VIVA LAS VEGAS! Hotchkis Hits Sin City for Mopars at the Strip 2009

As you know, we’ve been heavily involved in the muscle car community for over 15 years, and we’re always eager to meet new people and talk about the cars they care about. For the past few years our friends in the Chrysler community have been telling us about a fun, exciting all-Chrsyler show in Las Vegas called Mopars at the Strip, and with the recent release of our new suspension systems for classic B & E Bodies, as well as the new Challenger, we thought it was finally time to check it out. 

Now in its seventh year, Mopars at the Strip was held March 20-22, 2009, and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and The Cannery Hotel & Casino. We booked a space in the manufacturer’s midway a few months in advance, but it’s just not Hotchkis style to show up and sit around waiting for something exciting to happen. 

We got on the phone with show founder/organizer Phil Painter and famed muscle car designer/builder Steve Strope of Pure Vision Design in Simi Valley, and cooked up a plan. We decided the best way to show off our latest bolt-on suspension system was to actually BUILD a B-Body G-Machine right there at the show. Phil found a clean ’66 big block Coronet, and we built the entire car on the asphalt with hand tools in three days, and the finished product will be raffled for charity at next year’s show. 

Over the course of the event we met hundreds of incredible people, and were continuously impressed by the dedication and resourcefulness of the Mopar Community. We got great feedback on existing products, and suggestions for new systems that will go into R&D shortly (including a new suspension setup for the A-Body). 

Drag racing was happening all three days of the event, with the 2009 Hemi Shootout providing exceptionally exciting head-to-head action. The Viper guys split their time between the car show and the road course on the other side of the Motor Speedway, and the bustling swap meet was packed with interesting Mopar artifacts. Saturday night The Cannery hosted an incredible live concert featuring World Class Rockers, a super group featuring former members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Toto, Steppenwolf, Journey, Santana and Boston. Outside the concert arena, Mopar Muscle Magazine hosted a “Quarter Mile of Mopars” car show, which ended in a series of massive burnouts that had the crowd cheering and security running around in frustration. 

On Sunday the show wound to a close with the Finals on the drag strip, awards handed out for the car show, Steve Strope being honored with the Lee Iacocca award, and our Coronet Live Build project rolling under its own power with a killer new look. Overall it was an excellent event, and we were thrilled to make so many friends in the Mopar community. We’ll be back next year to witness the Coronet charity raffle, and our next Mopar event on the schedule is the Spring Fling in Van Nuys, California on April 25 & 26th. See you there!


We were honored to have a Mr. Norm’s SuperCuda in our booth all weekend, and the car received a lot of attention. The iconic Illinois Mopar Racer now offers Cudas, Challengers and Rams with a variety of performance options, including Hotchkis Sport Suspension springs and sway bars.

The crowd at Mopars at the Strip started lining up early Thursday for drag racing practice runs, even though the official racing didn’t even start until Friday.

The Hotchkis display was front and center in the manufacturer’s midway next to our friends at Flowmaster and Mopar Direct Connection. Our booth featured the Mr. Norm’s SuperCuda, a gorgeous while 2009 Challenger R/T with Hotchkis sport springs, and our E-MAX 1970 Challenger project car.

E-MAX drew a steady stream of onlookers and questions all weekend. We were blown away by the Mopar enthusiasts level of technical knowledge.

Our friend Steve Strope from Pure Vision Design was honored by the crowd with the Lee Iacocca award at the end of Mopars at the Strip. Here he kicks off the Coronet live build adjacent to the Hotchkis booth with an on-camera interview.

The Coronet live build drew a crowd all weekend, as show attendees watched us take a stone-stock ’66 Coronet and turn it into a hunkered-down G-machine.

The completed car will be raffled off for charity at the 2010 Mopars at the Strip event. Here show founder Phil Painter talks about the live build with a camera man from the local Channel 8 News.

As you can see, the finished car looks great, thanks to a complete Hotchkis Sport Suspension setup, Wilwood brakes, Bonspeed wheels and Pirelli tires.

The car show was packed with hundreds of gorgeous classic A, B and E-Body Chryslers grouped by body style. Here you can see “E-Body Row” including a Shaker hood scoop equipped Plum Crazy Challenger convertible.

Dave Wright brought his stunning ’68 Coronet 500 all the way Springfield, Missouri. The car’s perfect stance and big-inch Boyd five spoke wheels made it stand out.

Bruce Jamisson and James Schaap showed off their gorgeous 2009 SRT8 Challengers at the show. In fact, the New Challenger was well-represented with dozens in attendance including several on the drag strip. Perhaps next year if the show opens the road course to cars other than Vipers, we can get a few Hotchkis-equipped cars out on the track.

Back on the manufacturer’s midway, most of the vendor’s daily drivers were Mopars, including this slick Hotchkis-equipped Charger Super Bee.

Group Five Limited brought a G5/R Challenger to the show, featuring an awesome Team Performance Products twin-turbocharged 6.1L Hemi and a slick two-tone paintjob.

One final late model Challenger that really caught our eye was this gorgeous Tornado Red R/T loaded with optional hardware from Mopar Performance Parts.

This slick ’68 Charger was packed with modern technology, including big-inch Billet Specialties wheels, Wilwood brakes and a five-speed from Keisler Engineering.

Under the hood, the Charger’s powerplant was a work of art. This big-inch Hemi crate motor from Mopar Performance is fortified with Hilborn style fuel injection converted to EFI.

Paul Copeland from Leona Valley, California spent years building this Top Banana yellow Challenger, which looks like a relatively normal billet-wheel equipped street machine from the outside.

Until you look under the hood and spot the all-aluminum Viper V10 backed by a T56 6-Speed. Fantastic engineering Paul!

The first time we spotted this crash-bumper equipped Charger cruising the show we thought it was the local Highway Patrol checking things out, until we noticed the Utah plates.

The Utah State Police built the “UHP911 Super Cruiser” as a PR tool, and the Charger Police Interceptor has been fortified with a 550hp supercharged 5.7L Hemi and SRT8 suspension, wheels and brakes. Yup, the cops do burnouts too.

There were several wing cars on display, including this stunning all stock Charger Daytona

There were actually TWO “Blues Brothers” ’74 Dodge Monacos on display, this being the more “authentic” of the two with its gigantic roof-mounted speaker. The owner was listed on the entry form as “Elwood from Chicago.”

World famous designer, builder and Hotchkis friend Chip Foose was on hand at the show, signing autographs, catching up with fans and showing off his latest creation: the heavily customized and beautiful “Terra Cuda.”

Last but not least, the soundtrack for the entire three day event was an endless loop of screaming Chrysler powerplants as Hemi and Wedge fans battled for supremecy on the drag strip.