-->Skip to main content
300! That’s how many 1953 Corvettes were produced when what’s now known as the C1 …
300! That’s how many 1953 Corvettes were produced when what’s now known as the C1 was originally produced. Fast forward to late April in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and one of those original 300 (serial #100 to be exact), will cross the auction block on Friday, April 21. That’s right, a 1953 Corvette, one of the first 40 or so actually sold some 70 years ago, will be up for grabs as part of Carlisle Auctions’ two-day classic and collector car auction at the Carlisle Expo Center, April 20-21, 2023. Think about it. In 70 years, nearly 2 million Corvettes have been built and sold. This is the 100th ever created; talk about rarified air!
The auction starts at 12 p.m. each day and the fact that a 1953 Corvette is even crossing the block is nothing short of a big deal. The National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS), the premier authority on all things Corvette has judged only 60 ‘53s all time and rarer yet, over the last five years, only 16 ‘53s are known to have sold. Most have sold through “as seen on TV” auction houses. Currently, there’s only one other known active sale for a ’53 and its part of a non-auction/boutique dealership sale.
With this ’53, it’s the first time such an iconic and rare ride will be made available by Carlisle Auctions. Built in October of 1953, this ’53 was delivered by Tom Hoskins of Hoskins Chevrolet in Chicago to a prominent man of the time, Cyrus Rowlett (C.R.) Smith. Mr. Smith was the founder and CEO of American Airlines from 1934-1968 and again from 1973-74. Smith also served his country, both as a Major General and as the wartime deputy commander of the Air Transport Command during World War II. He also served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the United States Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Smith is regarded as one of the titans of U.S. airline history and when he passed in 1990, was laid to rest within the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
In addition, Mr. Smith was very close with the Roosevelt family, specifically first-lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her son Elliott. Smith aided Mrs. Roosevelt frequently with travel plans and even introduced Elliott to his second wife, serving as best man at their wedding.
While the car has changed hands multiple times since Mr. Smith’s ownership, there is meticulous documentation of its ownership record. Its engine number is 535454 and there are many original elements to the car too, including valve cover (one of 305 produced), 3836066 special Corvette cylinder head, body, and specially engineered open drive shaft two-speed power glide automatic transmission, which was all-new for the Corvette only. The ’53 also retains its original vacuum bag molded fiberglass body made by Lunn Laminates of Huntington, New York which is currently adorned by a 2019 repaint in acrylic lacquer formulated in the Delaware factory of E. I. du Pont de Nemours.
Under the trunk bulkhead is the #100, further solidifying its place in the production line. This is not a restoration piece, though it has been re-painted. It’s also won numerous awards, including as recently as 2021 when it was tapped as the NCRS’ Top Flight Award winner.
“This 1953 Corvette is an excellent unrestored/first year Corvette with full provenance,” notes Alan Blay, editor of On Solid Ground, the Solid Axle Corvette Club magazine (solidaxle.org) and columnist and historian for six-cylinder Corvettes built in 1953, 1954, and 1955. “Its body has never separated from the chassis and other than a 2019 repaint, its emulated as close as possible to the car’s original finish and appearance,” continued Blay.
“It’ll roll across the auction block with all original hardware still intact and drives as it did when it was brand new 70 years ago. In fact, its current owner still drives it and has logged about 5,000 miles in the past 18 years. This car is not a trailer queen,” concluded Blay.
Carlisle Auctions is no stranger to big names and cars, as it has previously worked with the late Burt Reynolds to sell a few cars associated with his collection. In addition, a pair of Fast and Furious movie franchise vehicles have crossed the block, a 1968 Dodge Charger that was used for stunt and green screen scenes in Fast and Furious 4 as well as Fast and Furious 5 and a 1967 Ford Mustang that was screen used as part of Fast and Furious – Tokyo Drift.
Further, with an average of 1,600 consignments per year, Carlisle Auctions frequently sees many of its top-dollar sales come by way of the Corvette.
