Happy Anniversaries – Mopar Action Article Extra

By Bill Woods – Photos by TheBruntBros

It was a great time to be old. The flavor at the 2014 Chrysler Nats at Carlisle (PA) was nostalgia—more so than usual. Event manager Ed Buczeskie and his team put together a really great event rounding up some of the legendary Mopar personalities of the “golden age” of performance. These were the heroes that the senior and near-senior set witnessed first-hand back in the day, and were able to relive some of that excitement by meeting these Mo’stars again face to face. That’s not to say that younger Mo’fans were left out in the cold. It was cool to talk to the legends that they read about and heard stories about that were passed down from the folks who were there.

This, the 24th edition of Carlisle’s Mopar bash, saw several special displays. Celebrations included 100 years of Dodge and 50 years of the Gen 2 426 Hemi which saw a great collection of Race Hemi cars in stock or race trim packed into the retro dealership (Bldg. G). Not to be outdone, the A12 Reunion (440-6) Road Runners and Super Bees competed for attention in and outside Bldg. Y. Carlisle regulars already know that Bldg. T offers an outstanding variety of top drawer vehicles that receive a special invitation to display. The theme in T this year was 50 years of the Barracuda (are we feeling old yet?).

‘Course, all that is just the tip of the iceberg at Carlisle, although one thing missing was the drag racing at nearby Quarter Aces Dragway. The track, sadly, has gone the way of many dragstrips in recent times, being turned into shopping malls, condos and massage parlors. Maybe Carlisle will have shuttle busses running to those, too, and maybe a vendor or two will step up to the plate and offer canisters of tire smoke to diehard race fans. Or just inhale deeply at the Carlisle burnout contest in front of the grandstand.

Perfect weather saw the showfields packed. As usual, there was something for everyone, whatever their (Mopar) persuasion or orientation. A Scat Pack “thrill ride” put you in (the passenger seat) of a 2014 Challenger R/T with the Mopar Scat Pack 3 performance kit for a short burst of acceleration—enough to get those blood corpuscles moving along smartly. And if that wasn’t enough, you could go for a ride on the autocross track in Hotchkis’ ’70 challenger E Max, or take your own ride for a spin (or spinout) on the course. If motoring excitement wasn’t your bag you could veg out at the Carlisle Theatre and view a screening of the Snake & Mongoose featuring Don Prudhomme and arch-rival Tom McEwen. Just watch your cholesterol on the buttered popcorn.

We saw quite a few Mo’shoppers in the swaps “find it at Carlisle,” trudging along with heavy iron in their (or their wife’s) hands for the long hike back to their pickup or trailer. For those looking for the correct way to restore their ride, the Survivors tent showed (mostly) original cars with details on how “the factory did it.”

And that wasn’t all. The grandstand really got packed for Carlisle’s famous skin shows—the Ms. Carlisle contest, the winner selected by the best applause and catcalls, and the Daisy Dukes (from the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show) lookalike contest. Gee, after that, we didn’t feel so old after all. And, if we’re still around, we plan to do it all over again next year — July 10-12.

Ramo Stott

One of the Race Hemi Reunion features was Ramo Stott’s ’70 SuperBird—one of the most successful winged cars of all time. Ramo, who was on hand to sign autographs, won the ARCA championship with this car (now owned by Doug Schellinger) in 1970 and ’71.

Dodge debuted the Hellcat Challenger at the event which was swarmed over by Mo-fans, cameras, cell phones in hand like flies to you-know-what.

Some of the A12 (1969-1/2 440-6) Reunion—a truly amazing gathering of these butt-kicking Road Runner and Super Bee street performers.

Autograph hounds had a field day what with all the special guests that showed up. Bob Riggle piloted the famous “Hemi Under Glass” wheelstanding Barracudas. Bob retired for good from his up-in-the-air ways in 2005.

Butch Leal, known as “The California Flash,” ran a number of Mopars including his altered wheelbase Dodge A/FX in ’65 and ‘66. Switching to a ’68 Logghe chassis Barracuda funny car, he was one of the first to break into the 7s. Other rides included a Duster Pro Stock and a ’77 Plymouth Arrow. Butch is one of only a handful of drivers to have won national events in Modified, Pro Stock and Super Stock.

