by David Zatz, founder and webmaster
Allpar is a Web site that covers everything it can related to Chrysler Corporation / Chrysler Group, from before it was even created to the future. Every day, around 38,000 people visit the site (according to Google Analytics) — around 900,000 unique visitors per month.
Many people have written, edited, or contributed in other ways to the site (see some contributors). Allpar would not be what it is today, were it not for a dedicated group of people who wrote with tech tips, photos, and corrections, and who spread the word.
Allpar covers a huge variety of vehicles. There’s a section for offshore-only Mopars, one for squad cars and other fleets, another for racing, etc.
What was to become Allpar started out in 1994 (possibly late 1993) as part of a free web site provided by a dial-up (telephone modem) Internet service provider. The first page covered the Valiant, then the Sundance and Shadow were added, and then other models; and other people started to contribute. The mood was decidedly less formal.
There are traces of the original site on the Internet, including an article on “What’s New With NSCA Mosaic: September 1995,” a December 1994 email, a January 1995 e-mail message, and a few links I’ll apparently never be able to get updated.
At the first site, we hit 5,000 visitors per month; we moved to the second site due to minor conflicts with the ISP, but quickly moved to a server designed for hosting web sites (still unusual at the time), to provide the freedom to easily change dial-up servers. Around a year later, I started a search for good web site names, because I never wanted to write to hundreds of people to update a link again. It had to start with an “A” because this was the age of the alphabetical Internet directory. We verbally cleared “allpar” with Chrysler’s legal department around a year later.
Allpar caught the last bits of the Internet bubble, bringing in enough advertising for me to take two days a week off from work and still pay the bills. Then the advertising market fell to pieces, annoying popup ads were everywhere, and DoubleClick, the last major Internet ad agency still standing, started running ads that installed spyware. It looked like the end for my schedule of three-days-on-Allpar-and-two-on-my-career.
A key part of Allpar has been the forums. We started with multiple WebBBS installations, moved to Ultimate Bulletin Board, then jumped ship to Invisionboard when that neared death, are now on Xenforo. As for the news, we started out with plain html, updated now and then; moved to dedicated software which died after a few years (it’s been archived — phpnews?); and then went to WordPress, which we still use.
There was one company from the 1990s that deserves mention because its model was aped by Google: goto.com, later overture.com. Buyers bought ads on independent web sites at auction, paying at least five cents per viewer “click,” with many ads selling for dollars each. Webmasters were paid one penny per click, regardless of what goto/overture brought in — until they chose to pay nothing at all.
Then Google essentially sold the same service, but gave 60% of the revenue to the webmasters, period — so if Overture took in $1.00, they’d take 99¢ (and then $1); while Google would take 40¢ and pass along 60¢.
Now, we could drop the popup ads that everyone hated, pay for a much-needed dedicated server, repay contributors’ expenses, go to shows, and even take on Allpar as a full time career. That freedom came in 2004, six years after Allpar was first split off on its own and around ten years after its creation — and around ten years ago. The ad market has fluctuated wildly, and the strength of the ad market (and health insurance/care costs) can still be measured in our willingness to run annoying ads, but we had a steady buildup of visitors and then were able to maintain our size and strength over the years. (If you want to avoid the more annoying ads, see our inexpensive annual upgrades — they do require forum membership.)
I created some related sites for particular cars or engines over the years, which are still maintained: acarplace.com, for general car reviews and news (the latter now handled by Bill Cawthon); ptcruizer.com; valiant.org, the first offshoot and really the first of what was to become allpar (it also covers Dart, Duster, etc); dart-mouth.com, for the new Dodge Dart; and, finally, pentastars.com, which has varied in its use but is now dedicated to the V6 engines. A Spanish-language translation of Allpar was attempted but did not quite succeed.
Two web sites which were purchased to keep them alive were rootes-chrysler.co.uk, which covers Chrysler’s 1960s-1970s European acquisitions (Rootes Group and SIMCA), and dippy.org, which covers the M and J bodies (Diplomat, etc.). Dippy.org continues to have vibrant, busy forums.
By-products of Allpar are the rec.autos.makers.chrysler newsgroup and official Chrysler FAQ at MIT. Our current “allpar in a car” logo used on banners, shirts, T-shirts, etc. was designed by Jim Choate.
Allpar is one of the very few major auto sites still owned and run by a single person, “in person,” so to speak. Other key sites have been taken over by corporations or large companies, often spanning numerous brands and owned by people with no interest in the cars.
Allpar has no full time paid staff, no marketing staff, no social media group, no advertising salespeople, no corporate tie-ins. We are, though, looking into contingency plans in case the current webmaster is unable to continue his role.
The first Allpar meet was sponsored by Bob Sheaves and his company catNET of Shelby Township, Michigan (which is still skillfully supporting companies’ CAD/CAM efforts). catNET rented out the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, providing a walking buffet from 6 pm until midnight on October 29, 2005.
The second meet took place at the All-Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 2006, starting an unbroken string of meets at the huge car show (in 2014, Chris Carpenter took charge of the affair, though he lived in Colorado). The location proved to be accessible by a larger number of readers, and took place over two or three days, making a long drive more worthwhile.
We started meeting along with the Slant Six Club of New York and New Jersey in New Brunswick, New Jersey, each year from 2007 to 2010. Then, in 2011, when the Slant Six Club lost its venue, we had our first “standalone” meet since the Museum in East Hanover, New Jersey — thanks largely to the efforts of Chris Carpenter.
The host dealership changed hands and we moved to the webmaster’s own dealership, Teterboro Chrysler-Plymouth-Jeep-Dodge-Ram, whose service department is excellent, and whose co-owner, Sal, is a member of the local car club and has several classic cars. Sal and Dave Ancito were very helpful in clearing off a perpetually full lot, calling owners of cars left for service and not picked up, and arranging for brigades of people to move new and used cars elsewhere. Around 30 cars showed up, a disappointing number, with forecasters calling for rain (but none showing up).
The next year, with Restored Rusty Relics and the 300M Club coming in force, we hit a record of 58 cars. While the 2014 show was not possible, we do expect to return to Teterboro in 2015.
There was a brief “awards” phase on the Internet, from 1995 to about 1999. Some were more important than others. Only one is still around and “a big deal” though it’s hardly maintained and probably few real humans visit it: the Open Directory. (Most of the award logos were dropped from this page due to their total irrelevance, but these are some of the more important ones, at least in the olden times of the Internet.)
We always used Macs to create the site, starting with a Mac Plus (4 MB of RAM and a 40 MB external SCSI hard drive, 8 MHz processor, booting into a graphic interface in five seconds). After the Mac Plus, we used a Quadra 605 (LC 475; 68040LC processor), beige G3, used dual G4, and finally a current first-generation Mac Pro, which remains powerful enough. We have virtualized Windows XP, 7, 10, and 98SE for testing on the same computer.
You can read more about the technical aspects of how this site was designed and run at weborial.com
Allpar is not owned or affiliated with Chrysler or its Mopar Parts division, and stands for “A Layman’s List of Practical Auto Resources.”
Allpar owner David Zatz owns a small amount of FCA stock — judged not enough to affect his behavior.
Allpar does not endorse any product or service. Most information has been sent in by our viewers; other information is from books, magazines, newspapers, and press releases. Any technical tips, performance hints, etc. are taken at the user’s risk.
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