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       A Trip to Carlisle. May21-23,2004  by Paul Tegler

home to S.T 2004  

       Man… 2 a.m. and I'm still not asleep! 3:15 a.m. ahhh! I gotta' drive to Carlisle in the morning! 4:20 a.m. THIS IS REDICULOUS! 5:30 a.m. hmmm… I don't hear her in the shower…why isn't Gail up! 5:45 a.m. my alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed. "Wow… Terry will be here between 6:15 and 6:30" I say…. Gail just says…
"well YeaaHAA ! :-) I guess I was simply too excited to sleep..

      Standing in my garage packing Big Red, the crispness of the cool morning air blended pleasantly with the warmth and scent of my big cup of coffee. The serenity of the morning's song of birds, backed up with the chorus of Cicadas in the distance, was 'interestingly' interrupted by the familiar chorgle of a little British car. Terry Thompson and I had pre-arranged to caravan on Friday morning. Terry and I are maybe 20 minutes from each other but had never met in person. Terry's Spit was so loaded down he wouldn't even try turning into my driveway (which is relatively flat) with those fat tires rubbing the wheel wells as it was. As he turns around and parks across the road I yell to Gail "…. Terry's Here."
     A couple of last minute items to pack in Big Red, and we were on the road to Carlisle by 7 a.m. We had to take a short run on the highway, but the majority of our route was country, two lane undivided highways. 45-60mph average cruising speeds, up past Gettysburg and straight into Carlisle. It was a beautiful, but cool and somewhat overcast morning.

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The 'queen Cicada' is following me!

     The whole previous week had predictions of heavy rains, to continue right through the weekend in the Carlisle area. Well we didn't hit anything en route, until maybe 20 minutes south of Carlisle. When the drizzle started hitting us I loved the idea of being able to test my new wiper delay circuit. Worked great for about 10 minutes until the rain started coming down harder. Sure enough… my wipers die. So I turn them on via the main stalk switch… still dead! DAMN! My wipers died LAST YEAR AT CARLISLE! Thank goodness for a good coat of Rain-X. It was a pain, but luckily the road speeds blew most of the water off. Coming north through the center of town was a bit scary though. 

     I was really looking forward to this trip to test my new twin HS4 carb conversion on my GT6. I looked down at the trip odometer as we entered Carlisle, and noticed the odometer has stopped working. Speedo was fine the whole time but the odometer still read 3.8 miles. AAHHHH!!! So much for testing mpg. (Well now that I'm home… a calculation after refilling the tank says 33mpg round trip, that's fully loaded and two adults on board)

   After checking in at the gate of the fairgrounds, we pulled out onto the show field at around 9:30 a.m.

A few NASS'ers were already there. Heck, Mike S. had been there since Monday camping on the grounds. Otto Kemp camped on the fairgrounds as well.

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Early Friday Morning - drying out - banners up!

     Since it was still raining (although now a bit lighter) we both parked right under the big tent so we could 'unload'. We started setting up the tables, hanging all the banners, putting out piles of magazines (back issues of S&G courtesy of John G.) , munchies, buckets of pins, pens with the NASS logo and etc. all around the parameter of our tent. By noon, compared to the other areas, we looked like we had been there a week already! Multiple portable tables displayed the Chinese Auction items, magazines, club regalia, T-shirts for sale, Slim-Jims, licorice, a bucket of free Spitfire pins and much more.

    This was the first year I've been to Carlisle for all three days. In past years, I've always only gone up for the Fun Field on Saturday. So I was stunned by the number of cars there on Friday. By noon on Friday, we already had 16 cars on the field. This early display of strength did not go un-noticed by the other clubs around us. With the forecasts of rain, the turnout was light as expected… BUT by 10:30am the sun was out and the fields started filling up quick!

