Without question, the Chrysler Performance West Car Club puts on two of our favorite Mopar shows in the Southern California area each year. The 30th Anniversary Spring Fling, held back on April 23rd and 24th, 2016, was a grand success.
Naturally then, we felt it was only fitting to give a proper review to the 21st Fall iteration, which was held on October 29th at the venerable and idyllic Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley suburb of Van Nuys.
While the Fall Fling is a traditionally smaller show than the Spring version, and is a non-judged event held over one day instead of two, it nonetheless featured over 350 classic and modern Mopars on display this year, and had in excess of 175 swap vendors with incredible wares to browse. And just like the Spring Fling, the Fall version did not disappoint, as the 7,000 certified Mopar nuts in attendance over the whole day could attest!
One of the very first cars that caught our attention as we entered the Fall Fling was John Campbell’s 1965 Dodge Dart GT convertible.
Resplendent in its rare AA-1 Gold paint with an Ivory interior and matching convertible top, this Dart was a prime example of a properly, and not over-restored car. Every detail was just right down to the year correct battery and date-coded hoses.
Featuring an immaculately dressed out 273 cubic inch four-barrel V8, three-on-the-floor Torqueflite transmission, red line tires, chromed steel wheels, and all the correct appointments and details, John’s Dart could very well be one of the finest examples extant. A truly magnificent car whose design perfectly evokes its era!
A real crowd pleaser at this year’s event was a particular 1968 Dodge Charger 440ci four-barrel.
This bruiser was as flawlessly turned out a Charger as one could hope for. Equipped with the 727 three-speed heavy duty automatic transmission, 3.23 rear diff, power front disc brakes, air conditioning, black vinyl top, steel wheels, Bumble Bee stripe and the classic tic-toc tach, this well equipped Charger literally shimmered in its immaculate MM-1 Bronze paint despite the overcast skies.
Equally perfect was its black vinyl interior, which was correct down to the last gauge, vent and knob. Definitely one of our favorites this year!
We’ve got a dark confession to make. We’ve always been certified E-Body nuts. From the muscular proportions, the feminine hips and the prodigious power plants that were available, the 1970 to 1974 E-bodies have always been the epitome of the muscle car for us. Thankfully, the 2016 Fall Fling offered up many prime examples, but for us, two exemplars of Chrysler’s big muscle car stood out above the rest.
The first was a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, with a special order Charcoal paint. This car was equipped with everything Chrysler offered in its day to make it a drag strip dominator: a 440ci Six-Pack power plant, 727 Torqueflite three-speed automatic, 4.10:1 ratio Dana rearend, 15-inch Rallye wheels and a matte black Shaker hood.
Another robust and correct restoration, this particular car was in fact featured on the cover and in an accompanying feature article of Motor Trend Magazine, in which it was pitted against the modern Challenger SRT8 392 in an old-versus-new track test. The new Challenger might have won owing to its higher output and electronic bells and whistles that aid traction and stability, but no doubt it was this car that pulled at the editors’ heart strings.
Every single facet of this car was spot-on, and the color combination of silver with black interior and vinyl top was quite a welcome departure from the ubiquitous high impact colors seen on this era of the Challenger. If we were in the market for a 1970s E-body, this baby would check all the right boxes for us!
The other E-body that captured our attention was the Plymouth version. For us, the 1970 and 1971 ‘Cudas were the ultimate muscle cars. If a genie popped out of a bottle, and offered our pick of any American dream car from the era, we wouldn’t hesitate to pick a 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda trailer queen with a big block 440 or 426 Hemi elephant motor crammed in the engine bay. But if we wanted to drive a ‘Cuda for any appreciable distance, then there’s a lot to be said for choosing one of the smaller and more tractable V8’s that were offered back then, such as the 340ci in this gorgeous ’70.
Outfitted in B-5 Blue Fire Metallic with black Hockey-Stick 340 stripe and black vinyl interior, this fish really looked the part of a mean boulevard cruiser from an era gone by.
In addition to the standard twin fog-lights and the dual scoop hood, options included factory hood pins, hood mounted blinker indicators, body color dual exterior mirrors, and the 15-inch Rallye wheels. Quite a car this was.
Another Mopar that’s always had us at “hello,” is the 1971 Plymouth GTX. Something about that crazy chrome front fascia surround and the deep-set quad lamps always did something for us. GTXs just look plain menacing. There were a handful of fine GTXs at the Fall Fling, but by far, the pick of the litter was this GB5 True Blue Metallic beauty.
This beast had all you could want in it: 440 cubic inch six barrel engine worth 385 hp and 490 lbs-ft, four-speed manual transmission, matte black go-wing, hood call outs and white hood-to-fender stripes.
Though not a hundred point trailer queen show car, this GTX was a superlative example of a well-maintained driver, and had many tongues wagging.
Other cars that stood out at this year’s Fall Fling included many fine examples of vintage ‘Cudas, Chargers, Challengers, Road Runners, Superbees, 300s, Dusters, Imperials, and DeSotos.
In addition to the host of classic Mopars on display, the Spring and Fall Flings never dare ignore the modern Mopar fans that turn out each year. Accordingly, there was an unprecedented collection of LC and LX chassis cars in attendance this year, including a bevy of Challengers and Challenger SRT Hellcats in a “pack-of-Skittles” selection of colors, including Sublime Green, TorRed, and Billet Silver Metallic.
Also present at the show was an assortment of modern Chargers, Magnums, and some heavily modded Chrysler 300’s.
A short walk over to Spring Fling’s vendor area revealed a sea of booths and tents selling everything from aftermarket exhausts, brake kits, superchargers, suspensions and dress-up bling, to entire Mopar crate engines and transmissions for vintage and modern FCA cars.
Also scattered across the vendor area were dozens upon dozens of private swappers whose merchandise ranged from clothing, signs, toys, model kits and books, to car parts of every vintage and kind.
Yet another section of the swap area had plenty of project cars for sale, including Dodge Challengers, Plymouth Road Runners, and a very cool Plymouth Fury at reasonable prices, just waiting for a new owner to transform them into like-new classics ready for display at next years’ event. It would have been easy to spend one’s entire time at the show combing through all that the swappers had for sale.
As with the 2016 Spring Fling, the Fall Fling had something on offer for everyone. It is steadily becoming one of the very top Mopar shows in Southern California, with an annual collection of cars and vendors that keeps growing in size every year. Add to this a nice variety of food trucks providing everything from tacos and bar-b-que to the usual burgers and hot dogs, and the show can easily keep you occupied for an entire day.
It goes without saying that it is a must see for any Mopar fanatic, but truly any car enthusiast can certainly find things to like. You can find more info about the Spring and Fall Flings as well as the dates of future events held by the Chrysler Performance West Car Club by visiting its website.
We have attended the Flings for several years, and intend to be there for both in 2017. Why don’t you come out and say hello? Spring is just around the corner!