Mopar Muscle - - Contents - BY RICHARD TRUESDELL

More than 100 of the na­tion’s finest mus­cle cars gath­ered west of the Mis­sis­sippi and were on dis­play at this year’s GNRS.

The Los An­ge­les Fair­plex held host to this year’s 69th Grand Na­tional Road­ster Show (GNRS) from Jan­uary 25 to 27. The Fair­plex is a his­toric ex­hi­bi­tion fa­cil­ity, dat­ing back to 1922 when the first L.A. County Fair was held. In 1930, at the height of the Great De­pres­sion, a number of new halls were built un­der the Works Progress Ad­min­is­tra­tion, one of which was then called Build­ing 7. To­day, this is Build­ing 9, and, in Jan­uary, it held host to 107 of the finest, most his­toric mus­cle cars from around the U.S. and Canada as part of this year’s much larger GNRS event.

The cars ex­hib­ited for this year’s event, cu­rated by Alex Idzardi, spanned the en­tire his­tory of the clas­sic 1964 to 1974 Mus­cle Car Era. This was when the cost of com­ply­ing with govern­ment safety and emis­sion reg­u­la­tions, in­sur­ance costs, and the first OPEC Oil Em­bargo pre­sented a perfect storm to end the free­wheel­ing era. And to ex­pand the his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, many pre-1964 full­size, big-block cars were on dis­play although none were from the Mopar fam­ily tree (there were sev­eral full­sized Fords and GM pre-1965 cars on dis­play).

The ex­hi­bi­tion hall seg­re­gated the cars by man­u­fac­turer and make, with Mopars (which in­cluded six from the ex­tended side of the fam­ily, the AMCS) placed be­tween the GM cars on the north side of Build­ing 9 and the Fords on the south side. This was a non-judged event, which made it re­lax­ing, espe­cially for those dis­play­ing their cars.

Walk­ing among the mighty Mopars at the GNRS, one had to be im­pressed with the col­lec­tion of cars brought to­gether. Winged cars seemed to dom­i­nate the Mopar ex­hibit, po­si­tioned at the breaks be­tween the rows. These in­cluded the ’69 Dodge Daytona owned by John Bianchi from Wash­ing­ton State. It was found not long ago and pur­chased from the orig­i­nal owner, who lived in a mo­bile home park. It was dis­played ba­si­cally in as-found con­di­tion. Parked right next to it was a ’70 Alpine White Ply­mouth Su­per­bird owned by Louis Salazar from Los An­ge­les.

An­other winged car, among at least six spot­ted in Pomona, that caught our eye was Stan and Lori Mcguire’s ’70 Plum Crazy Dodge Daytona. Its sto­ry­board de­noted it’s a 440/727 Torque­flite au­to­matic-equipped car, re­stored in 2015. It was equipped with a more mod­ern AM/FM/CD player, Clas­sic Auto Air, and tail­lights with 600 LEDS. The rea­son? The car is a driver, and the stealth upgrades make for safer, more en­joy­able driv­ing. Theirs is a Daytona de­signed to be driven. It’s built to cruise Route 66 again — to reprise a 1995 trip. In­vite us along!

An­other Mopar that caught our eye among many E-bodies was the Panther Pink ’70 Dodge Chal­lenger T/A down from the Bay Area, built and owned by Mike Pre­ston. It was a Six Pack-equipped 340, backed up with a pis­tol-grip four-speed man­ual. Close by was an­other bold-hued E-body, the ’70 Dodge Chal­lenger owned by Wil­liam Ben­son who made the jour­ney from Colorado, next to a ’70 Ply­mouth AAR ’Cuda owned by Mike Reed.

One of the sur­prises, a pleas­ant one at that, was the number of ’71-and-newer B-body cars on dis­play in Pomona. Our fa­vorite? The Ba­hama Yel­low ’71 Ply­mouth GTX owned by David Se­lesnick equipped with a 440 Six-pack.

With ’69 and ’70 B-bodies, espe­cially Charg­ers hav­ing become so ex­pen­sive, maybe the ’71-and-up cars will fi­nally catch up. And re­mem­ber, these are the last of the fac­tory Hemi cars un­til 2005, mak­ing them quite pos­si­bly the most af­ford­able way to join the fra­ter­nity of clas­sic Hemi own­ers.

As to be ex­pected there were many E-body Mopars on dis­play, this one be­ing the ’70 Dodge Chal­lenger owned by Wil­liam Ben­son.

Among the more than two-dozen Mopars on dis­play at the 2018 GNRS were sev­eral from the ’71-and-newer gen­er­a­tion. Here’s David Se­lesnick’s Ba­hama Yel­low ’71 Ply­mouth GTX with a 440 Six-pack re­sid­ing un­der the hood.

Pre­fer your later se­ries B-body Hemi-pow­ered? This ’71 Ply­mouth GTX 426 Hemi with body-col­ored bumpers is owned by Ja­coues Long­pre and Sam Gam­brel.

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