Inside Steve Juliano’s unbelievable collection of Mopar memorabilia.
By Cliff Gromer Photos by TheBruntBros
Steve Juliano has since passed on and his amazing collection of Plymouth Rapid Transit System concept cars and countless Mopar memorabilia items sadly has been broken up and auctioned off piecemeal. We were fortunate enough to be one of the first to preview this treasure trove some years ago. Come along for the tour.
Walking through the door of the nondescript warehouse in San Clemente, CA is like entering the Twilight Zone. It’s a trip back to Chrysler’s glory years—1965-’71. To the tenth power. Packed into 5600 sq ft of floorspace, from ceiling to floor, is every conceivable promotional and marketing item, showroom display and advertising gimmicks, service and mechanics items.
Then there are the cars—ones of a kind. Virtually all of the Plymouth Rapid Transit System Caravan, reunited under one roof after 34 years. In addition, a One-of one ’71 Hemi sunroof Challenger. The R.J. Reynolds bench-seat ‘71 Hemicuda. An incredible ’71 Hemi Charger survivor. Chrysler Corp., DaimlerChrysler or even Batman couldn’t have put together an exhibit on this scale. It took the Memorabilia Mogul, Steven Juliano, to make it happen.
A passionate collector for decades, Steve attributes his success in assembling this mind-boggling exhibit to hard work, a little luck, and maybe a competitive bent to show other “collectors” how it’s done. He says that he’s amused by some collectors of muscle-era Mopar displays of porcelain and neon Chrysler memorabilia. “Porcelain lasts forever,” he says. “You could still use the toilets in the Titanic. These guys have ‘60s cars yet back them up with porcelain signs and such from the ‘40s and ‘50s, because they say they choose to. I don’t sleep with Pamela Anderson because I choose not to. Right!”
What Steve really means is that “those guys” couldn’t summon up a decent collection of ‘60s stuff even if they chose to do so. Could it be that Steve has it all in his warehouse?
The problem with Steve’s collection is that the real significance of much of it is lost on the average Mo’fan. It takes someone on Steve’s level to fully appreciate what has been laid out on display. Chrysler distributed books each year to their dealers showing the promo items that were available. These books themselves are prized collector items. Steve not only has all the books from ’65 thru ’71, he’s amassed virtually every item that is in them!
The sheer volume of Steve’s collection is an invitation to sensory overload. The mind numbs as you walk through the exhibit, and the extravaganza of rare and super-rare pieces can take on the color of so many knick-knacks. Each piece has its own history and significance. You could conceivably take it all in, maybe if you spent a week in the place, with Steve serving as your personal guide.
Scat Pack danglers displayed different text on each side of the center panel that spun. There was a different bee (parachute, holeshot etc,) on each panel.
Even if we kicked all the advertisers out of Mopar Action to free up additional pages for this story, and we devoted several issues just to Steve’s collection, we’d barely scratch the surface. So, we’ll give you just a small taste of this gourmet feast—just the tip of the iceberg, as it were–concentrating on signage and a few neat display items. Needless to say, everything in the collection is a genuine original, there are no repros of anything. The items we’ve selected are based on no specific criteria other than our own warped sense of appreciation.
“Join the Scat Pack Club” posters measures 6.5 ft x 3.5 ft. The ’70 version shows a Scat Pack patch and a pistol grip shifter. The’71 version shows a ’71 Challenger and Charger.