While the 1960s was arguably Chrysler's performance-car golden era, it's the angular good looks of the 1940s-era Dodge Power Wagons that thrill military and 4x4 truck enthusiasts. Jim Hetrick brought his gorgeous post-war dark blue and black 1946 on Saturday. With its updated 20-inch wheels and tires, it has a menacing stance. His truck is driven often but meticulously maintained, as you can see.
A variety of Dodge pickups round out the first day's display--a 1978 D200 SE Adventurer crew cab longbed, a 1975 Ramcharger 4x4, a 2007 Ram 1500 Mega Cab, a flamed custom 1952 Pickup, Troy Hodge's trick orange 1966 D100 Hemi street machine, and several station wagons that would put today's crossovers to shame.
On Sunday morning, it all began again. The early shoppers already bought or passed, so the midway is less traveled on the second day. The north end of the park was another story. Sunday was the real deal for the serious Show & Shine competitors. Cars were broken up into body types (i.e. A-Body, E-Body, etc.) Trucks were separated by year of manufacture--before 1985 or after.
Another 1946 Power Wagon rolled in. This one, painted in dark green and black, is owned by Chris Lofthouse. Chris' truck is a body-off-frame resto done in honor of his father. Hetrick's PW stood only two trucks away from Lofthouse's, so the comparisons began. "Mine's better," Lofthouse offered. "Why?" I asked. More than half seriously, he answered, "Because it's mine!" It may seem quirky to Chevy and Ford owners, but Dodge guys really do love their trucks. Even non-Dodge owners can relate to the old Power Wagons, though. They truly transcend brand.
A couple of D100s joined the field. Perhaps the funkiest was a 1971 Sweptline Dude. Yeah, the Dodge Dude. Historically, this may have been a hip moniker, but today it sounds funny. With Don Knotts as the spokesman--well, case closed. Up to 2000 Dude sport trim packages were supposedly produced. This 383 two-barrel version was fresh off an eBay auction. Larry Thomsen brought his classy modified root-beer brown metallic 1960 Sweptline. It's a frame-off resto with a high-performance 1957 Chrysler 392 Hemi powerplant.
Thomsen's D100 is as sanitary as they come, with a pristine engine compartment and classy burlwood interior accents. Steve Stelzle's turquoise 1965 has a different look. The oversized tires, 392 Hemi, and stepside bed gives this pickup a cheerfully menacing appearance. There's no doubt it's capable of rude behavior, but its friendly hue cloaks such rebellion.
The judges, clipboards by their sides, gazed endlessly into each vehicle's mechanical soul. The results were always entertaining, at least for the spectators.
The incredible array of Chrysler products that can be seen at the Spring and Fall Flings is astonishing. There are regulars that display often but the transient vehicles seem neverending and exciting. There's always something new, even from Saturday to Sunday. This event is free to spectators, and Chrysler Performance West does a fine job of keeping it organized. If you're in the southern California area in mid-October or late April, make sure you visit Woodley Park for the Fling of your choice. Visit www.cpwclub.com for more information.