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  • Spring Fling XXIII Coverage & Photos: Mopar Gets Respect

Spring Fling XXIII Coverage & Photos: Mopar Gets Respect

The biggest Mopar shows (and swap meets) west of the Mississippi!

Thomas Voehringer
Jun 30, 2009
Photo 2/75   |   group Photo
Owners of older Chrysler products are the Rodney Dangerfields of the auto world--they get no respect. But at this Southern California event, that couldn't be further from the truth. Twice a year, marking the marginal change of SoCal seasons, Chrysler Performance West puts on the biggest Mopar shows (and swap meets) west of the Mississippi--Spring Fling and Fall Fling.
Like most American-made car shows, you'll find the majority of the trucks are in the parking lot or providing a backstop for individuals selling spares in the swap meet area. There is always room reserved for the workhorses, though, and at Chrysler Performance West's Spring Fling, some real beauties were out.
Photo 3/75   |   spring Fling XXIII Swapmeet Stuff
On Saturday, the gates opened at 7 a.m. at Woodley Park in the Sepulveda Basin Recreational Area. The north end of the park is sparsely wooded and was divided into several long rows, each row made up of pairs of vehicles parked back to back. Past a dividing line of concrete picnic tables, the southern half of the park featured a manufacturers midway and used-parts swap meet. The parking lot filled early with hopeful bargain hunters, although even the best deals on old Hemi parts are rarely a bargain.
Photo 4/75   |   1934 Chrysler Imperial Airflow front View
Cars and trucks rolled into the display area and park in a first-come, first-served manner. Saturday's show was casual and not judged, with makes and models scattered all over the grounds.
The majority of models present were post-1964. The economy-minded 1964-1970 Dodge A100, both pickup and van, was the single designation with the most representation. Unlike the 1960s Ford Econoline, the A100 was available with V-8 power. Being so close to Hollywood, famous movie and TV cars (or their clones) often turn out. I was hoping the blue Priceline A100 van would make an appearance, but it didn't. Jay Leno, fresh off his sickbed, did come out, driving his beautiful 1934 Chrysler Imperial Airflow.
Saying an old Chrysler product is unusual would normally be regarded as redundant. But some of this year's attendees were outside the normal custom or resto categories. Richard Beaudoin's weathered 1968 A100 "Lazy Daze" RV is a pretty rare find. The "Lazy Daze" Dodge mini-motorhome features a cooking area, shower, and porta-potty in a manageable 16-foot package.
Photo 5/75   |   Lazy Daze A100 Camper front View
Photo 6/75   |   Lazy Daze A100 Camper emblem View
Photo 7/75   |   Lazy Daze A100 Camper rear View

Photo 8/75   |   1965 Dodge A100 Camper front View
Randy Weller brought a more traditionally prepared green A100 van camper with rollout side canopy, bench seating, table, fridge, and in-door storage areas.
The previous vans traded on their well-worn appearance to add to their vintage creds; not so with this next pickup. The cleanest A100 at the show was a custom owned by Ted LeBaron. His 1969 318-equipped pickup sports a slick pearl white/tangerine paint scheme with rail-mounted polished aluminum tilting surfboard display. The interior continues the two-tone style with added contrasting black/gray buckets with orange piping. Restrained surf-style pinstriping in gray and orange spruce up the hood crease.
Photo 9/75   |   1969 Dodge A100 front View
Photo 10/75   |   1969 Dodge A100 rear View
Photo 11/75   |   1969 Dodge A100 custom Surf Boards

If there were an award for the most esoteric custom, Sherwin Silver's super-modified lime green 1927 Dodge Brothers pickup would own the title. Its transverse-mounted Cadillac Northstar V-8 engine and transaxle is nestled between the rear tires, hidden by a faux bed and tonneau. The underhood area up front houses the brake booster, electronics, and small storage compartment. Judging by spattering of surface rust and road spatter visible on the suspension pieces it appear that Silver actually drives his low-slung pickup. Hooray!
Photo 12/75   |   1927 Dodge Pickup front View
Photo 13/75   |   1927 Dodge Pickup engine View
Photo 14/75   |   1927 Dodge Pickup rear View