“What an opportunity to own a very rare piece of American history,” noted Tony Cline, Director of Auction Operations. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this 1953 Corvette at our Spring Carlisle Collector Car Auction.”
The Spring Carlisle Collector Car Auction takes place in conjunction with Spring Carlisle, a five-day event that includes an automotive flea market and car corral. Spring Carlisle happens April 19-23 at the neighboring Carlisle PA Fairgrounds and welcomes nearly 100,000 guests from around the world. There’s reciprocating admission to the events too, meaning by attending one, you can easily and conveniently attend the other.
To learn more about Spring Carlisle, secure a vending space or purchase discounted shopper admission tickets, visit CarlisleEvents.com or call 717-243-7855. For complete information on the auction, including even more details on this ’53 Corvette, call 717-960-6400 or visit CarlisleAuctions.com.
The automotive past, present, and future are showcased as part of Spring Carlisle, April 19-23 at the Carlisle PA …
The automotive past, present, and future are showcased as part of Spring Carlisle, April 19-23 at the Carlisle PA Fairgrounds. This year's offering hosts the ever-popular automotive flea market, car corral, and two-day collector car auction powered by Carlisle Auctions (April 20-21). The automotive flea market and car corral take up almost all of the 8,100 available spaces on the grounds, while the auction, held at the nearby Carlisle Expo Center, hosts an anticipated 400+ lots, all available to the highest bidder. All told, Spring Carlisle and the auction welcome nearly 100,000 people to Carlisle over five days.
As the event plays out, many aspects of past automotive production fall within the car corral, auction, and in most cases, the automotive flea market. These three elements highlight an automotive timeline, via both cars and trucks in the physical form or through merchandise, memorabilia, accessories, and collectibles. Cars within the car corral and auction run the gambit ranging from pre-war beauties to modern-day muscle, all of which are for sale by the owner. In between, enthusiasts can find hot rods, heavy-duty and light-duty trucks, and rare and seldom-seen rides - the list of available machines goes on and on. The auction is similar too. For two days, consignments run across the auction block and much like the thrill and excitement of auctions seen on TV, a gallery of bidders battle to own their very own automotive treasure. With Carlisle Auctions FREE UNLESS SOLD guarantee, the auction is destined to sell out!
Finally, the swap meet is a gold mine of potential. Guests come to Spring Carlisle to further a restoration project by snagging a hard-to-find piece or part within the swap meet. Also for sale are NOS items, after-market upgrades, toys, trinkets, collectibles, motorized but non-automotive items, and more. Additional popular items include vintage gas pumps, signs, and literature.
The present-day automotive world is also displayed at Spring Carlisle as part of the Manufactures Midway and the ARMO Hot Products Showcase. ARMO (Automotive Restoration Market Organization) has been coming to Spring Carlisle for many years, highlighting the newest and most popular items that will be coming onto the market or are currently available. These items are frequently sought-after commodities by those within the collector car hobby as ways to upgrade, enhance or restore an aspect of their car or truck. The ARMO tent can be found between the main grandstand and the stage in the middle of the grounds.
Back at Carlisle and sitting front and center on the stage in 2023 is the AACA Car Club. The national club will have local and regional representation by way of a nice gallery of show cars, a club table, and more. Meeting up with the AACA Car Club is a great way to learn about their mission, become a member (or renew membership), and even learn about their big fall meet in Hershey later this year.
Admission tickets for Spring Carlisle are discounted online in advance of the event and kids 12 and under are free. Spring Carlisle admission also allows for reciprocating spectator admission to the auction. Speaking of the auction, enthusiasts looking to buy or sell as part of the two-day event should call 717-960-6400 or visit CarlisleAuctions.com. The auction starts at noon each day, while the gates open for Spring Carlisle at 7 a.m. daily. Call 717-243-7855 or visit CarlisleEvents.com for complete details on Spring Carlisle 2023!