    OK… a couple of free moments without anyone asking me questions… so I bolt down to the vendor area. Well it took about two hours to VERY quickly breeze through the 580+ vendors but I found what I needed. A nice condition wiper motor, and a bonus at the same time, (same vendor), a very clean 6 cyl Delco 204 distributor with a working dual ported vacuum advance/retard module. By 2 pm, I had verified the new wiper motor worked having installed it right there on the field.

      The rest of the day was a blur. SO many passers-by with questions about NASS, Big Red's emissions breather system, logos, banners, memberships, Spits in general, etc. etc. I truly got the impression that the "…row of cars with all the front ends sticking straight up…", was one of the more prominent 'destinations' quite a few club groups set off to explore.

     By Friday at 5pm…. People were getting hungry. Luckily I had previously found a few restaurants via the Internet before going up to Carlisle. Tony Cafaro left the field and hit the restaurant we all picked, to make reservations for the group. Everyone made a quick dash back to their hotels to clean up and prep for dinner. We all arrived around 7:30pm to what turned out to be a very fine meal. The restaurant staff did an amazing job (handling this group). I'd also like to thank Tony C. for flipping for Gail's and my meals as a 'belated' wedding present. Thanks Tony!

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NASS group at the Friday night meal

     We had 17 people (15 seated/standing 2 taking photos) make it to the meal on Friday evening. A special thanks to… and my hat's off to… Otto (and toto) Kemp for sticking around the Show field late Friday evening to rope off an entire area for NASS for Saturday morning. "….The Guardian against Land Rover Invasions…" Thank you Otto!

     The LITA (Long Island Triumph Association) group was in the same restaurant at the same time (foreground table). So this whole room was awash of Triumph chatter.

… SATUDAY MORNING… May 22. 2004
    All I could think about at 6:30 a.m. was a muddy show field, as I starred out of the hotel window at the rain while checking to see if anyone had left the parking lot yet.
It's not a heavy rain… just a pain in the a___ type rain. Oh well… we grab our gear, and head over to the fair grounds. Yep…the field is wet as heck. About a ¼ of our tent floor area is a small pond. Again, by 9:30-10 am the sun is out the clouds have parted and the temp is up to 84 degrees. Needless to say, the rest of the day was simply gorgeous. At Carlisle, one gets use to the type of weather of the 'home' country of these LBC's. It's usually always cooler and dreary if not drizzly. And there is always mud in the vendor areas.
    Except for the trip to the stage to take the photos for the panorama of the NASS group, I don't think I ever left the grass plot NASS was parked on all day! 82 acres, and I never left the 60ft by 150 yard 'lane' where we were.
I didn't find out until late Sunday that everyone had simply been passing people off to me to answer technical questions. I think EVERYONE under the tent, was playing musical guests…passing each visitor around to the next person under the tent, in turn, covering some aspect of the visitors needs.

    The attitudes of the attending NASS members was phenomenal. Everyone jumped in with both feet to promote the club, sell regalia, answer questions, explain NASS, distribute sodas and hotdogs. Amazing! I'd like to thank Kevin Dalton for hauling in two massive coolers full of sodas and bottled water. As Tony C. mentioned… we need to thank our 'prisoner cook' Gail Tegler, for supplying and cooking the nearly 50 hot dogs that were ALL eaten. Terry T. supplied the 'mountain' of snack crackers, Twislers (red licorice), Slim-Jims,… +? All I know is we still had sodas and licorice and peanut butter and cheese cracker packs left late Sunday! Who's idea was it to bribe the Security guard with that entire bucket of individually wrapped Twislers? I saw her riding around a couple of times later that day with that bucket still right there on the floor of her golf cart with her sucking on one!

     With 15 Spitfires and 3 GT6's on the field at 10 a.m., voting for the Show in a Show ran until when the ballot box was closed. The idea of this schedule was to get the rallyists on their way by noon so everyone would be back on the show field by 3pm for the awards. Well, the rally drivers never left the field before 1:30pm. And there were only three teams willing to brave what was now a rather hot sunny day!

