2021 Carlisle Ford Nationals Recap

Holy cow it’s been a long time since I wrote my last Carlisle write-up. Like, 8 years long!

After last year’s low key show (which I attended but just for Saturday), this was a strong return year with a record number 3,241 registered cars! This year I did not bring the triple white. I brought my 2014 Mustang GT. I’m getting soft and wasn’t looking forward to the trip down in the fox. The 2014 is a much better driving experience. Obviously. No leaks when it rains, strong A/C and plenty of room in the trunk.

I spent the week before the show getting the car cleaned and ready to go. I hadn’t properly detailed the car since before the 50th show in 2014. I know, right! I corrected the paint, sealed it and waxed it for a pretty good result. The car went into the 2013-14 Mustang GT Coupe Stock class. I only have a few mods including the exhaust and a few appearance items.

The 2014 in it’s class with other stock and near stock cars

It’s always great to see friends at the show, some of which I only see this one time a year. My youngest son joined me for the weekend. Also, my brother brought both of his kids. It was great to spend time with everyone, go out to eat and just hang out and catch up.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I recently redesigned the club logo. So, along with the stickers, I revealed a new club banner. I know we are not going to win the “cool club” award for this but I’m proud to display a banner every year and to do some other light decorating at our tent. It’s a casual atmosphere at our tent. And, I’m very happy for that. All are welcome, club members or not.

New banner. New club logo. SCC gear here with us.

Speaking of logos and merchandise, our friends at foxbodyswag gifted us some nice keychains for giveaways at the show. And, on top of that, Joe from FBS made me a great shirt with the new club logo! It’s really great to have a friend like this!

Complimentary merch provided by foxbodyswag.com

As with last year, there was no ride and drive event nor was the Expo Center open. This was probably due to Covid concerns. I really wanted to drive the Mach-E this year. I’ve never driven an all electric car so it could have been a great opportunity to do that. Not this year, I guess.

But, there was a chance to see the new Bronco in both 2 door and 4 door forms.

2021 Ford Bronco Badlands 2 door

I knew it would be awesome to see in person but I didn’t realize how much I would want one once I saw it. There were demos on taking the doors and roof panels off. There was a walk-through of the modularity of the design with the ability to unbolt and bolt on various accessories. It was clear that this is a well thought out platform. I’d love to own one someday.

On Saturday we had our club cookout. We had enough food that a few of our friends which we didn’t know were coming were able to join us. The potato salad was awesome! I know I didn’t ask for permission from everyone in the below picture from the cookout but just note the fine print on the new banner states that your presence in the shade of the tent constitutes your permission for me to use your image or likeness in any way. Right, Myia?

Cookout time. My son on the grill!

This year I had the privilege of being a celebrity judge. A couple months prior to the show I got the email invitation but I dismissed it. Only when I got a second reminder did I sign up to be a judge. I was excited leading up to and going in to it but then really felt the pressure on the day of. There were 3,200 cars that I was allowed to choose from! After talking with a friend who had some experience with it, I decided to narrow my scope. I have expertise in fox-body Mustangs. And, I thought it would mean more to a fox-body owner that someone in their community choose them more-so than if I chose someone from a different Ford community.

So, I narrowed to fox Mustangs and, more specifically, those with few or no mods. There were many great cars and I was certain I was going to choose one of the Mustang GT hatchbacks that were there. There were several in great condition and in stock or near-stock form. But, on my last pass through the aisle, I came across a beautiful 1989 LX 5.0 hatch. It has 16,000 miles and is still owned by its original owner. It’s entirely stock down to the 10 hole wheels.

1989 Mustang LX 5.0 Hatchback

Additionally, it has a red interior. I think the red interior has gotten a bad rap over the years. So many people will dismiss a car with a red interior. I’ve had a Mustang with a red interior and during the time I had it, I had grown fond of the color. When it’s in great shape such as on this car, it really pops. They don’t do interiors like this any more.

The thing about Celebrity Choice is that the owner knows on Saturday that they are receiving an award as a sticker is left behind on the windshield as well as a card with some details on the award. This is done so that a car will only be picked by one Celebrity Judge.

Celebrity Choice sticker for this 1989 hatch

I was told there were to be about 90 celebrity judges this year. I browsed through the awards list and counted 68 celebrity awards. Only 4 fox bodies received a celebrity award and I can proudly say that one was my pick. I hope they ask me again next year as the experience was very rewarding.

Despite there being no official ride and drive event, was able to do a sort of informal ride and drive on Saturday. My son convinced my good friend Tom to take him for a ride in his 2007 Shelby GT/SC. Tom had purchased this car several years ago as a Shelby GT and later sent it to Shelby to upgrade it to a GT/SC. I joined along on the ride in the back seat.

The supercharger really makes this car quick. We drove a little on some country roads close by to the fairgrounds. For the trip back, Tom asked me if I wanted to drive. I was a little hesitant but I did drive it back and WOW! I had never driven a car with a supercharger before. Honestly, I didn’t think it was life-changingly fast with probably 125 HP more than my 2014 but, damn, the way those extra horse power are added is dramatic. As an observer, I think the supercharger whine is a little annoying. But, as a driver, I have a new found appreciation for that sound! It is intoxicating

Tom’s 2007 Shelby GT/SC

I was pretty proud of the condition of my car going into this show. The paint was really dialed in -probably over 95% swirl and scratch free. Although, I felt like every time I touched it to clean it, I was adding new scratches and swirls. It’s hard out to keep a car clean while outdoors for a whole weekend and almost always in the sun. For my pre-show detailing, I had used Collinite 845 wax for the first time. I had heard that it would haze a bit in the days after application and it certainly did. I think part of the problem was the heat of the sun and it was tough to keep the haze from coming back as it sat all day. Wiping this hazy wax when it was hot seemed to be just moving the wax around. I did my best but had to just walk away from it and let it be.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have detailed and applied the wax several weeks before the show in order to allow for a longer time to harden and cure. At least one wash before Carlisle in a controlled environment would have helped a lot. The first wash after a detail is always my favorite. Doing that with a shared hose in a shared wash area is not the most optimal way to do it.

The result though was still pretty stunning. And, I’m sure it was the major factor in me receiving 2nd place in the class! I’ve never won any award at Carlisle before with any car I’ve brought. So, this was so satisfying to get.

2nd place!

Overall, it was a great show and great getting back together with friends after the hiatus that was 2020. There was great fun as a celebrity judge in my first time doing that and in wearing that badge around all day. And, great satisfaction in getting 2nd place for my car after spending many hours detailing and obsessing over it. See you next year.

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