24th Corvettes at Carlisle 2004

  It wasn't really this long, only felt like it. Now I know what it is like to drive a house down the highway. This was mine and Carlisle's 24th Edition. And it was our easiest Carlisle event ever. And to think it took 23 years to figure out. The most relaxing too since we rented this new Coachman 37 foot motor home. It made the traffic congestion, getting up early and waiting for breakfast a thing of the past, and we will never again use those dirty over priced motels. Now I'm in the hunt for my own coach. And have been looking for almost a year comparing all the different configurations and options. The option list is much longer than for a new C6. Wednesday morning we were ready to give out 2 pallets of catalogs.  

  The new C6's were on display. The butt look bigger than a C5 and those puny little pea shooter head light bulbs look like an Asian import. I was under whelmed. So far I'm not excited or in the hunt for one. For at least the last ten years Kerbeck Chevrolet has had a car carrier and then some of the next years Corvette models. In addition this year, they had a Pink C6 for George's lovely wife Vicki. I missed seeing her at the event as summer is always great for eye candy.  

  The C4 conversions for C1's were in abundance. Ken Hanna had a really beautiful 1957 with polished stainless coves and a ZR-1 drive train. It was a stunning car with Halibrand KO's and no doubt very quick.  

  As usual Carlisle had more than a swap meet and cars. Building T had more than a dozen of the magnificent John Greenwood WIDE body Corvette Monsters that he created and raced. The fabrication and giant big block motors were incredible. In 1974 I got my second edition of Ludvigsen's classic "Corvette America's Star Spangled Sports Car". Who could forget that Wide Body Corvette emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes on the cover.  

  Prior to the official opening the owner of the Spirit on 74 Corvette had removed the hood and saw me drooling. He said come closer for a better look. I was curious about the Fuel Injection and he said it was John Greenwood's design - and that his motors regularly made 100 more HP than the factory CanAm big blocks. Impressive. Then like a klutz, I stepped on the edge of the hood slightly with my sneaker. I acknowledged it to the owner and he was aok. Thankfully I did no harm. But now I have been very intimate with this beautiful model.  

  I ran into Kevin Mackay at the 2nd Race Car Reunion that he and Jim Gessner had assembled at Carlisle. But I did not see Jim. Kevin said his job was relatively easy because they had all the contact info from when they assembled the First Reunion of this type of group. Kevin's 1966 Penske big tank L88 Corvette was there and I got a good in focus shot of the peculiar vent on that big tank. It's like a trident and I like it the first time I noticed it's design. First time I shot it a few years ago that picture was blurred. That is fixed now.  

  It was truly a walk through Chevy Thunder from the SR2, to Jim Neas 1956 Sebring Car right up to C5. I have over 200 jpegs of these race cars as the assembly was fabulous. As time permits I will upload then in groups for each car. Regretfully one disc was erased, but still have 200 to sort.  

  There were many C1 cars I recognized including the Red 1962 Frank Dominianni Corvette that I saw him drive at Watkins Glen and Bridgehampton and was he beating the new 1963 C'2s. Somewhere I have 35 mm pictures also from that era. Going to Carlisle is really great in that you get to see many old friends of all descriptions.  

  One of the first C2's was a 1963 Sebring Big Tank FI race Corvette of Delmo Johnson. Standing nearby was Ken and Gary Nabors. In casual chat I realized it was their car. Ken told me the story how they found the car. A guy called then and said he wanted to sell a 36 gallon tank and they said yea to an exorbitant amount of money. They the guy changed his mind and the deal fell through. A time thereafter the same guy said he now wanted to sell the car and they said ok to his price. Then he raised the price another 5K. At that point nobody knew of the heritage, other than it being a tired racer. But when Ken and Gary learned the VIN was early, they figured that only an insider could have gotten a Z-06 that early. A title search led to Johnson Chevrolet. They also knew something was spooky about the car with the 2 sets of rectangular holes cut in the hood. It matched vintage race photos from era sports car magazines. Messieurs Nabors do really nice work, and once told me that I'm one of the few Yankees they trust.  

  I got to shoot some nice details of John Neas 1956 Sebring Corvette. He saw I was enthused and we chatted for awhile. I could not remember the last time I saw the car, but it was in the era of 35 mm film and today's digital cameras have made it so much easier to enjoy. Leather Hood & Trunk Straps; Trunk ID Number Illumination Lamp; Rear Brake Scoops; Tonneau Cover; Halibrand K.O.'s. Makes me moist. When we were introduced I was pleased to hear him say he had used some of our products on his cars.  

  Even though Carlisle has become primarily a social event in many regards, we still manage to distribute a few pallets of free catalogs and I answer or try to answer hundreds of part and technical queries each day. This year I was again fortunate to have Joe Lucia as an extra technical advisor and his performance fee was steep - a couple of ice cold cokes. I could not even get him to suck down one Heiney. Thanks again Joe for your excellent discussion and camaraderie.  

I did not have the least trouble getting Patrick Hulst to swill a Heiney. Those Doctors will do it all the time. I was a little surprised to not recognize his Father as I had met him before. But all was forgiven in an ice cold one. CRS+Heiney. One surprise was my Bronx homeboy Al Corelli actually had a Heiney - and I think he really liked it. He must be "Moving on up" like the Jeffersons.

I saw many other folk again from far and wide. JR, old Brushy Mountain, Craig Shultz, John Lolli, Tom Keen, Gary Mortimer. Met Steve from Paragon, saw Yogi and Brian and lots and lots of old and new customers. Loren, Marty, Mark, Bob, Clem, Brian Tilles, Brian Bills, Brian Weenie and I could go one for quite awhile if my memory was... Finally got to meet snake488 and only wished we had more time to pick his brain and listen to stories. He does not strike me as a snake, nor attempted assassin.

At noon on Saturday there was a tribute to Chip Miller and thousands of Corvettes raced their engines. There is no reason why I will not plan on attending the 25th edition of Corvettes at Carlisle.


Back to Current Events