Shirley “The Drag-On Lady” Shahan, known as “the first lady of drag racing,” In 1966 she became the first woman to win a NHRA national event in her Super Stock Dodge.

The Ramchargers are regulars at Carlisle, and they didn’t miss a beat this year with their panel discussion You can listen to their war stories forever. Just bring a spare set or two of batteries for your hearing aid.

While they don’t rate the popularity of the Ramchargers, Plymouth’s counterpart to the Dodge boys, The Golden Commandos, chalked up notable accomplishments on their own. Their ’64 lightweight Race Hemi was the first car to break into the 11s. In ’65 their altered wheelbase Plymouth won the Unlimited class at Super Stock magazine’s meet at U.S. 30 in York, PA. Another successful build for the team was the “Goldfish,” a ’65 Barracuda powered by a 273 that smashed the AHRA F-Stock record on its maiden run.

Late model Mopes, especially favored by the younger set, turned out in record numbers, giving the Mopar hobby new life.

Carlisle keeps moving back the fences to accommodate increasing attendance

2536.jpg - 84161 BytesMke Sexton’s 340 Duster on display in Bldg. T has taken Best of Show awards no less than 19 times.

Mark Novakovich and Kevin Kanak’s ’73 400 4-Bbl 4-speed Charger SE is one of 271 produced. They showed a “before” photo along with their restored beauty.

This Mo’fan is either looking for a drink refill or donations for his project. We dropped a dime in his cup.

Walt Koller’s ’67 GTX is the first of the 17 Hemi GTX convertibles built. It was special ordered from Manhattan Chrysler and was used to tow “The Mad Russian” drag car.

Building T also featured John Ferguson’s 440/auto ’70 ‘Cuda convertible with air conditioning. It is one of 34 produced but the only one in this color combo.

Wagon hunters could bag this restored ’71 383 Fury with air for $8900.

Mike Labrecque’s ’56 Dodge Royal packs a 3354 Hemi/4-speed with front discs. An original Stock Car was found in a boneyard and used as a template to build this replica.

Old-timers will remember the luxury of a ’38 Imperial C-19 4-door sedan. This 3,565-lb. Touring Sedan could be bought new for under $1,200—and that was before dickering over price. Options include, clock, radio, heater, bumper guards, cigar lighter and 16×6.50 whitewall tires. This great-looking piece currently is owned by Bob and Dottie Shultz.

The huge variety of Mopars for sale included this one-year-only ’76 Plymouth Feather Duster which featured lightweight aluminum parts including the intake manifold, bumper brackets, hood and trunk bracing, and manual transmission housing, for a weight savings of about 187 lbs. 5% lighter than a standard Duster similarly equipped. It came with a 225 slant-six with its distributor and single-barrel carburetor calibrated for economy, a low-restriction exhaust system, and extra-high rear axle ratio. This car is equipped with the A833 overdrive 4-speed manual transmission. It was the most fuel-efficient car in its size class, achieving up to 36 mpg highway and 24 in the city with the manual transmission option. This 45K-mile unrestored original showe an asking price of $18,500.

Maybe something a bit more kinky, like an ’84 Rampage was more your style. This one could be yours for $3250.

More in the “Collector” category was this original 44K-mile was this “well-detailed” numbers matching ’70 T/A Challenger. The “Buy It Now” price was $79,900. Guess we’ll wait for the “Buy It Tomorrow” price.

One unusual truck on the showfield was this Dodge canopy express powered by a smallblock.

Don and Mary Lee Fezell showed their 1 of 12 1965 A990 factory package racecars. This one was bought and campaigned by Arlen Vanke. The car was bought by Ed Miller at the end of the ’65 season and raced by Miller and Skip Guenther for ’67 and they captured the ’67 World championship at Tulsa which paid the largest single prize in drag racing history.

Lineup of “Christine” Plymouths.

Another great survivor: Nicole Krause’s ’73 Plymouth Satellite.

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