(Words and photos by Joe Grippo) – Three thousand two hundred forty one. That is how many examples of Ford Motor Company products showed up at the Carlisle Fairgrounds on the first weekend of June for the Ford Carlisle Nationals. 3,241 Mustangs, Fairlane’s, Thunderbirds, Pintos, F-Series trucks and just about everything else Ford produced, overflowed into the town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania for an amazing celebration of the Blue Oval finest offerings. Quite literally everything from a Model T to a Mach-E…. see what I did there?
Some highlights of the 2021 Ford Nats were a huge 50th anniversary gathering of the Pinto and the last of the early muscle Mustangs, the ’71-73 larger pony cars. Off-Roaders were in their absolute glory with a Bill Stroppe Racing reunion display which included an insane amount of vintage Stroppe edition Broncos, a Stroppe prepped Mercury Marauder Pikes Peak racer driven by Parnelli Jones. The topper of all the Stroppe stuff was the impeccably restored Mercury big rig race hauler, resplendent in the Stroppe livery and shown with cool vintage memorabilia and trophies. Stunning.
Ford corporate had a huge presence onsite, rolling out the new Mach 1, a bunch of GT’s, a few Bronco Sports and two examples of the brand new big Bronco. The latter of which had massive crowds surrounding them all weekend, especially during the door and roof removal demonstrations. Pretty sure this thing is going to be a real smash.
New Mustangs dominated the show field but loads of vintage iron made this writer very happy. The sound car GT40 from the movie Ford vs, Ferrari was on display and was the topic of a seminar hosted by a modern Ford GT expert and Lee Holman from the legendary Holman Moody Race Team. A giant swap meet with tons of NOS and useable takeoff stuff for any Ford project you may be toiling over. We spied a bunch of potential projects mixed in the swap and the adjacent for sale car corral. Bring money and some comfortable walking shoes.
If you are of the Ford persuasion and you haven’t been already, this must be on your 2022 bucket list, plan for the full weekend to take it all in, you definitely need multiple days. Dig into galleries to see what we saw.