Day one of the event got a late start due to heavy morning rains, but by noon the rain moved out, the sun moved in and with it came cars and enthusiasts who were chomping at the bit to return to the event, one that is widely popular around the mid-Atlantic and Canada. Popular hotspots were the Building Y invitational, Building R display and many of the vendors within Building T who were moving kit car products. The weekend array of guests were in place too, including Bobby Archer, Geoff Hacker, John Twist, Merrill Powell and Rick D’Louhy Powell was spotted signing autographs nearly non-stop from his spot in Building Y and Archer was regularly engaged with people talking to him about his career. Hacker, Twist and D’Louhy each spent time prepping for seminars which were a popular draw on Saturday.
Along with the Saturday seminars, Archer took a car, representative of one he raced decades ago, to the autocross track. The Nissan Heritage Collection along with a new car display from Brenner Nissan in nearby Mechanicsburg drew people towards the grandstand area and, with live music emanating from the River 97.3 stage, gave the weekend a real festival feel. One of the most unique parts of the weekend was seeing literally 119 years of automotive history on display. Between an 1897 French trike and a 2015 pre-production Nissan Versa, guests onsite could see up close the past, present and future of the international automotive world.
Autocross once again was a popular draw on the north side of the grounds. Anyone willing to pay the fee associated with grounds access to take laps around the course could do so throughout the weekend. The course is where Archer made his runs, plus select other exhibition runs drew enthusiasts from the grounds as well to watch automotive history in motion.
Awards were doled out too with multiple car owners and groups recognized Sunday. Awards went to the top three groups for kit and import clubs as well as a Coolest Club award. There were Carlisle Elite selections issued based on Friday selections, a Kids’ Choice award and multiple cars earned a Standard of Excellence award following judging on Saturday. Finally, the Passport Program returned and again exceeded expectations. Grand prizes included weekend accommodations and grounds access for 2015 plus prizes and certificates from many local and regional sponsors, a complete list of which can be found online now.
All of this import/kit fun returns to Carlisle next year with a return to the fairgrounds May 15-17, 2015. Asian cars will be the primary feature and that means even more great displays. Registration discounts will be available soon, including the annual Carlisle Events’ Holiday Sale in December. For now, a post-event survey is available online as well as multiple event photos via the Carlisle Import & Kit Nationals Facebook page.