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Chilton Visits the 2019 Mopar Spring Fling – Van Nuys, CA

For more than 30 years now the Chrysler Performance West car club has put on two car shows a year in Southern California. For most of that time, the main event has been held in a field off Woodley Ave at the Sepulveda Basin Dam Recreation Area in Van Nuys, California, just up the freeway from central L.A. and Hollywood. As you would expect, classic Mopar muscle cars rule the day, but you will see everything from pre-war Dodges, to 1980s K-cars, to modern Ram trucks. The club has even embraced AMC since the buyout, and there are Jeeps, and Gremlins, and AMX too.

Besides the judged show there is a swap meet, where our head of editorial, Mike, was trying to sell some Mopar parts. Mike is a huge fan of Chrysler company products (and muscle cars in general) and recently traded in his fifth-generation Camaro for the Dodge Challenger that our upcoming manual is based on. You can expect that updated Dodge Charger/Challenger and Chrysler 300 manual to hit shelves before the end of the year.

Also in the swap meet was this 1963 Chrysler New Yorker wagon, at what appears to be a bargain price of $7,500 for a clean, running, hardtop wagon. The green Charger and the purple Challenger were also for sale if you were looking for more of a project, but both appeared to be solid California cars with no significant rust.

The Spring Fling festivities start on the Thursday before the car show with a track day at Willow Springs for Chryslers, Dodges, Plymouths, AMCs and the like. People show up in everything from modern stock Challengers, to Vipers, winged Superbirds, to track prepared primered parts cars. We did not get out to the track, but we hear it is a blast to see these cars slide through the corners at the old school road course.

Seen between the flanks of two 1950s Mopar land yachts, that white, pink, and teal car is a Consulier GTP mid-engined sports car. Engineered from scratch with a kevlar/carbon fiber body and roadrace-spec suspension and brakes, even the street-legal version weighed only 2,200lbs. Under the rear hood was a nearly stock Chrysler 2.2 liter four-cylinder turbo motor, very much like the one you could get in the Minivan, LeBaron, Daytona, or Omni GLH. It doesn’t seem possible, but this car was able to beat almost anything on the track back in the day, until being handicap and eventually banned by IMSA.

One car worth noting, hiding among the panther pink and winged muscle, was an unassuming white Plymouth Savoy four-door sedan. The story goes that the salesman checked all the right boxes to get someone a car that could rule the drag strip… All but one that is. Instead of ordering the sportier two-door coupe, Plymouth delivered a boring four-door. However, under the hood was the dual quad, monster 426 Max Wedge motor with the 13.5:1 compression high-performance engine, backed by a heavy-duty three-speed manual, and a differential with 3.91 gears.

Mark your calendar for the Fall Fling and maybe we will see you there, October 26th. And if you are working on a Dodge car, Ram truck, Chrysler, or Plymouth we have manuals from them from the 1980s right up until the present day.

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