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Carlisle All Ford Nationals

By John Rowe, ITC 1955-57 Tech Advisor

June 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 2000

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The Carlisle All Ford show was another great success this year. ITC was well represented with about 20 members and their cars at the show. In all, there were over 150 Thunderbirds on the show field on Saturday, with all years (1955 to 1997) represented. Some very rare Thunderbirds with rarely seen options were present. If you missed this one, you missed a great show.

There were over 2000 cars registered at the show with 110 classes for those cars. Each class had three awards: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. There were also 60 Celebrity Awards given out, so called because the representatives of each car club, vendors, and other personalities chose their favorites. Some magazines that were covering the show also awarded cars. The magazines awarded about 20 cars their pick of the day. For the first time since the inception of the show six years ago, there was a three-time winner. This car won first in its class, was a Celebrity pick, and was also picked by one of the Magazines covering the event. Now since I am a Thunderbird nut and owner, and rarely see beyond a Thunderbird I’m not sure of the model of the car; however, I can tell you it was a Mercury. It was big, beautiful, and orange with a gold wave running down the sides.

The event started out on Thursday with most everyone from ITC meeting at the Super 6 Motel. Thursday evening was spent with a lot of car talk and renewing friendships. Members came from as far away as Wisconsin, Canada, Virginia, New York, and, of course, Pennsylvania. Then it was off to dinner. Hoss’s was the choice of the day; a family-style restaurant with very reasonable prices and good meals. More talk with less talk about our cars and more about catching up.

On Friday we all left the hotel bright and early and headed to the Carlisle Fairgrounds (about 3 miles from the hotel). We registered our cars and placed them all on display. Friday, as it turned out, was a very, very, hot day. It was reported that the temperature hit 96 degrees. It felt like 110, and everyone got sunburned to some degree. Most of us headed to the swap meet fields and looked for those most-needed parts for our cars, and in some cases some parts that weren’t needed at all, but we bought them anyway. It was a nice change to see parts for Fords only; it almost seemed if you couldn’t find that elusive part then you didn’t look hard enough. There were also a few craft vendors at the show and to some wives they were a welcome relief from parts and more parts. Breakfast at Carlisle was the treat of the show. The prices were very reasonable and the entertainment was grand. What I really mean by entertainment were the two cooks who made our eggs, pancakes, sausage, and potatoes every morning.

Picture two reasonably old gentlemen who just love to badger each other. The more the customer had a look of surprise, the more they went at each other with renewed vigor. Breakfast was also a way to sit with old friends and just relax and watch everyone get the shock treatment from our two favorite cooks.

Saturday, was the day to prep and shine all those already beautiful Thunderbirds. Saturday was judging day. The judging was done by field: green field (which is where the Thunderbirds were), blue field, and orange field. Participant judging was the format of the day’s event. Each participant had about 30 or 40 classes to judge and find their favorite out of all those beautiful cars. To say the least, that was the most difficult assignment given to the participants. Every car was showroom perfect and all the cars in each class were so identical in appearance that to truly do a fair job judging, every car should have won something. It got to the point that it was very difficult to find a car with very many noticeable flaws.

The ITC tent was very busy on Saturday, promoting the clubs ideas of “Fun, Fun, Fun.” A lot of people stopped by to see our displays and we even signed up some new members. Most wanted to ask some technical questions about one Thunderbird or another, and some were in the process of restoring their Thunderbirds and were asking questions as to what was correct, or how do to do this or that.

Others just wanted to let us know how beautiful the cars were. Most took pictures of our cars; some even asked if we could take their picture with them in the photo. All in all, it was a great day to be a member of ITC and all it stands for.

Sunday was award day; some at the event had to leave early due to the distance they had to travel to get home. Some stayed on to receive their awards. The nice thing was that the event organizers gave you the choice of receiving your award by claiming it at the award tent about 9:00 am or waiting for the drive-through award presentations. Having never been to the All Ford Show we elected to stay for the award ceremony. It was done in grand style with the award winners driving their cars past the Grandstand and onto a checkered board mat (just like the race car drivers). It made you very proud to be a classic car owner.

The awards presentations lasted about an hour and a half. The last award given out was for the most miles driven, a Merkur from Fairbanks Alaska drove 4,800 miles to the show. The driver said it took him a week and a half to get to the show. About half of the award winners had left for home prior to the presentations, but had everyone stayed for the presentations it would have lasted at least twice that long.

At the conclusion of the awards they gave away a 1971 Ford Torino to one lucky participant at the show. At the conclusion of the event and the drawing of the winner of the Ford Torino, the event organizers announced that if anyone went to their web page they could see not only the winners of the Awards but also some photos of the cars on the field, vendors, food booths, etc. The web page is

Check it out. You might be surprised what you see. They also announced that this year was their best attended ever and has been growing ever since its inception. If you would like to plan a fun-filled show for next year, think about the All Ford Show in Carlisle, PA. ITC is well represented at the show and everyone in attendance becomes an instant friend. So to truly have “Fun, Fun, Fun,” try Carlisle, and you might be pleasantly surprised at what you see.

© 2000 by Script and ITC