Sunday 31 July 2011

Report from Mopar Sunday 2011

Life is easy for Ford and Holden fans. Everyone has an opinion on which is best, you see them on the street every day and there’s a race every weekend where you can wave the flag and see which is fastest.

Queensland Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth fans only get one big chance a year – Mopar Sunday. Held on the last Sunday of July for the last nine years, Mopar Sunday is a big deal. It’s much more than just a car show – there’s a full day of drag racing, club displays, a swap meet, dyno runs and of course hundreds of sweet Mopars to ogle.

This year was no exception – Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway reverberated to everything from the crackle of a Weber-fed six to the earthshaking rumble of  big-cube Hemi V8s. Walking from the staging lanes to the show and shine area, I didn’t know which way to look.  It doesn’t matter what you drive: If a purple hemi ‘Cuda doesn’t stop you in your tracks, you’re clinically dead.

Mopars are all about impact to me. 70’s colour schemes that scream out “OVER HERE!!” – Go Mango, Hemi Orange, Plum Crazy, Top Banana. And no other brand ever did dress-up packages half as good – everywhere you looked there was a bumblebee stripe or a Superbee badge or a Roadrunner sticker. Cool, cool, cool.

They were everywhere – Challengers, Dusters, Chargers, ‘Cudas, Darts, some still wearing vinyl roofs and factory air in the tyres, some worked to the max with motors a foot out of the bonnet.

Aussie Chryslers were out in force as well, with everything from immaculate early-girl AP5s to swarms of hi-po Pacers and Chargers. 

Even the late-model fans had something to drool over – big-stereo gangstamobile 300Cs and flash new hemi powered Jeeps. There was even a brand new Challenger coupe near one of the dealership stands, just to remind us what we can’t have in Australia.

Walking around the show’n’shine, you were all too aware that you were missing epic racing on the strip. Everyone was giving it a go, whether you had a daily-driver slant six-powered Val or a small-block Centura on slicks. For my money, the drag car of the day was Darren McGahan’s wheelstanding ’68 Barracuda.

Event manager Sam Tatton said that this year was the biggest ever, with 135 cars racing, over 300 cars on display and 3000 people through the gates. For Mopar fans, this is as good as it gets. We can’t wait for the 10th anniversary next year.

Words published in Cruzin Magazine, December 2011

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