Bob Dotta’s ‘34 Chrysler Street Rod, top, had all the touches of the 1980s thinking with its non-narrowed rear end, solid aluminum wheels and big-block with ram manifolds. Also note original touches like hood ornament, stock headlights, grille, full fenders and running boards.
My favorite in the Car Corral was this Gen ll Hemi-powered ‘64 Plymouth Belvedere wagon with OD transmission, AC, redone but still period interior, modern wheels and tires, disc brakes, etc. Very well finished, it carried a $55,000 asking price. It did not go home with me!
Richard Talbot’s ‘55 Plymouth is one of those detail-rich vehicles that require a second look. With just the right stance and wheel/tire combination, it featured a 1950s-style two-tone paint job. Underneath, everything was redone. The engine compartment was cleaned up, the firewall smoothed and the engine had a NASCAR-style cowl induction air cleaner. His choice of powerplant was as unique as his choice of base for his creation. He used a race-only V8 from Chrysler’s defunct NASCAR program, carefully adapted to street use.
The resto-mod crowd was also well represented, with cars like Ronald Ciarmello’s ‘57 Plymouth Fury. This car is unusually well optioned and was special ordered for a dealer’s wife. In addition to a long list of options, it also sports a 45-rpm record player and air conditioning, both unusual for 1957. A clock resides in the center of its steering wheel.
In the late-1950s/early-1960s the “Big Three” U.S. automakers dipped their toes into the compact market. Chrysler’s entry was the Plymouth Valiant/Dodge Lancer. NASCAR jumped in and began their “Cannonball Compact” series to offer these cars a place to compete. Class of that field was the early Slant Six-equipped Valiant with Hyper-Pak engine and “Export Suspension.” Thomas Chapel’s ‘62 model takes us back to the day!
Each year the Nationals selects a particular Mopar model/category to celebrate. For 2013 it was the Max Wedge. These cars propelled Dodge & Plymouth to the head of the Muscle Car wars. They followed the accepted performance model at the time with light bodies housing big multi-carb, radical-cammed engines. The factories turned out all sorts of goodies in an effort
to, “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.” And, they did!
Dodge’s Li’l Red Wagon was a bright spot in the emission’s strangled era of the late-1980s.
The trucks drove through a loophole in regulations allowing reduced controls on light-duty trucks. Dressed with dual truck stacks, chrome wheels, varnished wood and graphics plus a Hi-Po driveline, it all came together to offer the enthusiast a thrill ride.
For those with late-model tastes but with a nostalgic feel for past Mopar moments of glory, we have this new Challenger fitted with an aftermarket kit. There were a couple of them there, one in the Petty Garage tent and this one in the HPP display.
Words & photos: M.M. “Mike” Matune, Jr
For more information about the All-Chrysler Nationals, please visit our friends at Carlisle http://www.carsatcarlisle.com/events/chrysler-nationals/