The Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals weekend offered a little something for everyone to enjoy. If you wanted to learn a thing or two, there were seminars. If you’re into cool displays, activities like autocross ride-a-longs, you could get your fill. There were burnouts, beauty and Real Street Shootout shootouts, and special guests likeBruce Larson, Matt Avery, Charlie Morris, Larry Lombardo, Linda Vaughn, and many other greats from the history of Hurst. But, it was the Bandit jump that literally had folks gasping at the flying Trans Am.
The beginning of day two of the Chevrolet Nationals was filled with immense anticipation. Today, the show spectacle would be seeing a Pontiac Trans Am fly through the air, replicating the famous Smokey and the Bandit television jump. But, before that would take place, there was much more to see and do.
I was told the registered car count was up over last year, and that was apparent when looking throughout the show field. The swap meet seemed a little light in the vending department, but overall, there were some good deals to be had. The Solid-Lifter showroom was filled with cars that are the epitome of factory hot rodding, and Building T had many high-profile cars on display.
As 1:00 in the afternoon rolled around, the anticipation was building as it seemed the entire populous of the Carlisle fairgrounds has congregated at the jump area. Not a soul could be found in the car show or swap meet area. The jump coordinators did their best to explain what was going to happen and answer any questions from the crowd. As the time for flight approached and left, the excitement had reached a fevered pitch. Preparation had taken a little longer than anticipated. Eventually, the roar of the car’s 305ci engine could be heard winding up and getting ready.
As the Poncho approached the ramp, the only sound was the screaming small block. As the Bird took flight, a gradually increasing cheer could be heard from the crowd, that is, until the Firebird’s nose struck the asphalt landing area with a force that could be felt in the spectator area.
As the car skidded to a halt after landing, the crowd patiently awaiting word as to the driver’s condition. Moments after the crew started to help him out, he emerged with two-thumbs up to an enthusiastic throng of onlookers.
While the Bandit jump was the highlight of the day’s activities, it was not the only aspect of the show for attendees to partake. Between the deals in the swap meet, the packed show field, and the gathering of like-minded enthusiasts, a good time was had by all.
As the show winds down, I can’t help but already be thinking about attending the event next year. You can bet I’ll be here, and I hope to see you as well.