2022 was a great year in Carlisle, Pennsylvania both with the internationally recognized car shows backed …
2022 was a great year in Carlisle, Pennsylvania both with the internationally recognized car shows backed by Carlisle Events as well as some awesome collector car auction excitement powered by Carlisle Auctions. Records fell, smiles per hour were at an all-time high, and kids flocked to Carlisle too! That momentum continues into 2023, not only based on the success of the one event that’s already taken place in Auto Mania (January 20-22 at the Allentown Fairgrounds), but with the anticipation of the upcoming 2023 Carlisle-based season. Once again, this year should be another that leaves guests wanting more and planning annual trips to the Carlisle PA Fairgrounds.
While a bulk of the fun takes place in Carlisle, there are a few happenings outside of central Pennsylvania. February brings the first collector car auction to the table for Carlisle Auctions. In fact, Carlisle Auctions starts and ends its season with auctions in Lakeland, Florida, and the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus. The Lakeland Winter Collector Car Auction recently concluded, while the Lakeland Fall offering is November 10-11. In Carlisle, the Spring Carlisle Collector Car Auction (April 20-21) happens in conjunction with Spring Carlisle, while the Fall auction is September 28-29 as part of Fall Carlisle. In each instance, 400+ consignments are anticipated with three great ways to bid; in-person, on the phone, and online by way of Proxibid. There’s even an all-truck hour and opportunities to bid and buy for various charity causes. Auction details are available at CarlisleAuctions.com or by calling 717-960-6400.
The first Carlisle-based event is Spring Carlisle, April 19-23. Spring Carlisle may have been the second automotive flea market added to the Carlisle Events resume of events in the late 1970s, but in 2023, it stands head and shoulders above nearly every event of its type around the world! Some 100,000 guests flock to Carlisle, all looking to buy, sell, or trade something with a little automotive flavor to it. There’s the flea market of course, where hundreds of vendors are selling millions of parts, but there’s also a car corral where classic and collector cars are for sale by owner.
Once the Spring show comes and goes, Carlisle transitions to specialty events season. This includes a portfolio of six car-centric events, led May 12-13 by the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals. IPN is a very unique event in that it spotlights over 2,000 cars from around the world, including many rare and unique rides that are seldom seen by the public. There are also a few special displays and activities planned. Cruise to Carlisle as the event showcases the Audi, Rolls Royce, a 50-year celebration of the Honda Civic, race-prepared vehicles, and even a general showcase of vehicles from around the world. There are car club gatherings, track, and automotive activities, plus a judged and non-judged Showfield.
As May becomes June and Memorial Day ushers in the unofficial start of summer, the Carlisle PA Fairgrounds welcomes THE Ford car show of Ford car shows. The Carlisle Ford Nationals (June 2-4) offers no shortage of cars, people, and excitement. The 2022 event became the largest car show of any type ever hosted at Carlisle and there’s no doubt 2023 should match, if not exceed that turnout. Ford Nationals 2023 honors include the SVT, Coyote powerplants, the Lightning, 40 Years of Saleen, the Malaise Era, and more.
Three weeks after the Blue Oval excitement leaves town, the Bow-Tie fun rolls in. Summer officially gets going with the Carlisle GM Nationals (June 23-24) as 100 years of history adorn the National Parts Depot Showfield. Planned features include a few “shows within the show.” This includes the all-new 3rd Gen Nationals at Carlisle (Camaro and Firebirds) as well as Corvettes for Chip. Further, there are planned displays for 40 Years of the Pontiac Fiero, 50 Years of the Buick Regal, a 4th Gen Camaro and Firebird showcases, Malaise Era GM vehicles, and 120+ years of the Buick Motor Company.
June becomes July and that means the largest all-Mopar event in the world, the Carlisle Chrysler (July 14-16). Over 3,100 show cars came to Carlisle in 2022, the first time Chrysler Nationals weekend ever topped the 3,000 car mark. In addition, the vendor footprint sold out too. All those folks don’t just come to Carlisle because of the well-kept grass, no…they come to Carlisle because it’s THE gathering place for die-hard Mopar enthusiasts. 2023 promises once more to offer a nice mix of general show cars on the Showfield and a head-turning collection of special displays too. This year, it’s a nod to Mel Major, long-time Carlisle supporter and organizer of the Survivor Display, Malaise Era Mopars, Mopars from your high school days, 50-Years of 1973 Mopars, and more.
