CHRYSLER THERE WILL BE OTHER HARD TO SHOWS, BUT IT’D BE SO SPECIAL IMAGINE ANY QUITE AS THIS ONE
The day blurred on, with mint-restored Rootes Group rides parked next to survivor-mileage Mopars, sharing in kind the very factory floor from which they had risen. From Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth to the more esoteric Desoto, Imperial, Simca, Hillman and Sunbeam, there was a machine of every marque. Naturally, the Valiant proved to be the most popular model, with examples representing every variant, from the original R-series to the second-last Valiant ever built, a CM that rolled off the line on 28 August 1981.
It was easy to get distracted; by the time we’d pinned Iain down for our chat, the cars were filtering out. There will be other Chrysler shows, but it’d be hard to imagine any quite so special as this one.
Returning to our conversation, Iain concludes: “It was more arse than class to jag this venue; the right time, the right amount of cars, everything.” He says he’s open to having the event at the Tonsley Innovation Hub again next year, but by then the old factory will have more tenants and less space. “We advertised it as a one-off; it may well stay that way,” he says.
As the sound of dozens of Hemi sixes cranking up fills the building for the first time in 37 years, Iain flashes us a weary but satisfied smile before starting his slant-powered VF sedan. Selecting Drive, he muses: “It’s just been a perfect storm.”
02: Before Holden and Ford released Lowndes, Ambrose, Ingall or even Goss special editions, there was the Stirling Special. Simon Smith’s VG coupe is one of about 143 built and nine known to still exist. “I bought it off a guy who worked at Chrysler, but it was originally built for chief engineer Walt Mcpherson,” Simon said. Former Chrysler guy Tony Richards, who test-drove the cars with Sir Stirling Moss himself, supplied Simon with key historical info
01: Jim Alevi’s avocado-coloured patina-spec 1940 Dodge sedan stood out thanks to its cool-factor overload. “I’ve only had it about 12 months; just cruising it around,” he told us. “It’s been through a few owners – I’m trying to chase down as much history as I can. I was told that it’s an ex-military car out of Peterborough, so that may explain the colour”