Elliot “Chip” Miller. Photo courtesy Carlisle Events.
In 2004, Carlisle Events co-founder Elliot “Chip” Miller succumbed to complications from primary amyloidosis, a rare, incurable plasma cell disorder.
More than a decade after his death, Miller remains a pillar of the Corvette community and his signature event, Corvettes at Carlisle, is the premier gathering of the fiberglass faithful. This year, the four-day happening, August 24-27, drew more than 4,000 Corvettes and a crowd of 60,000 people to the Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Fairgrounds.
Next month, Corvette aficionados will flock to Carlisle again for a benefit show to raise money for amyloidosis research. “Corvettes for Chip” will be held November 5 at the 30,000-square-foot Carlisle Expo Center. This is the first year the event has been held in Carlisle and it’s being backed by the York County Corvette Club. The show will feature a midday engine rev, Toys for Tots toy drive, bake sale, silent auction, and, of course, Corvette-themed vendors, as well as dozens of Corvettes.
We’re told that indoor space to show a Corvette is sold out, though there are some indoor vending spaces available. There’s still a great deal of outdoor space open at the Expo Center where vendors will also be set up and show cars will be on display. Registration is open now at CorvettesForChip.com and spectator admission is free.
The condition Miller died of, amyloidosis, occurs when an abnormal protein called amyloid, produced by plasma cells in bone marrow, collects in your organs. If gone untreated it can lead to organ failure and death. Miller was diagnosed with the disease in late 2003, and died at age 61, on March 24, 2004, while preparing to undergo treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Miller and Carlisle Events cofounder Bill Miller Jr. weren’t related, but when the two met they shared a love of 1950s-era cars that led to a lifelong friendship. Most collector-car events in the early 1970s were geared toward prewar cars so the pair decided to put up $500 each to rent the Carlisle Fairgrounds and host a meet for later-model vehicles and parts. On September 26, 1974, Carlisle’s inaugural “Post War ’74” went off with nearly 600 vendors set up in approximately 800 spaces. More than 13,000 spectators invaded the fairgrounds too, each forking over the $1 admission fee.
That initial success led to the Fall Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet & Car Corral — which became a mecca for collector-car enthusiasts. By 1977, the Millers added a spring event to the calendar and, in 1981, they purchased the 82‐acre fairgrounds.
Carlisle Events has since expanded into a dozen collector-car events in Carlisle, as well as in Lakeland, Florida. Chip Miller’s son Lance is now one of the co-owners of the company, as well as a driving force behind Corvettes for Chip.
“The Corvettes for Chip event is always a blast and I’m honored to be a part of it each year,” Lance said. “I’m really excited that the event will be hosted in Carlisle and I know my father will certainly be smiling down upon us on November 5. It’s wonderful knowing he’s still making an impact today, 14 years after his passing.”
For anyone who can’t attend Corvettes for Chip, photos and videos will be posted to the Corvettes at Carlisle Facebook page during the event and in the days following.