Photo 15/75   |   Space Shuttle BBQ front View
Photo 16/75   |   spring Fling XXIII Miscellaneous Crowd Photo
Photo 17/75   |   spring Fling XXIII dodge Motor And Dodge Ram
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.
Photo 18/75   |   1946 Dodge Power Wagon front View
Photo 19/75   |   1946 Dodge Power Wagon engine
Photo 20/75   |   1946 Dodge Power Wagon rear View

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.
Photo 21/75   |   1978 Dodge D200 SE Longbed Drewcab front View
Photo 22/75   |   1975 Dodge Ramcharger 4x4 front View
Photo 23/75   |   2007 Dodge Ram 1500 Mega front View

Photo 24/75   |   1966 Dodge D100 Pickup front View
Photo 25/75   |   1966 Dodge D100 Pickup rear View
Photo 26/75   |   1966 Dodge D100 Pickup engine View

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.
Photo 27/75   |   1946 Dodge Power Wagon front View
Photo 28/75   |   1946 Dodge Power Wagon engine View
Photo 29/75   |   1946 Dodge Power Wagon bed View

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.
Photo 30/75   |   1971 Dodge Sweptline Dude front View
Photo 31/75   |   1971 Dodge Sweptline Dude rear View
Photo 32/75   |   1971 Dodge Sweptline Dude story Board

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.
Photo 33/75   |   1960 Dodge D100 Sweptline front View
Photo 34/75   |   1960 Dodge D100 Sweptline engine View
Photo 35/75   |   1960 Dodge D100 Sweptline interior View

Photo 36/75   |   1965 Dodge D100 front View
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 for more information.
Photo 37/75   |   spring Fling XXIII Swapmeet And Dodge Ram
Photo 38/75   |   spring Fling XXIII dodge Dakota And Viper
Photo 39/75   |   spring Fling XXIII Miscellaneous Swapmeet Gear

Photo 40/75   |   spring Fling XXIII Miscellaneous Truck Toys
Photo 41/75   |   spring Fling XXIII Swapmeet Stuff
Photo 42/75   |   spring Fling XXIII Swapmeet Jeep

Photo 43/75   |   spring Fling XXIII dodge Pickup In The Parking Lot
Photo 44/75   |   spring Fling XXIII dodge Pickup In The Parking Lot
Photo 45/75   |   spring Fling XXIII dodge Pickup In The Parking Lot

Photo 46/75   |   spring Fling XXIII dodge In The Parking Lot
Photo 47/75   |   1965 Dodge Power Wagon W100 4x4 front View
Photo 48/75   |   1965 Dodge Power Wagon W100 4x4 hood Emblem

Photo 49/75   |   2006 Dodge Ram SRT10 Viper Truck front View
Photo 50/75   |   2006 Dodge Ram SRT10 Viper Truck door Handle
Photo 51/75   |   2006 Dodge Ram SRT10 Viper Truck rear View

Photo 52/75   |   1993 Dodge Ram 250 rear View
Photo 53/75   |   1964 Dodge A100 US Navy From Point Mugu front View
Photo 54/75   |   1999 Dodge RavoVan front View

Photo 55/75   |   1957 Dodge Sierra Wagon rear View
Photo 56/75   |   2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 front View
Photo 57/75   |   1986 Chrysler Town And Country Wagon front View

Photo 58/75   |   1952 Dodge Pickup front View
Photo 59/75   |   1952 Dodge Pickup emblem And Paint Detail
Photo 60/75   |   1952 Dodge Pickup rear View

Photo 61/75   |   1935 Dodge Pickup front View
Photo 62/75   |   1935 Dodge Pickup hood Details
Photo 63/75   |   1935 Dodge Pickup hood Emblem

Photo 64/75   |   1955 Dodge Sierra Station Wagon front View
Photo 65/75   |   1967 Custom Dodge A100 front View
Photo 66/75   |   1950 Chrysler Royal Woodie Wagon front View

Photo 67/75   |   Valley Fire Dodge Pickup front View
Photo 68/75   |   Valley Fire Dodge Pickup rear View
Photo 69/75   |   lifted Truck front View

Photo 70/75   |   1947 Chrysler Town And Country front View
Photo 71/75   |   1947 Chrysler Town And Country inteiror View
Photo 72/75   |   1947 Chrysler Town And Country tail Light View

Photo 73/75   |   dodge Dakota front View
Photo 74/75   |   dodge Dakota RT front View
Photo 75/75   |   1971 Dodge Sweptline Dude logo



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