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Summer means cars shows for most of us in the temporal climate of the Northeast and South Central states. Having grown up in the Pennsylvania region, I decided that an extended stay was in order this year. I packed my two sons into the truck with ladders, cameras and assorted resale gear, and headed north up I-81 toward the ‘big ones,’ Carlisle and the York US30 Reunion. It would be almost a month-long stay to also catch the Brand X (GM) event at Carlisle in late June.

Here is the dealership display ‘garage,’ complete with Hemi cars being tuned, a vintage police car and some race iron.

Carlisle’s All-Chrysler Nationals, if you have never been there, is probably the best Mopar show on the planet, a statement that cannot be made lightly. Unlike events that are held in racing environments, the sprawling Fairgrounds in central PA is more like a big park, and lots of Mopars are there over the three day period. They include indoor displays for invited machines, special displays in tents, and hundreds upon hundreds of cars sorted by club or category in rows of rolling countryside. This year, that number was almost 2200 vehicles (yeah, your feet will get tired).

The dealership idea was the brainchild of Carlisle’s new Mopar event manager Ed Buczeskie, in the foreground.

Since I am ‘king of the freelancers’ these days, I set up a few cars to shoot for eventual print publication. However, the very nature of the volume of show cars, trailers, and campers on hand made this a challenge to say the least. One car was a gorgeous 6.1 Hemi conversion ’68 Barracuda with short-stack electronic Hilborn injection; since the car was not tagged, I had to find a location on site to do it, finally settling on a steel building in the sunset with wide angle lenses. A untagged vintage drag car, the 1965 A990 Plymouth of Ed Miller and Kip Guenther (now owned by Don Fezell), was shot in front of the vintage dealership display Carlisle had set up for the weekend; this was a lucky break, since Miller had won the 1967 NHRA World Championship and the dealership was backdated as a 40-year tribute to 1967. The fact that both Miller and Guenther were on hand was a big bonus. Meanwhile, a nice ‘68 Hemi Charger and a Sassy Grass Green 1971 Charger were taken down the road a couple of miles.

The burnout contest. “Gas mask? I don’t need no stinkin’ gas mask….”

The car show itself is a huge affair, but it brings up one of my pet peeves. If you are planning on attending any car show, my sincere advice would be to make sure you have a display board with your name and car info on it (or at the very least always have your show paperwork with your name in the windshield). I am always looking for good feature cars, but end up not being able to do anything editorially with some nice machines since I have no idea who the owner is. I shoot the display board info so I can write captions after the fact. At Carlisle, the hometown of the owner is not listed on the sheet; the display board is the way to go. If no paperwork there, I end up pushing the delete button on the Nikon digital, even on rarities…

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