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Mixed bag at Englishtown show

by David Zatz on

The 30th annual Mopars at Englishtown show, back to two days, was a mixed bag, with relatively few show cars but a good helping of drag racing.

general-lee

A single sign with an arrow and  “Mopar” scrawled in chalk told us where we were supposed to go; the huge main parking lot was closed off and we went to the former show field.

dart

There were some highly impressive show cars, covering the range from a highly customized, nitrous-boosted 2-liter Dart automatic to an 8-second drag-equipped… Dart. There was also a fine Dodge 500 big rig, 1928 Dodge Brothers car, and a good scattering of just about everything between, including the ubiquitous General Lee clones.

Dodge Bros car

We arrived on the second day of the event, Sunday, and found that there were precious few vendors — three or four selling classic car parts, a couple of literature vendors, a couple of collectibles tents, and one shirt-and-hat seller.  Not many years ago, the vendor area was so crowded, it was hard to find Mopar Action’s booth (not present, though the magazine has just been reborn and at least one of the editors was likely in the… not crowd… scattering?).

Englishtown Raceway

The drag racing was popular but around one third of the cars were GMs, with a Mustang or two thrown in. Cars ranged from the 8-second Dart and a high-8-second Chevy to an 18-second stock Avenger sedan and Ram pickup.  There was plenty of seating in the shade, because there were only around twenty spectators at any given time.

staging

The announcer seemed to realize that he wasn’t playing to a full audience, and didn’t announce every match-up; he had full details on just about every GM running down the track, but seemed uncertain on the Mopars, at one point announcing a Hellcat Charger about to launch (it was the wrong generation to be a Hellcat — there was one Hellcat, and it ran around 10.3 seconds, while the car announced as being supercharged ran around 13 seconds. There was no mistaking the whistle when the real deal blew down the track.)

super-dart

Overall, it was a good time if you met or brought good people, or like to linger over particularly good or interesting cars; but if you came expecting a Mopars at Englishtown like they ran in the 1980s, 1990s, or even early 2000s, it could be disappointing. The former show car field is now the parking lot, and half of the former vendor area is now the show car field; none were even half full.

dakota

Yet there were exceptional cars there, both standing still and running the quarter mile. It was well worth the $10 admission even if the odd tumbleweed would not have been out of place.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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