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National Chrysler Product Owners Club 2011 National Meet

by David Zatz

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In July 2011, the National Chrysler Products Club held its 33rd annual meet in Lahaska, Pennsylvania. The first two days included local tours, banquets, and social events; the third day had a large car show open to the public, culminating in an awards banquet.

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The show portion of the meet filled the site, a large field in Peddlers' Village, with well over a hundred cars signed and showing. Pulling in at just before 10 am, our 1974 Valiant was assigned to the 1970s section, close to a 1974 Plymouth Scamp improbably painted the same color. The range of cars was from 1924 to 2011, with John Stamberg's 1924 Chrysler anchoring the ancients.

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No less than 155 cars were displayed on the show field, from brass era to current, pedestrian to muscle; and 101 people attended the awards banquet. Overall, around 325 members attended the three-day event; while there was no way to be certain of the number of spectators, a conservative estimate would be a hundred.

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The variety of cars was once again surprising, with more variety than in a typical Mopar meet, where muscle cars dominate and things seem to start in the 1960s. The NCPC meet provided a gradual, even progression from the 1920s onwards, at least in terms of cars; there weren't many trucks (the 2009 meet seemed to attract more 1950s pickups).

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One draw was Chrysler president and board chair K.T. Keller's own car, a customized Imperial in pristine condition. The 1955 car was the only Imperial convertible built by Chrysler between 1951 and 1957, and has an experimental VIN, wraparound windshield, two-way rear view mirror, custom leather upholstery, and hundreds of one-off castings and hand-fabricated parts. The car, which took nearly a year to complete, was the first American convertible with four bucket seats, and the first finned car made by Chrysler.

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The tone of the meet was informal and people wandered and talked in small groups. Judges had a detailed specification sheet to fill out in their categories, and hoods and trunks had to be left up; fire extinguishers also had to be seen (most of them were put under the front driver's-side tire). We found no shortage of people to pass the time with, and the atmosphere was a little more collegial than at some other meets. Many of the people attending were staying at the local hotel - even the locals - in order to be in on all the events of the weekend. The show was one event among many.

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The "Prestige" class, including at least one Concours d'Elegance winner, was ranged around the perimeter of the event to draw in tourists and passers-by. This included numerous pristine cars of the 1930s; many were repeats from 2009.

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