Upon my arrival at the Ford Nationals on Thursday to set up I knew this was going to be a big show. The Manufactures Midway was massive. I have been to many events at Carlisle and this Midway was unreal. I was placed behind the stage at the grandstand. It was a prime location with a lot of foot traffic potential. I set up the tent and display. Once this was done I was able to walk around to check out the exhibits in the buildings. There was a great Bronco display as well as a Ford Torino Starsky and Hutch car display. There were 4 in the display including the movie car as well as several cars from the show. Antonio Fargas, who played Huggy Bear was there at the stand talking with people. Paul Michael Glaser who played Starsky, was going to be available for autographs and pictures. This was a celebration of 40 years of the Starsky and Hutch Torino.
Friday came and so did the Fords and people. I have never seen so many Mustangs at one place in my life. They decided to make an American flag out of Red, White and Blue Mustangs and pulled it off well. There was a lot of traffic by the booth and I gave out a lot of samples of 303® and STA-BIL® as well as pens, literature and stickers. A lot of people knew the product and loved it. The used it exclusively having switched from other products. Many hoped I was selling as they were ready to buy it. I pointed them to a vendor down over the hill that was selling 303® products.
Many seminars were held throughout the weekend at various locations on the grounds. Quite a few were in front of my vantage point behind the stage. Gateway Bronco was one of those companies giving seminars regarding their restoration facility of vintage Bronco’s. They will take barn find 66-77 Broncos and restore them to the buyer’s specs. They are able to restore them with the original paint patina or a complete restoration which include paint. It’s not cheap but, for the Bronco purist and enthusiast, it is a worthwhile venture. Also, the 1970 Bronco called “Big Oly”, owned by legendary Parnelli Jones and built for off-road racing in the Baja, was there. This was all a part of the 50th anniversary of the Bronco.
While there was rain threatening all of the days of the event, it did not deter the participants or the spectators. There was a record of almost 2,200 Fords registered for the event–an amazing accomplishment. I spoke to Ed Sholley about this and he was absolutely thrilled with the turnout.
The show judging was on Saturday and I do not envy those judges. Especially the ones judging the Mustangs. I would estimate there were well over 1,200 Mustangs alone. I was even able to grab a picture of a 2016 Mustang Shelby GT-H in front of my booth as it was heading for the stage for a seminar. The H stands for Hertz. You can actually rent this car from Hertz. I wonder how many will rent it and run it like they stole it. Later in the afternoon on Saturday they held the Ms. Carlisle Contest which is always a crowd favorite. Especially for the men in attendance. Then, came the burnout contest. This was won by Nick Szczerba in a Ford F150 4×4. He blew both rear tires. He has competed in the past and won at the Truck Nationals. He has also set the tires on fire and left the truck driving back on just the rims in the past. He is always in it to win it. Saturday night there was a line up and parade into town where they blocked off the main street.
Sunday came and so did the threat of severe weather. I arrived early and while I opened for a short period of time, it was clear that the attendance was not going to be anything since a lot of the vendors and manufactures were already tearing down to beat the severe storms that were headed our way. I decided it was best that I do the same. I tore down everything and packed up and decided to walk around a little. There were not many cars remaining as the only ones who showed up were the ones checking out if they won an award. I was able to obtain an autograph from Paul Michael Glaser and Antonio Fargas. While waiting, the sky opened up and it started to pour. I left shortly thereafter to try and beat the storm home.
This is a great event to attend if you are a Ford enthusiast or just someone who likes cars and trucks in general. There is something for everyone, no matter what. It’s a massive vendor’s flea market where you could buy almost anything you needed from car parts, toys, signs, etc. Make plans to attend the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals June 2-4, 2017.
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