CARLISLE, PA - What a difference a year makes. Corvettes at Carlisle 2012 proved that a lot can change within a 365 day (366 with leap year) calendar. Last year in the days leading up to the world's largest all-Corvette event, there was an earthquake centered south of Washington D.C. that ultimately cracked the Washington Monument and from the time the gates opened at Carlisle Thursday morning, all eyes were on Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. Sunday was a wash and the weekend was wet. This year, however, Corvettes at Carlisle returned to being a gem of an automotive event, with four days of sunny skies, thousands of attendees and Corvettes onsite, plus energy powered by the passionate enthusiasts that support America's Sports Car, the Corvette.
The early-bird day of Thursday had cars coming on grounds nonstop with vendors setting up for a whirlwind weekend. Special displays like the NCRS Gallery in Building G, 1962 50th Anniversary Display and Chip's Choice within Building T were finalized, while the GM test drive course at the Carlisle Expo Center took shape with company representatives onsite to meet enthusiastic drivers. At the same time, there was a buzz in the air about the unveiling ceremony later in the day for the #1 Cunningham Corvette which was thought to have been lost forever, only to be discovered in a warehouse in St. Petersburg, Florida. With the pomp and circumstance fitting of a champion racer, #1 was displayed to a crowd for the first time in more than 50 years.
On Friday, the energy continued with a day chocked full of activities, seminars and Corvettes of all types. Kevin Mackay of Corvette Repair Inc. was well represented this year, having multiple cars as part of the Chip's Choice Best of the Big Blocks display, plus his sideways car display in Building T gave those onsite a unique look at the underside of a classic Corvette. Friday also played host to last year's awards parade, washed out by Irene. Over 50 "survivors" rolled their prized ride past the main grandstand to receive their long overdue recognition. Test drives returned for the first time in a few years and the Expo Center area was busy the entire weekend. Hundreds of curious show-goers got behind the wheel of some of the latest GM products, including the Corvette to take them for a ride. The day came to a close around 5 p.m. with the burnout competition, followed by kick-off celebration for registered clubs.
Saturday was a spectacular day for Corvette enthusiasts of all ages. More than 40 GM and Corvette Engineers held court throughout the day and weekend for that matter, meeting those who are passionate about their products. They conducted several Q&A sessions, discussed the future of the brand and highlighted the newest products from Corvette. The Manufacturers Midway, swap meet and car corral areas were jam packed too, offering rare finds, show specials and unique access to many pieces and parts necessary for the upkeep, restoration and maintenance of collector cars from today and yesterday. Scheduled activities on grounds came to a close just after the crowing of Ms. Corvettes at Carlisle 2012. From there, the new queen as well as hundreds of Corvettes and thousands of enthusiasts made their way to the streets of downtown Carlisle for the annual Corvette parade and street party. Live music from "That Band" emanated from the courthouse steps with shops and restaurants bustling into the late evening hours.
On Sunday, the three-day all-Corvette extravaganza wrapped with more seminars, more test drives and a final day of honor for the Corvettes onsite. The weekend awards parade showcased some of the best cars at Carlisle and the autocross track was in motion, with four sessions over the course of the day. Finally, a trio of giveaways was awarded, an Apple iPad, 1998 Corvette Coupe courtesy of AllVette.net and a unique Corvette bed via the Step2 Company. Nearly, 30,000 hopeful winners were in the running for these prizes, making it a true roll of the dice. All told, each winner was more than excited with their prize as were the Kids Choice, NCCC and Celebrity Choice award winners. With the 2012 event in the bag, plans are already underway for 2013. Enthusiasts are encouraged to circle August 23-25, 2013 on their calendars for a return to Carlisle.