We attend L.A.’s premier all-Chrysler Car Show in Van Nuys, California
Spring Fling is an annual show put on by the dedicated Mopar fans over at the Chrysler Performance West car club. The show attracts parts dealers and show cars from as far away as Canada, and includes activities such as evening cruises, a track day, and a giant swap meet. Last year when we went to the fling for the first time, we felt a little like the new kid in school . What a difference a year makes. This year we didn’t have to eat lunch by ourselves. Not only were we surrounded by old friends like Shannon Hudson, Dan Weishaar and Steve Wall, but we had new folks coming up who had ridden with Mary Pozzi in E-Max at the Las Vegas Autocross, or watched videos on youtube and were eager to talk about how they could turn their Mopars into “Smile Machines”.
The Mopar monkey business started early in the week, with a visit to the reborn Wednesday night Van Nuys Car Cruise. Elana cruised the strip in her blue TVS equipped ’70 Challenger and received thumbs up from fellow drivers in Darts, low riders, and street rods alike. The following day was the open track day out at Willow Springs. Steve Wall was out there in his 1968 Barracuda, which he is looking forward to outfitting with the new Hotchkis A-body TVS. Friday night offered a really special treat, as the Picture Car Warehouse, which provides cars and customs to film industry, opened the facility for a tour and party. There were Hemi cars, movie cars and half million dollar supercars on display, and Mopar nuts crowded around Shannon’s Valiant – people were on the ground looking at the sway bars!
We set up the booth for the car show and swapmeet at Woodley Park in Van Nuys the next morning. Despite the urban surroundings, the grounds are beautiful, the parking is plentiful, and it is located right near a bird and plant sanctuary, so the morning was filled with the sounds of V8s and Canadian Geese.
As the show cars and swappers filed in, we were excited to see all kinds of unusual cars and parts. With more than 676 show cars, 291 swappers, and 51 different manufacturers set up in the midway, if you couldn’t find what you wanted at this show, it probably didn’t exist. The Hotchkis booth was busy all day as people came by to talk about the Vegas Autocross and the four Hotchkis display cars. Each car had its own group of fans, from the folks who had ride alongs in E-Max to the people who were following the build-up of Shannon’s car in Car Craft. Elana was stopped several times with calls of “hey Challenger girl!” by fellow drag racers impressed with her car’s sleeper stance and dual purpose performance, and of course everyone wanted to know when they could next ride with Mary Pozzi.
The Hotchkis cars weren’t the only celebrities in attendance. Hotchkis friend Jay Leno snuck in quietly with the Chrysler Turbine, and was soon mobbed with admirers. Kenny Wayne Shepherd was there with both a Hotchkis equipped 2010 Challenger, and his in-progress Duster show car. Known Mopar fan and comedian David Spade was also spotted roaming the show cars, as was Matthew McConaughey.
The car show had an impressive display of Mopars covering all the makes and models. There were incredible restored wing cars and e-body convertibles. E-body fans were treated to everything from Larry Scott’s 70 6-pack car to Dale Blackburn’s road race prepped 340 Challenger. Hotchkis equipped new Challengers, LX cars, Neons, Dakotas and B-Bodies we scattered throughout the show. Car owners ranged in age from 82-year old Dolores Yeager, sitting next to a very fine 71 440+6 ‘Cuda to Jeff Hild, college student and builder of a flawless little 65 Dart GT convertible. Jeff had a test drive with John Hotchkis out in Vegas, and he couldn’t stop raving about how much fun it was, and how much he enjoyed John’s autocross lessons. New Mopars were represented in the show field alongside the classics, and the new Challenger row stretched across the entire park!
Overall, it was a fantastic week of Mopar fun, and as TTI exhaust owner Sam Davis said to us “Mopar fans are a tough nut, but once you win them over, there’s no group more loyal.” We are proud to be in the club, and look forward to meeting more Dodge, Chrysler, and Plymouth owners at car shows and races throughout the year.