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Carlisle Custom Compact Harrisburg 2004

The custom compact scene is a wild one. Very much the modern day incarnation of the “hot rod” set, this lifestyle focuses around mild to more-likely wild modification of modern vehicles. Mainly younger owners populate this segment of automotive enthusiasm, making it one of the hottest and fastest growing segments in the industry. It’s no surprise then, that this is one of Carlisle Productions’ fastest growing events.

In the past, the Custom Compact Power Jam as it was once known, was a pretty rowdy event. The show became wild and crazy enough for the town of Carlisle to politely suggest the company move it, and that decision seems to have definitely been for the better.

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The new venue, the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, provides acres of show hall area and even more acres of parking lot. With this new facility, Carlisle Productions has taken the Custom Compact show to the next level.

Vendors and judged show cars are now found all under the protective roofs of the complex itself. Rain or shine, the show will go on, and the event has taken more of a professional car show feel as a result.

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Outside, owners who may not want to be judged, but still want to show their cars can take part in Carlisle’s “Fun Field”. Out there, the atmosphere is more laid back, with people hanging out or cruising the rows of cars in order to check each other out.

Inside, the competition is fiercer, starting with the Elite Judged Competition, presented by the National Custom Car Association. Only 200 vehicles are allowed to participate, and all had to be pre-registered and chosen to compete, ensuring only the best make it into this area.

There’s also a Drive-In Street Class that was scored individually with no assigned classes. It’s based on a point system, and any car scoring over 90 points out of 100 win an award.

Besides the show, the Custom Compact event featured even more to hold attendees’ attention. These included a healthy selection of vendors, SCCA RallyCross team doing some exhibition races in the part of the facility where normally local PA residents watch Monster Trucks go at it, and we suppose a Compact show wouldn’t be a Compact show without the gratuitous stereo sound offs and bikini contests?

Many who regularly attend Carlisle events may have been wondering how the show would fare being forced out of Carlisle. For most who attended this past weekend, there would probably be general agreement that the change was for the better. Top-notch cars came out in droves, and the sheer amount of things to do and see while there left your only regret that the show is now only two-days long instead of three. We simply didn’t have time to see all the cars.



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