a truly once in a lifetime experience.

If you were in attendance, you also had the opportunity to be chosen to sit in these cars as they were fired up. This was truly a rare opportunity to sit in the cockpit of an actual NHRA drag car while the driver and his team start and rev the nitro burning engine for you! If you didn’t make it to the show, you missed a great, once-in-lifetime opportunity.

Parts, parts, and more parts, all ripe for the pickin'.

Now that I’ve filled you in on much of the happenings that occurred in 2017, if you made it to the show, tell your friends about the great time you had so we can make next year bigger and better. If you missed the show this year, you’ll have to settle on reading about all of the fun the rest of us had, and hopefully, that will help you decide the you really need to attend the Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals next year, which by the way is June 22 through 24, 2018. Hope to see you there.

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars, and involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion got him noticed by many locals, and he began to help them with their own vehicles.
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