     The awards ceremony got started around 4pm. The classes are defined with the photos of the winners that follow here. There was a simple car vs. car # mis-identification, so look closely at who actually won what. Terry's lost plaque was found and the correct plaques swapped.

     The Road Rally…
The Road Rally on Saturday, took the participants approximately 2.5 hours to complete. Apparently the VERY first turn was the biggest problem of the day. After 20 minutes travel time in the wrong direction, the first team turned around, only to find the second team was simply following THEM! So they were BOTH way off course. The Rally ran the contestants east about 20 miles to the western side of the Susquehanna River. Then a nice cruise north along the picturesque river side to Duncannon. Leaving the river took them up into the mountains for a few twisties on the way up to New Bloomfield, then back down to Carlisle. A few questions about items and scenes along the way were used to score the rally. Points were subtracted for questions unanswered or incorrectly answered. The first place winners split $67.00 in cash, which came from the Chinese Auction monies. The drivers got the 60% of the 60/40 spilt. After all, it was their car they drove!.

Rally Winners
1st Place - Terry Kahl, Driver, Kevin Dalton navigator
2nd Place - Tony Cafaro Driver, Shelly Vaughn navigator
3rd Place - Mike Ross Driver, Chris Campbell navigator

     The Remaining Chinese Auction funds were distributed as a lottery door prize drawing, via a number drawn from a hat. Now talk about LUCKY PEOPLE! Our hats are off to Mr. Terry Kahl. He took first place in the Daily Driver Class. He won all his bids in the Chinese Auction, was the driver of the winning rally team, then went on to win the door prize drawing! (another $67 or so) Well, he DID…spend the most of anyone in the Chinese Auctions, so the monies he spent, he got back in prizes! Kate Hurney took home the Diamond In The Rough Trophy. This award also included a $100.00 gift certificate for parts from Thanks again Nigel Cosh (proprietor of Spitbits) for sponsoring such a wonderful award.

    Well it was getting late and everyone was talking dinner again. HHmm… well we ended up at the same restaurant again on Saturday. MANY more people at the meal this time. (26 people I believe?) This time Otto K. was able to join us thanks to Kate Hurney going back to the fairgrounds to pick him up and ride him over to the restaurant. Toto was a Baaaddd girl. Apparently she didn't like the short leash while sitting in Kate's car while we ate. She promptly chewed through her lease and decided to look for her master. A quick visit out to the car by Otto… and Toto remained steadfast in here guarddog position, sitting on Kate's boot, until his return an hour later. She never moved off the car. "As long as she can see everything ..she'll stay until I return" Otto said. And she did EXACTLY that.

    As dinner conversation went on… Gail and I found we were not the only ones that would have maybe preferred a variation on the venue the second evening. So a group of us have already decided that for next year… it's a
good Pub with burgers, billiards and beer. (or my case Grand Marnier')

    Gail and I took our time getting to the show field. I think we didn't get there until around 10 a.m. The tent was full of people, so I pulled around to the back of the row, up near the tent and just left Big Red. Everything was packed up, as we had already checked out of the hotel. Under the tent is Jesse Allen's Spitfire. As we approach the tent, EVERYone sitting there says I have work to perform. "What?" Apparently Jesse's car started running crappy. The 'crew' had already gone over the car, and were waiting for us to show up. Jesse had already hunted down parts from the vendors, installed them, and still no resolution was found. When everyone else came back, including Jesse… I got sucked into it whether I liked it or not. After listening to the symptoms, I spoke my guess as to what to look at. 5 pairs of hands dove in. Ha! Lucky guess,…. I was right! It turned out to be the rotor cap and a screw that had fallen out of his Pertronix module mount, letting it slip a bit. A new screw, a rotor cap swap, a carb idle tweak, and Jesse was all smiles.

