2011 Carlisle Ford Nationals Trip Report

Once again, the Ford Nationals went by too fast.

Like last year, I took to Twitter to share the experience of Carlisle as it happened. I added a few new followers during the three days of Carlisle. Since twitter is so time associated, my tweeted pics are in a set on Flickr for historical purposes. Of course, the set only covers the tweets that included pictures, but, I think that those are the best.

Attendance turned out to be about the same number as last year. This made me happy. Even down to the last minute, it seemed like this could have been a lightly attended year. I think the good weather encouraged people to get out. Luckily, there are a lot of Mustang owners in Pennsylvania!

In addition to me, the attendees were as follows:

Amy H. (from MD) – Fri, Sat – 1993 Canary Yellow
Bill F. (from PA) – Fri, Sat, Sun – 1993 Canary Yellow
Bob H. (from PA) – Sat, Sun – 1990 7up
Jim M. (from PA) – Fri, Sat – 1992 Vibrant Red
Luis (from MD) – Sat – 1992 Vibrant Red
Mike P. (from MA) – Fri, Sat, Sun – 1992 Vibrant Red
Neil K. (from PA) – Sat – 1992 Vibrant Red
Tim H. (from PA) – Fri, Sat, Sun – 1993 Vibrant White


As has been the case for the past two years, I headed down to Carlisle with 5pt0joe. We were joined again by another feature car owner, Mike. Even though this cruise had less cars than last year it was pretty cool that a couple other Mustang owners met us in Southington, CT to see us off. This was a very nice gesture.

The ride down was uneventful. We only hit a little construction but nothing to slow us down at all. We arrived in Carlisle in the late afternoon. On the way down it is usual to see other caravans of Fords heading in the same direction. This year we saw much less of this. I only noticed one group and it was just two Fords. I suspected this was a bad sign that attendance would be down. These two were from Ontario.


Friday was highlighted by great weather, low humidity and clear skies. Tim H. and I parked next to each other.

Fridays turnout hit six cars by mid-day. Two whites, two reds and two yellows. A perfect combination. Mike anchored the other side of the tent.

There were a lot of great fox-body Mustangs all weekend. One was a 1992 GT that adopted a set of feature car headrests. I guess not only we feature car owners like them.


With such an unexpectedly great turnout on Friday, the obvious thing to do on Saturday was to arrive early. This meant being on the show field at 6:50 AM. Crazy. But, it paid off. All 8 Feature cars in attendance that day were able to be parked in a row.



and Jim’s

were among those joining the Friday crowd.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Carlisle without rain. It moved in for the late afternoon and we had about an hour of it. This is when the tent really paid off. The temperature dropped dramatically and those of us without sweatshirts wished we had brought them. Mine was back in my hotel room.

But, once the storm passed, the warmth returned and it was a beautiful night for the Ford Parade and Street Party in downtown Carlisle. This event was a first for the Ford Nationals, although, it had been done for the Corvette show.

Mike and I were lucky enough to ride along with 5pt0joe in the parade. We needed to be there almost two hours before the parade began for the lineup. This gave us plenty of time to hang with the other cars. The SSP Mustangs, one of which we would be riding in, were asked to help lead the parade. The general order had the Ford Corporate cars going first. These included mostly late model Shelbys. They were followed by two Ford GTs and then four SSP Mustangs.

After the SSPs were the Pintos. Being the 40th anniversary of the Pinto meant that there was a special focus at the show for them. After the Pintos was any other car willing to pay the $10 parade fee. The maximum cars in the whole parade was set at 400 and I think they fell a little short of that but not by much.

The SSPs had a lot of fun with lights and sirens which they rarely are allowed to use on the street.  The Ford GTs added to the noise simply with their revs.

One we arrived in downtown Carlisle, the cars were distributed among a couple of blocks in each direction. Walking this area resulted in a great time. These were the same cars we saw all weekend but the feel was much different. There was no rigid organization by class.  I saw cars I never would have seen since it is impossible to cover every area of the show field.  This was a well done and executed experience.


After a rainy night, Sunday got off to a gray start. Four of us made it to the tent. One was a 7-up car owned by Bob. This car always looks great and has won in the past.  I thought he had the best shot of any of us for a trophy.

I absolutely had to get over to the “Halls of Kings” which was, from what I overheard, one of the largest collection of GT500KR’s you might ever see. Of course, the most current generation was represented but there were 8 classic examples. They were fabulous.

On Saturday, the day of the voting, I had counted 20 cars in our class which was classified as 1987 to 93 Mustang LX Stock. Fully half of the class were limited edition convertibles. The 8 feature cars I mentioned and 2 7ups.

Once the awards were announced we found that one feature car had placed in our class. The one that placed won second and was owned by Bill F. Bill is not an official member of this site but he visits here and has been going to Carlisle for the last few years. He’s got a really great, clean feature car.

Most of the remaining feature cars headed home by noon. Mike and I headed out at 12:30 PM slightly behind schedule.

As, I mentioned in the forums, this all started in 2007 as a “reunion” of cars. Now, it is much more than that. It has become a reunion of the people I know who share the same great passion. That passion is mostly about fox-body Mustangs but it is somehow much bigger than that. Among out group, there are those with feature cars, those who want feature cars, those who used to own feature cars, those who own other Mustangs and those who have never owned a Mustang. It didn’t matter once we were there.

Thanks to everyone for attending and also to those who followed along from afar and sent messages saying they wished they were there. We wish you were there and hope you will be next year.

3 thoughts on “2011 Carlisle Ford Nationals Trip Report

  1. John,

    Thanks again for helping to coordinate all of this. It’s always a good time and more importantly, it’s great to see everybody again! I’m already looking forward to next year.

    Long live the tent!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.