As the name implies, all trucks were welcome at the Carlisle All Truck Nationals. We found everything from kids dragging bagged mini-trucks through the fairgrounds to slammed Peterbuilts sporting a ton of polished stainless steel, aluminum, and chrome-plated parts. Of course, we were there to check out the custom classic truck scene.
We're glad to say customized old trucks are alive and well in Pennsylvania. If one had to select a region of the United States as number one on a list of who appreciates old trucks the most, the Eastern states would have to be right at the top. The hostile environment of the East Coast's winters coupled with year after year of tons of salt poured on the roads to control the freezing cold stuff's slippery effect on things took its toll on the region's trucks long before the West Coast thinned out. We have a theory that because trucks had to make a living all year long, most of them couldn't be tucked away for the winter like a lot of desirable automobiles. But nevertheless, we did discover some old trucks lucky enough to be owned by someone who cared.
The truck that sticks out the most in our memory is a '55 Chevy 3600 with a utility bed and 41,000 original miles. It was apparent the '55 saw some service early in its life, but even then its owner was concerned with maintaining it in good condition. One of the first areas to go (rust) on '50s-era vehicles are the eyebrows above the headlights. The '55 was no exception, but someone had seen to it the rusted areas were repaired and primered. Everything else on the truck, from its original blue and white paint to the stainless steel and chrome parts, was in mint shape. Whoever ordered the '55 brand new liked their trucks loaded down. The 3600 was fully equipped with a big-window custom cab, chrome grille, front bumper with bumper guards, a radio, and a heater, and best of all, it had a V-8 engine with an automatic transmission. The guy fired it up for us, and the 265-inch small-block Chevrolet engine purred like a kitten without emitting one little lifter tick.
One of the main attractions at the show was Stacey David, former host of the TV show Trucks. The line to meet Stacey went clear outside the building, but it was well worth the wait. Stacey is the real deal. It seemed like everyone who talked with Stacey had a tech question for him. Without skipping a beat Stacey would fire back a detailed answer. It was really amazing. We heard Stacey buzzed over to the rock crawl area on his break and made a quick blast over the rocks with an exhibitor's rock crawler-the guy is definitely into trucks.
Another cool guy we met was Carlisle Events' senior automotive journalist, Mike Blake. Thanks to Mike and the crew at Carlisle Events, we thought we were receiving the VIP treatment, but as it turns out that's the way they treat everybody who attends their shows. Needless to say, the Carlisle All Truck Nats are the place to go for anyone in search of a great show complete with a large swap meet and vendor's row. For more information regarding next year's 17th Annual Carlisle All Truck Nationals, log onto www.carlisleevents.com.