Monday, Jul 21, 2014
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Car Corner: What's a MOPAR?


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Many may not have heard the term "MOPAR" relating auto vehicles. Although most car enthusiasts are familiar with the term, I should probably explain what it represents and it's origin.

MOPAR is the parts and service organization within the Chrysler Group, derived from the words motor parts. The term was first used by Chrysler in the 1920s and was introduced as a parts brand starting in 1937. MOPAR parts are original equipment manufactured parts for all Chrysler vehicles. The term MOPAR eventually passed into broader usage among car enthusiasts as a reference to any Chrysler-built vehicle - most any Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, Imperial or DeSoto and now RAM, plus Jeeps and sometimes Eagle vehicles built after Chrysler's 1987 buyout of AMC-Jeep.

Thus, a car club for owners of any Chrysler Corporation vehicles might describe itself as a club for MOPAR enthusiasts.

This background info leads me to explain how the first car club for MOPAR enthusiasts in Citrus County got started. After I acquired my 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T in late 2009, I tried to locate a local MOPAR club to join but was surprised to find that there was none in Citrus County.

My friend Mike, who is a long-time MOPAR enthusiast and owns too many classic MOPAR vehicles to mention here, and I decided to start a local club for MOPAR owners in February 2010 - Citrus MOPARS.

The Crystal Chrysler Dodge dealership on Highway 44 in Inverness agreed to sponsor the club. The club rapidly grew to more than 100 members who own some great MOPARS from the 1930's to 2012. Annual dues are $15 for a family membership. Monthly club meetings are held the first Wednesday each month at 6:30 p.m. at the sponsor's dealership. The club also meets for breakfast and car chat at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays at Joe's Family Restaurant on Highway 44 in Inverness. Club activities also include cruise-in's, events and shows. Anyone interested in joining the club should contact me.

On a broader scale, the club has become a member of the Florida MOPAR Association (FMA) based near Tampa, which includes five other MOPAR clubs in Florida.

The FMA and the Brat Pack member club run a great annual "All MOPAR" car show at the Don Garlits museum in Ocala the first weekend of November. They also run a MOPAR show at the Southern Georgia Motorsports Park drag race track near Valdosta, Ga. and, starting in 2013, will do it with the support of MOPAR Muscle magazine. I have attended this show in Georgia twice in the past three years and the highlight was that all of the show cars got an opportunity to take a free run down the track, with the light tree signaling when we should go with a green light. The first time I attended the show I was so excited at this being my first time on a drag strip that I jumped the green light and disqualified for a time in the 1?4 mile run - but it was fun anyway.

Upcoming events

???Feb. 21: Friday Night Thunder cruise-in at 5 p.m. in the Courthouse Square area of downtown Inverness.

??March 22: The 5th Annual All MOPAR Car Show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking area at the Government Center behind 212 Main St. in downtown Inverness. All years and models of MOPAR cars and trucks are welcome to attend. Contact me for more info.

???April 5: Kiwanis Car Show open to all years and models of cars and trucks at Nick Nicholas Ford Lincoln on Highway 44 in Inverness from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact me for more info.

Ken McNally is a car enthusiast from Citrus County and his Car Corner columns appear in the Hernando Today on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. He can be contacted via email at kenmcnally@tampabay.rr.com or by phone at (352) 341-1165.

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