by Chris J. Carpenter
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
For a company that’s been to the brink and back more times than we’d care to admit, the dedication of its fans certainly hasn’t softened. If the Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals weren’t enough, the 2011 Allpar New Jersey Meet in East Hanover certainly proved that the passion behind the Pentastar is just as strong as ever before.
With a rather disingenuous weather forecast, Allpar’s David Zatz and Chris Carpenter went back and forth on Friday attempting to decide whether or not to cancel the event. At 4 pm, the decision was made to cancel, and at 5 pm, Tim Ryan of Warnock was notified. Minutes later, before notifications of cancellation were distributed to the members, the National Weather Service halved its “chance of precipitation” percentage. It was then decided that we’d “live on a prayer” and give it a shot. [Editorial note: keeping in mind that our event insurance only covered one day.]
Armed with auxiliary rain flies, Saturday morning rolled in with overcast skies sans rain. It wasn’t long before the familiar rumble of HEMIs and other Mopar engines rounded the corner into the lot at Warnock Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge. One by one, the lot began to fill with cars that represent the very best of the Chrysler Corporation- paeans to its august history. Although the skies were grey, the polished chrome and brilliant smiles of proud owners were enough to brighten the day.
From classic Mopar Muscle, to the K-cars, trucks, minivans, and specialty cars; we had an impressive variety of over 30 vehicles. Even given the flickery around whether the event would happen or not, folks came from near and far: from the Tri-State area, Massachusetts and Ohio. Many brought their families too- in the spirit of an inter-generational Mopar fashion. [This would be the first time that both event organizers’ parents would attend an Allpar event!]
We were pleased to see many familiar faces from last year’s NJ Meet in New Brunswick, as well as many new ones. Of course, we are always happy to see the folks from the NY Mopar Club, Restored Rusty Relics, and the Slant-Six Club of NJ and are extremely grateful for their continued support.
Around noon, members of Drew University’s premier co-ed a cappella group “All of the Above” (the former collegiate a cappella group of this writer) arrived at Warnock to perform selections from their repertoire for all the show goers. With fantastic renditions of many classic songs from U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” to Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” to more recent selections from Beyoncé, Ben Lee, Imogen Heap and more- the group sang in front of the Allpar tent as the show folk gathered to watch during lunch.
Needless to say, lifters weren’t the only things tapping at the show. A huge thanks to Kate Zatz and Kathy Carpenter who prepared an awesome lunch for the crowd, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the barbeque while AOTA sang against the backdrop of the classics.
This year saw the return of Matt Cotton’s 1965 Simca 1000, a vehicle that redefines the term “crowd-pleaser.” For this year, the distinctive vehicle would earn Cotton the “2nd Place Voter’s Choice: Classic Car” award. For a little car, it never fails to attract a big crowd!
When you think of a car that has “all the bells and whistles” we tend to think of moon roofs, power-everything, seats that have a 360-degree range of movement, et cetera. But this year’s “Voter’s Choice: Most Interesting Car” award went to Rob Ghigliotti and his heavily-modified 2009 Dodge Charger- a vehicle with not just “all the bells and whistles,” but multi-colored halo LED accent lights that caught the eyes of spectators throughout the day.
Pete Doll from Restored Rusty Relics reprised his appearance at the event this year with his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda wowing the crowd with its impressive yellow paint and taking home the “Organizer’s Choice Award.”
The “Voter’s Choice: Modern Car” award was won by Tom Dillon and his blue 2008 Dodge Charger Super Bee.
William Smits attracted many stares when he arrived with his 2001 Dodge Durango, dubbed “The Bronze Beast.” Taking home the “Voter’s Choice: Trucks” award, Smits’ Durango has everything from LED exterior lighting (front and rear), to custom-embroidered interior door panels, a rear-seat video entertainment system, a raised suspension and a host of other custom amenities.
The “2nd Place Voter’s Choice: Modern Car” award went to Steve Abrams with his 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8. Brian Kapral and his family took home the “Voter’s Choice: Classic Car” and “Warnock’s Choice” awards for their 1970 Dodge Challenger and 1969 Dodge Charger respectively. Many thanks to all the Kaprals — Brian, Robert, and Patricia — for all of their help with set-up and take-down.
Special thanks to Allpar member Bob Lincoln for loading up his 1984 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z with supplies to do a carburetor rebuild demonstration. Although we unfortunately ran short on time for the demonstration, many people still benefitted from his wealth of mechanical knowledge and expertise. We look forward to catching his next demonstration, perhaps at the 2012 Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals.
Bob’s “almost demonstration” did lead to one positive outcome. The 1974 Valiant’s air cleaner was taken off the carburetor, and several onlookers agreed that the carb was running very rich indeed; also, there was general consternation about the condition of the air filter, which, in fairness, only had a few thousand miles on it. A passing enthusiast provided a new-in-the-box slant six air filter to Dave, solving the problem (and left one with the other slant six Valiant, the white one in the photo below.) One problem was solved...
Throughout the day, tickets were sold for the 50/50 raffle which went to benefit the Walter P. Chrysler Museum on the Chrysler campus in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Many thanks to Ward Carpenter for organizing the ticket sales! We also would like to thank JEGS (via Brian Kapral) and ArmorAll for providing Allpar with some awesome giveaways.
For next year we will hold the New Jersey meet in Teterboro, on Saturday, October 6th, with a rain date to be determined (but probably the next day, in Highland Park). Stay tuned to Allpar for updates as these dates are subject to change.
To all of our show participants, event staff, visitors, supporters and our wonderful hosts- thanks for making the 2011 Allpar New Jersey Meet a success. See you next year!
photos in this section are by Joel Zatz except as noted
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All Mopar Car and Truck News
Killing the buzzes
Dodge pickup trucks, 1961-71