The annual Carlisle Import and Performance is a show that is a bit different from others on the classic car calendar. It celebrates marques that most other shows ignore.
The stars of this show are Saab, Volvo, TVR, Citroen, Renault, Fiat, Opel, Lancia, and Audi. Groups of such vehicles are on a show field that also includes Porsche, Jaguar, Triumph, MG, Datsun/Nissan, Honda, Land Rover, Toyota, BMW, and Mercedes. Basically, everyone is welcome.
That being said, it is really a show about enthusiasts who have nowhere else to go, but Carlisle has for years opened it’s doors to help celebrate somewhat left-of-center collector cars.
The largest contingent of cars and owners represented Saab, and that’s typical for this event. The Saab owners really knows how to put on a show with a full schedule of sit-down dinners, tech sessions, and awards. If you own a Saab you really owe it to yourself to attend next year.
TVR, Citroen and Renault also figure prominently, and though they do not field the hundreds of cars that the Saab enthusiasts routinely do, you will be hard pressed to attend any other show that has so many cars in attendance from these marques. They also have text sessions, awards and dinners, though no group seems to be able to mobilize as well as the Saab owners.
Volvo owners have tried for years to beat out the Saab group, and their effort this year include a car count of more than 100, and they had lots of fun. However, the sheer logistical organization of the juggernaut that is Saab at Carlisle is incredibly impressive and seemingly unbeatable.
Not to be forgotten is the swap meet portion of the event. If you are looking for Datsun/Nissan, Saab, BMW, Volvo, Citroen, Renault or British car parts of all sorts, there will be something you want or perhaps even need in the swap meet vendor area.
But no matter what imported car you love, this show is a true must-attend event. I have been attending for six years and always am glad that I went.
Photos by Andy Reid