2006 Carlisle All-Ford Nationals - Carlisle Calling
Even On An Off-Year For Mustangs, The Carlisle All-Ford Nationals Attracted A Field Full Of Ponies
After last year's Boss Nationals extravaganza, it would have been tough for Carlisle to pull off another show-stopping Mustang showcase. So they didn't try. Instead, this year's All-Ford Nationals, held June 1-4 at the Carlisle Fairgrounds in central Pennsylvania, highlighted the 40th anniversary of the Bronco and included a 427 Fairlane/Comet Reunion. Regardless, the lure of Carlisle, with its huge swap meet and "Fun Field" show classes, attracted the usual monster gathering of Mustang and Ford faithful. Even the wet weekend-weather forecast couldn't keep them away, although it was obvious by the large patches of green in the Fun Field that many left their cars at home.
We can't say that Mustangs were totally ignored. Perhaps the event's best attraction was the reunion between Chief Mustang Engineer Hau Thai-Tang and The Lawman Boss 429 drag car, originally built by Al Eckstrand for military tours in the early '70s and now owned by former professional wrestler Bill Goldberg.
As a 5-year-old in Vietnam, Thai-Tang was mesmerized by the sight of the Grabber Blue and blown Boss 429 when it visited his hometown.To him, it represented everything American, and even as a child in Vietnam, he vowed to someday become involved with Mustangs. Later, during the fall of Saigon, Thai-Tang's family emigrated to the U.S., where Hau earned a degree in mechanical engineering and landed the job at Ford that eventually led him to the Mustang Chief Engineer position. During the All-Ford Nationals, Thai-Tang was reunited with The Lawman for the first time since spotting it in Vietnam those many years ago.
From here, we'll let the pictures tell the story and inform you that next year's All-Ford Nationals is already scheduled for June 1-3, 2007. Let's see, a 40th anniversary celebration for the Cobra Jet would seem appropriate
Pennsylvania Pony Trails
Thanks to Mother Nature for holding off the rain until after our Pony Trails cruise on the Friday during the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals. The threatening skies actually prevented temperatures from soaring to the usual blazing June levels. Heck, this Florida boy almost got the chills while riding in the back seat of Jeff Bliemeister's '84 5.0 convertible.
Thanks also go to Bliemeister and Jim Krupa who together planned out the route for our 8th annual Pony Trails at CJ Pony Parts. The Trails took us from the CJ Pony Parts facility near Harrisburg through some gorgeous Pennsylvania scenery and small towns, and finally to Hershey and the Antique Automobile Club of America's (AACA) Museum, where Bliemeister serves as the museum curator.
Over 70 Mustangs and a handful of other Fords gathered at CJ Pony Parts on Friday morning for coffee, donuts, and a facility tour before heading out on the two-hour cruise, staying together for most of the drive thanks to the lack of traffic and stoplights. At the AACA Museum, Pony Trail participants were greeted at the front door by Joe Spinelli's red '69 Boss 429 as it spun on a turntable as part of the museum's "American Muscle" featured exhibition. The main display featured an impressive collection of American muscle, from a '64 GTO to a Hemi 'Cuda, along with Tom and Joyce McElroy's '69 Cobra Jet Mach 1 and Andy and Vicki Bickhart's '70 Boss 302.