    Otto Kemp finally tracked down the parts and service he needed to repair the busted roto-flex mount bolt that was limiting his 'errands' and had forced him to 'limp' into Carlisle. He actually found a few axle spare parts that were needed in the vendor area.
    It was really cool Sunday, to have vendors start carrying their parts up to you…to try and sell them. I ended up with a set of real stainless steel windshield trim pieces for $25. At the same time, John K., got NEW plastic trim pieces version for $15 for the set. This same vendor is one of the people that helped Otto get his roto fixed up. I currently am talking to three different gentlemen I met at Carlisle, that offered me cars or 'big' parts at Carlisle. A 'complete' barn find round tail GT6 for $100. An early MKIII GT6 @$150, only missing its rear diff and axles. And the best one to me (I'll be picking up very soon) a NOS (stored indoors in heated covered storage for the last 18 years) brand new, never mounted on a car late MKIII GT6 bonnet for $325!

    Obviously everyone at one time or another could be seen traversing the grounds hunting parts, looking at cars, ….being mind boggled even TRYING to take it all in…. The 'the cruises' through town en masse. After three days, come the late Sunday afternoon… it was almost like no one really wanted the day to end.

Old friends were met for the first time, new friends met for the best time. Faces on names, and names on chests, chests on hunnies, roofs with bunnies, CV2's, and Bonderant originals, roadsters and customs, some pretty some trash, a Winston and Stanleys and even a Nash, all made the weekend fun.
-- Creator/Founder NASS 1998 --
Paul Tegler

General Carlisle Story of this years 2004 Event
* With great weather the 19th annual Carlisle Import-Kit/Replicar Nationals saw a 15 percent increase in attendance over last year, with 20,139 visitors. More than 580 vendors offered hobbyists anything they could need for their imports or replicars vendors.

* On Sunday, a Mr. Thomas Kirchner of York, Pa., won the 1963 Volkswagen Beetle that Carlisle Events gave away on Sunday as a door prize drawing. I think something like 10 or so numbers were pulled before winner was found that was present. The funny part was Mr.Kirchner was a 'guest' at the show, attending with a friend who's car was being shown. He's a member and co-founder of the Chesapeake Area Roadster Miata Club based out of Baltimore, but he said winning this car may make him a VW man!

* At each event Carlisle gives away awards to the top three clubs with the highest participation. For the third year in a row, Saab owners participating in 'Saabs at Carlisle' won the award with 167 members present this year. The Mid Atlantic Fiero Owners club took second with 110 members at the show, and the Citroėn Club of North America won third place with 49 participants. More than 200 car clubs were represented at the Carlisle Import-Kit/Replicar this year. Nationals, and close to 1,000 of the 1,246 vehicles on the show field were owned by club members.

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Bradley GT Club build a whole kit in one weekend!

* Members of the Bradley GT Car Club showed that it's possible to complete an entire kit car in one weekend, as they assembled a Bradley GT2. Starting at noon on Friday, the club opened the crates and boxes that the car had been delivered in 25 years ago. They began with the inventory of the factory parts, disassembled the 1970 donor Beetle, and moved through the final assembly of the GT2; and the club actually managed to complete this one-weekend build of a brand-new 25-year-old kit car. They started it for the first time, literally right at the 3 pm Sunday awards ceremony!

* The Sports Car Club of America trained attendees to drive autocross-style on the Carlisle Fairgrounds' one-eighth-mile driving course. The Carlisle Import-Kit/Replicar Nationals also hosted the 2004 East Coast Speedster Meet. Some of the finest Speedsters in the nation attended the meet.

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E.R.A. center court Display  Midstates in the background

* The Invitationals display at the Carlisle Import-Kit/Replicar Nationals featured some of the highest quality vehicles in existence. Unrestored originals were there to compare directly with the kits the various manufacturers had on display

* Top kit manufacturers displayed some of the hottest kits available. The Carlisle SteelYard let guests try to balance their cars on a large sheet of metal. Free informative seminars were given all weekend as well.

* The 2005 Carlisle Import-Kit/Replicar Nationals takes place May 20-22. I look forward to a Spit-Together at Carlisle next year. See you all there.

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