Street Machine - - News -

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”

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