August offers two events in the form of the Carlisle Truck Nationals (August 4-6) and Corvettes at Carlisle (August 24-26). For three days, truck lovers of all ages can see in real life the toys they played with as kids. This includes trucks of all shapes, sizes, styles, and eras; plus Monster Trucks, cool custom vans, big rigs, and heavy equipment. There are also a handful of planned displays, including 40 Years of the Ford Ranger, the “low show”, Vanarama, antique Fire Trucks, and the Big Rig Show and Shine. Don’t miss a sensory-ladened event, complete with sights and sounds, including the big rig glow show, drop and drag contest, and neon that frequently accompanies the vans.
Corvettes at Carlisle wraps up the August offerings at Carlisle and for 2023, guests can enjoy the latest and greatest from Corvette and Team Chevrolet, seminars anchored by the Corvette mechanic team and Paul Koerner, car-themed anniversary displays, and ultra-rare gathering of Le Mans Corvette race cars as part of Chip’s Choice. There will also be a 50th anniversary of 1973 Corvettes showcase and the NCRS Gallery. The show wraps up with the Corvette Parade, Park, and Party on Saturday evening, again offering the community a chance to see hundreds of cool cars in motion.
Lastly for Carlisle in 2023 is Fall Carlisle (September 27-Otober 1). Fall Carlisle is similar to its spring counterpart in that it offers cars, parts, merchandise, collectibles, and more for sale. Enthusiasts and vendors alike converge on Carlisle to celebrate tradition, the car culture, and an unmatched camaraderie that only those who are part of the experience can truly appreciate. Fall Carlisle includes the AACA Car Club on stage and their showcase of classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles. This feature is the perfect appetizer for their upcoming event in Hershey just days after Fall Carlisle concludes. Fall Carlisle is the last big event to find the parts you need for those winter projects or to wrap up something that’s been in the works all summer.
The cars and trucks at Carlisle don’t just show, they go. Beginning with the Carlisle Import and Performance Nationals in May and concluding with Corvettes at Carlisle in August, there will be parades (on grounds and off), drifting, autocross, thrill rides, rolling exhaust competitions, smoke-billowing donuts, and more. Select shows go one step further with low car/truck limbo and a real street shootout, testing a driver’s skill vs. the clock, and the multi-turn course at Carlisle. In most cases, Showfield registration is required to participate in these added activities, but specific details are available via the event’s specific web page.
Guests making plans to come to Carlisle will also notice some new web page elements, making it more customer friendly and easier to navigate, some new food options such as Kay Melts (cheesy/gooey goodness in a sandwich), expanded options from Stoltzfus, including ham and cheese melts, breakfast and an all-new turkey bowl, Mom Mom’s Sweet Corn (fresh roasted ears of corn), Quinn’s Coffee Bar, and best of all, Carlisle Milkshakes.
There are also more ways to give the gift of Carlisle with gift cards and convenience of access with admission packages, including spectator admission for one plus parking.
Spectator tickets are available for purchase at a discount online and registration to show is also discounted by 10% up to 45 days prior to most events. Vending spaces are also available for those looking to sell tools, parts, collectibles, cars, merchandise, etc.
2023 Carlisle Events Schedule
Spring Carlisle April 19-23
Spring Carlisle Collector Car Auction April 20-21
Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals May 12-13
Carlisle Ford Nationals June 2-4
Carlisle GM Nationals June 23-24
Carlisle Chrysler Nationals July 14-16
Carlisle Truck Nationals August 4-6
Corvettes at Carlisle August 24-26
Fall Carlisle September 27-October 1
Fall Carlisle Collector Car Auction September 28-29
Lakeland Fall Collector Car Auction November 10-11
All events listed are held at the Carlisle PA Fairgrounds except for the Lakeland Fall Collector Car Auction which takes place in Lakeland, Florida at the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus. Hours vary by event. Links to purchase, details on the 2023 schedule, and more can be found at CarlisleEvents.com or by calling 717-243-7855.
