I can’t believe it’s over. Once again, the Carlisle Truck Nationals was an event that everyone in attendance will remember. While we dealt with the threat of rain each day, it was just that, a threat. In fact, the overcast days made the heat almost bearable.
With Covid a mere memory for many, I wondered how attendance would shape up. I was not disappointed. According to a press release, “dating back to 2013, this gathering of all things truck has more than doubled and in 2022 (August 5 through 7), a new showfield record was set with 2,595 registered rides. This even includes a new record of 213 big rigs as part of the Big Rig Show and Shine.” Talk about a packed house.
Each day, the gates opened at 7:00 a.m. for families, truck owners, and anyone interested in trucks to enjoy all that the event had to offer. The festivities included a lowered truck “skate parade,” tractor parade, various competitions for drivers, and more displays than you could shake a stick at that featured some of the coolest trucks on the planet. And let’s not forget the swap meet. If you needed a certain part for your Ford, Dodge, or Chevy hauler, it could easily be found.
One of the biggest attractions at the show — literally and figuratively — had to be the monster truck showcase with Diehl Wilson and his crew. When the engines roared to life, the grandstands immediately became packed for multiple shows on both Friday and Sunday. Diehl not only put on a show, he is also known for piloting the Virginia Giant, a monster truck with multiple passenger seats. Yes, you could take a ride in a real monster truck. If you wanted to watch the destruction of junk cars, Full Boar and Bad News Travels Fast defied gravity as they unceremoniously flattened several.
Like any true truck enthusiast, I’m sure you made your way to the Big Rig side of things. Big rigs were also the backdrop and soundtrack for Saturday’s Carlisle after-dark showcase. In case you missed it, the evening celebration includes a drop and drag contest by the low trucks, a fun-filled party with the Van enthusiasts, and the Big Rig Glow Show. Everybody knows that big rigs are typically covered in more lights than a Christmas tree, and the Glow Show allows guests a chance to check out these huge haulers at the event in all their lit-up glory. Each night, it was cool to see the interior and exterior light displays, show-worthy interiors, and sounds of the rides that help move America.
For me, I nearly went into a coma trying to see all of the trucks on the showfield. It was a daunting task, but one I took to heart. As I combed through each row looking for cool diesel rides, I could help but think about building something “classic”: for myself to drive. I’ll have to see how that idea pans out. Anyway, I thought you guys might also enjoy seeing a few of the rides from the event, so here are a few of the coolest Diesel-powered rides I came across.
The 12-valve Cummins is a staple for transplanting into nearly anything. Let’s face it, mount it and connect a few wires and a fuel system, and you’re off and running. Devin Hoffman’s ’70 F-250 makes the swap look like it could have come from the factory. Although the engine does not feature many performance enhancements, Devon told me he built it to be reliable, not a race truck.
The truck was originally from Oregon, and Devon’s father actually bought it when Devon was about two years old. He then sold it but eventually bought it back. That gave the Hoffman men the opportunity to build what they feel is the perfect truck.
The engine was taken from a ’90 RAM and then given a quick once over before sliding into the Ford. Behind the Cummins is a Getrag five-speed manual. Drivability is a given.
Detroit Meets Detroit
At first glance, you might not feel that Marty Nazar is not one to follow the pack. However, as soon as you look under the hood of his ’72 GMC, that is readily apparent. While most diesel enthusiasts think a Cummins to be a great engine to utilize for a swap, Marty definitely thought outside the box when he chose to stuff a 6V twin-turbocharged Detroit diesel between the fenders of his truck. Let’s just say there is no extra room for anything else under the hood. The V6 takes up a lot of space with only 318 cubic inches of displacement.
Although the engine is definitely old school, the 4L80-E is not. However, it definitely keeps the engine RPM low for quiet cruising on the highway. Well, at least as quiet as a Detroit diesel can be.
Definitely Not Your Average D100
When was the last time you saw a D100 Dodge powered by a Mitsubishi diesel engine? I’ll go out on a limb and say you probably haven’t. That is because the owner of this ride, Ken Kuta says there were only roughly 2,200 of them built. And you might very well be looking at the most-original version on the planet.
In 1978, Dodge’s partnership with Mitsubishi resulted in the 6DR5 diesel engine being available in the 1978 D100 and D200 pickup trucks. This melding of models resulted in a cool ride that definitely piques the interest of many onlookers. Behind the inline diesel is a 727 automatic transmission. Ken told me this truck still carries the original paint and interior, and with 40,000 miles on the clock, the factory engine internals.
There you have them, three of the coolest rides from the 2022 Carlisle Truck Nationals. And if you would like to see more of what was at the event, check out the above gallery of images of all the exciting things that were happening.
Although the Carlisle Truck Nationals have concluded for 2022, It’s time to make plans for 2023, so save the date. The 2023 Carlisle Truck Nationals returns to Carlisle, Pennsylvania on August 4 through 6, 2023.