50 Years of the VW Golf Celebrated at Carlisle

a person driving a car
Carlisle Will Mark 50 Years of the VW GolfAutoweek

We're about three weeks away from the annual WrestleMania for rare foreign cars that is the Carlisle Import and Performance Nationals, with the venue itself celebrating 50 years of hosting automotive events.

And when it comes to big, round anniversaries, 2024 will also celebrate the half-century mark of cars like the Volkswagen Rabbit/Golf, Volkswagen Scirocco, Volvo 240, Citroën CX, and the Tatra 613.

"We're calling all Rabbit and Golf owners to bring their cars to Carlisle in May 2024, which will be exactly 50 years since the Rabbit/Golf went on sale in May 1974," the show organizers say, adding that Caddy and Cabriolet models are also welcome.


A special indoor display area will be dedicated to the Rabbit/Golf, in addition to the outdoor section that normally hosts VW cars.

When it comes to other 50th anniversary cars, we've certainly seen one or two tidy examples of the Fiat 131 at Carlisle over the years, in addition to plenty of Citroën CX models.

And yes, there has been a Tatra 613 at Carlisle, though rarely since the early 2000s. Overall, their appearances have been rare, even though there are dozens of Tatras stateside (most of them seemingly in the basement of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville).

Before we forget, the year 2024 also marks the 40th anniversaries of the Mercedes-Benz W124, Toyota MR2, Saab 9000, and the Volvo 740. All four should be in good supply, especially the Saab model, as the Saab contingent at Carlisle usually numbers well above 200 cars.

a car driving down the road
The Fiat 131 also turns 50 this year, but itAutoweek

Last year Carlisle marked the 50th anniversary of the Honda Civic in America with a special display in one of the indoor buildings. Of course, the right coast doesn't have as many original examples of this model as the left, but the same is true for many other Japanese classics. Let's just say most of the ones currently on the East Coast were probably bought elsewhere, further out west.

The 2024 edition of the Carlisle Import and Performance Nationals will also host car designer and author Steve Saxty, who will host a presentation at the BMW-CCA tent each day at 2 p.m. His books will be available for purchase there as well.

On Saturday, the Alfa Romeo section of the field will also host Ricky and Krystal Licerio, the duo behind the Youtube channel Modded Motors.

"Their channels primarily deal with Alfa Romeos but they have other automotive content as well. The majority of their content is based on the Giulia and Stelvio where they critique the vehicles, modify them and just generally have fun with them!" Carlisle organizers say.

As every year, the event will feature everything from Opels to Renaults, with the latter contingent renting a whole building on the show field with plenty of rare exhibits inside and outside each year. In fact, the Renault Club has consistently had the most complete display area each year for the past decade and a half, despite being smaller in size than other car clubs present.

Visit the event website for a detailed schedule, tickets, and driving directions. But don't plan to drop by on Sunday, because that's the day everyone drives back to their home states. Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, are definitely the days to be there.