Bigger is indeed better and with the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals, guests get the best of …
Bigger is indeed better and with the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals, guests get the best of the automotive world, literally and figuratively. The 2023 offering runs May 12-13 and with a Showfield parked by country of origin, the 82-acre around the world adventure has something for everyone. From seminars to parts shopping and more, Import & Performance weekend isn’t just about classic cars, it’s about classy cars and the people who love them.
Imagine it now if you can; a Showfield that includes automotive excellence from at least eight different countries! Cars and trucks representing Korea, Japan, the United States, Germany, the U.K., France, Sweden, and Italy all make up this event. Best of all, these cars aren’t just trailered in and parked, many of them not only drive to the show, but they show the 20,000+ guests in attendance what their whip can actually do via on-site competitions. These activities include autocross, rolling burnouts and donuts, drifting, drift limbo, low car limbo, and a rolling exhaust competition.
Cars featuring fresh styles of today and yesterday perfectly complement the special features planned in 2023. Those features include a spotlight on Audis of all eras, a dedicated Rolls Royce display, 50 Years of the Honda Civic, race-prepared vehicles, French vehicles in Building R, and of course a general Showfield that offers the rare, unique, and exotic too.
Awards are also available in many different categories. While there is a non-judged Showfield option, others may pick the judged Showfield. For this, judging is done drive-thru style and managed by professional judges from eJudged.com. In addition, there are club awards for the largest and coolest club, plus Carlisle Elite. Carlisle Elite winners are selected by Carlisle Events’ staff based on what is deemed “cool.” The selection process takes place on Friday of the event, encouraging showgoers to make it a true two-day experience.
In addition to the international vehicles on display, the food court offers a nice mix of food, including select stands offering dishes representative of the automotive world. In all, the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals is the kind of car show that is just as educational as it is entertaining. Discounted spectator tickets are on sale now, while the event itself is actively taking Showfield registrations. Kids 12 and under are admitted free. For complete details on discounted spectator admission tickets, gift cards, registering to show, becoming a vendor, and more, visit CarlisleEvents.com or call 717-243-7855 today.
For many years at Carlisle, one man helped put together a display that showgoers loved and looked forward to checking out. …
For many years at Carlisle, one man helped put together a display that showgoers loved and looked forward to checking out. Mel Major was the mind behind the Mopar Survivors Display at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals. It was his idea, he fielded the submissions for consideration, and he sat under the tent with car owners as he mixed and mingled with guests. Sadly, Mel passed away not long after the 2022 Chrysler Nationals. While his passing is monumental within the hobby, his legacy lives on at the July 14-16, 2023 event with the return of the Mopar Survivors Display.
Powered this time around by Mel’s sons Ken and Gregg, the display once again welcomes 40+ cars that areat least 85% original. The cars and their protective tent will be just east of the stage with ample access space for guests to walk through, photograph, and check out in person.
“Even as a participant, Mel’s Mopar Survivor Display was always one of my favorite parts of the show, if not my favorite,” said Carlisle Chrysler Nationals event manager Ed Buczeskie. “I continue to be amazed at how many Survivors there are in this area (the Rust Belt). Working with Mel was a pleasure and an honor,” continued Buczeskie. “He was the greatest guy to talk to, not just about Mopars, but about anything. He ran the entire Mopar Survivor Display and made it a turnkey operation for me. All I had to do was provide the tent. I am excited and looking forward to working with Mel’s sons, Gregg and Ken this summer and can’t wait to see what types of vehicles they’re able to secure for the display.”
Learn more about the display, the 2023 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, and how you can be involved by way of CarlisleEvents.com. If you're not showing within the tent or at the event itself, but still looking to attend as a spectator or shopper, we also offer discounted spectator admission tickets. Make your plans today. Full details on the event, links to purchase tickets, and more are available online or by calling 717-243-7855 today.
Book online or call (800) 216-1876