(Words and photos by Doug Gregory) – The phrase ‘Mopar or no car’ is manifest in the folks wailing and wrenching on their machines at this event. Anyone can see their pride for the marques from the clothes they wear to the lettering and decals on their mechanical monsters of acceleration.
It’s pretty common for non-Mopar folks to talk about colors when attempting to describe this group intelligently. I am guilty of this too. Instead I’m going to dive into is the interesting names applied to various models among the three makes. Many of the names invoke readily understood images such as:
Demon, Charger, Dart, Challenger, Barracuda, ‘Cuda, Duster, Valiant, Lancer, Fury, and so on. Many of these are menacing, intimidating, and/or dangerous. It’s a very simple yet effective marketing scheme. Others are not so easy to grasp or understand. Belvedere is one that doesn’t seem to impress a sense of fear or strength, yet these models definitely had some serious punch. Belvedere means ‘beautiful view’ and is primarily used to describe a structure with an awesome vista. Hmmm. I’ll go along with 60’s Belvederes were and are beautiful automobiles. I don’t know the history of the nameplate, but given the times (scenic road trips were very popular) it possibly referenced the view from inside the car as the travelers experienced the countryside in comfort and style. Seems plausible. If I am wrong there’s little doubt correction will come swiftly. Coronet is another that doesn’t seem to imply much in automotive terms. Many model names, regardless of make, continue to be an enigma to me.
Not totally off topic, it seems interesting to me that in the 60s the Hemi was considered a Chrysler entity however virtually all the performance models were Dodge and Plymouth. Chryslers were considered to be more of the luxury line at the time. Fast-forward to the 21st century and Plymouth is gone, Chrysler is still the parent, but the company is now more known for Dodge performance models, RAM trucks, and Jeep with the ‘Chrysler’ Hemi being the dominant name in the game…still.
So, lots of color in the gathered Mopars with one of my favorites being the copper Belvedere with daisy wheels and that wide, gaping scoop. Old paint schemes like the red, white, and blue ‘Cuda doing the burnout naturally draw mental pictures of the great muscle car wars, Super Stockers, and more. The white over black Duster with the yellow, orange, and red is reminiscent of the Direct-Connection days and factory-backed teams well into the 90s.
Hope you enjoy these photos. Look for more soon.