|By Bill Woods – Photos by TheBruntBros
It was a great time to be old. The flavor at the 2014 Chrysler Nats at Carlisle (PA) was nostalgia—more so than usual. Event manager Ed Buczeskie and his team put together a really great event rounding up some of the legendary Mopar personalities of the “golden age” of performance. These were the heroes that the senior and near-senior set witnessed first-hand back in the day, and were able to relive some of that excitement by meeting these Mo’stars again face to face. That’s not to say that younger Mo’fans were left out in the cold. It was cool to talk to the legends that they read about and heard stories about that were passed down from the folks who were there.
This, the 24th edition of Carlisle’s Mopar bash, saw several special displays. Celebrations included 100 years of Dodge and 50 years of the Gen 2 426 Hemi which saw a great collection of Race Hemi cars in stock or race trim packed into the retro dealership (Bldg. G). Not to be outdone, the A12 Reunion (440-6) Road Runners and Super Bees competed for attention in and outside Bldg. Y. Carlisle regulars already know that Bldg. T offers an outstanding variety of top drawer vehicles that receive a special invitation to display. The theme in T this year was 50 years of the Barracuda (are we feeling old yet?).
‘Course, all that is just the tip of the iceberg at Carlisle, although one thing missing was the drag racing at nearby Quarter Aces Dragway. The track, sadly, has gone the way of many dragstrips in recent times, being turned into shopping malls, condos and massage parlors. Maybe Carlisle will have shuttle busses running to those, too, and maybe a vendor or two will step up to the plate and offer canisters of tire smoke to diehard race fans. Or just inhale deeply at the Carlisle burnout contest in front of the grandstand.
Perfect weather saw the showfields packed. As usual, there was something for everyone, whatever their (Mopar) persuasion or orientation. A Scat Pack “thrill ride” put you in (the passenger seat) of a 2014 Challenger R/T with the Mopar Scat Pack 3 performance kit for a short burst of acceleration—enough to get those blood corpuscles moving along smartly. And if that wasn’t enough, you could go for a ride on the autocross track in Hotchkis’ ’70 challenger E Max, or take your own ride for a spin (or spinout) on the course. If motoring excitement wasn’t your bag you could veg out at the Carlisle Theatre and view a screening of the Snake & Mongoose featuring Don Prudhomme and arch-rival Tom McEwen. Just watch your cholesterol on the buttered popcorn.
We saw quite a few Mo’shoppers in the swaps “find it at Carlisle,” trudging along with heavy iron in their (or their wife’s) hands for the long hike back to their pickup or trailer. For those looking for the correct way to restore their ride, the Survivors tent showed (mostly) original cars with details on how “the factory did it.”
And that wasn’t all. The grandstand really got packed for Carlisle’s famous skin shows—the Ms. Carlisle contest, the winner selected by the best applause and catcalls, and the Daisy Dukes (from the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show) lookalike contest. Gee, after that, we didn’t feel so old after all. And, if we’re still around, we plan to do it all over again next year — July 10-12.
Mke Sexton’s 340 Duster on display in Bldg. T has taken Best of Show awards no less than 19 times.
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