Foreign Legions

Cars from around the world converge on Carlisle





Carlisle means many things to many car enthusiasts, but to fans of cars from Europe and Japan, it's shorthand for just one thing: the Carlisle Import & Kit Nationals. Held each year in mid-April, Carlisle Import is the first big event on the calendar for fans of imported cars, and doubles as the site of the national meets of many of the smaller clubs.

According to organizers, the event attracted more than 1,500 vintage and modern cars to the Carlisle Fairgrounds, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year. The foundation of the import show is participation by clubs, which receive incentives for taking part. This year, as in recent years, the participation award—and the prize for "coolest club hangout"—went to Saabs @ Carlisle, with 225 cars registered. Second was the

Volvospeed/Turbobricks group, with 110; the Audi Club, with 99; the Volvo Club of America, with 65; the Central Pennsylvania Triumph Club, with 54, the Opel Motorsports Club and Opel Association of North America, with 54; the East Coast (Datsun/Nissan) Z Nationals, with 53; Nittany Bimmers, with 46; the Citroën Club of North America, with 42; and Austin-Healey Sports & Touring, with 25.

This year's focus was on German cars, and a highlight of the show was a display of vintage BMWs by Ed and Janine Ullom. Among the cars lined up behind the ropes in Building Y were a 2002 Baur convertible, a European-spec 3.0 CSI, and a Z1 that will be making an appearance in our sister magazine, Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.

Carlisle offers its own "Standard of

Excellence" judging for car owners who want to take part, and conducts people's choice balloting as well. But the show field is generally filled not with 99-point restorations, but with honest drivers. Performance modifications are common, and many enthusiasts return year after year to show what they've done to their cars, or to check up on others' progress.

The weather seems always to be an issue in Carlisle in the spring. This year, though dark clouds threatened, Saturday remained rain-free, and the turnout of cars and spectators was strong. Sunday opened with drizzle, though, true to the forecast, leading car owners and vendors alike to make an earlier-than-usual exit.

The 2011 Import & Kit Nationals take place from May 20-22, when the focus will be on the cars of France. For more information, visit ®

It was impossible to miss William Arey's brilliant orange 1973 1800 ES parked at the end of a row of Volvos. William is a member of the Volvo Club of America, which is always well represented here.
Need a can of Original-VW-Lack? We wouldn't suggest using the contents, but the cans make interesting collectibles for owners of vintage Volkswagens.

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