MoPar Nats 2021

Devinism

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I don't see much chatter about this.

I've never been, and wondering if it's going to be worth the 10hr drive from OK to be a 'professional' spectator? The Carlisle trip was definitely an experience!

Any thoughts?
 

mobileparts

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No.
The Mopar Nats was the premier Mopar event many years ago, when Carlisle was still a fledgling show.
In the 29 years since the hey day of the Mopar Nationals,
It has gotten smaller and smaller --- and has become barely more than a local little venue....
While Carlisle has grown exponentially to become the number # 1 MOPAR event in the Universe....

I vended at the Mopar Nationals for 21 straight years, and the first 15 were good, and then there was a progressive fall off... many who left preceded me....
I have blown it off now for the last 7, soon to be 8 years...
If I lived just 2 or 3 hours away, I would probably still be doing it, to tell you the truth...
But, I am 15 hours away, and sales don't justify what it costs to get there and do the show...

Go at your own choice, but prepare to be disappointed...
Carlisle is now fifty (50) times stronger than the Nats....
 

70bigblockdodge

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Carlisle is a different experience. Huge swapmeet a total immersion in all things Mopar except drag racing. The nats is not that, it's very cool, and has drag racing. The funfield/ showfield is unorganized, you park with friends.
Craig is right, it has changed/smaller, still a good party. The track had not kept up with the times, it is improving again with new owners. IMO they need to move the spectating closer to surface since they do not have a national event anymore, that's just a pet peeves of mine.
 
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CBODY67

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When the Mopar Nats were going well, it was THE premier Mopar event. The first time I went, it was at National Trails, that was in about 1988 and I only missed about 3 years total with the last time in 2005. I used it as a "Get out of town" and "Recharge my Mopar battery" event. I would go up on Wednesday and ensure the accomodations for the rest of our Mopar club for Thursday and leaving on Sunday. Most of us flew in and rented the allegedly requisite Chrysler products.

That first year, I was totally amazed at what was there. I saw cars and colors that I'd only seen in sales brochures. It was "heaven". One of the best things was that although we were at a race track, I didn't hear ONE Chevy owner blip the throttle to clear things out. LOL.

As the event grew, it quickly outgrew the National Trails location, so it moved to the NHRA track just west of Indy. New venue, different cars. But things in Indy didn't go too well for the first couple of years, with the law enforcement operatives, but that's another story I had a ring-side seat for.

By the third year, things got really good, though. Then word came out that National Trails had expanded their property and that was where things were going back to.

In addition to the Concours Judging by acknowledged Mopar experts, I was totally amazed at the then-new "Young Guns" class and what it had in it. One auto shop class suicide-doored a Plymouth Accliam, with complete custom paint and interior. I was completely amazed at what they'd done and how well it was done.

During the later times of when I was going, the Carlisle Events group started their Mopar meet. A different demographic and different cars, as a result. They had some good reviews, but I could not afford to do both of them. Tended to be more C-bodies at the Carlisle show, it seemed, fwiw.

Since 2005, several of the "top restoration vendors" that were at Mopar Nats have retired and/or passed on, as I recall. Or they sold the business and things never got back to where they were before, it seems. But, too, those earlier times were growing times for Chrysler and the event. Now that things have stabilized a bit, in the parts markets and such, far too easy to just call somebody rather than go to the show for a special deal on what you might need.

One of the most interesting times was just after the LH cars went into production. About 15 Chrysler dealers and their families/guests drove onto the show area with their (what I called Kacki Pearl Mica) New Yorkers, initially believing THEY would be the only ones there in a new LH New Yorker. Were they ever wrong! I wondered if the intial batch of NYers were that color?

But when a group of New Yorkers and LHS drove in and parked together, they youngish males in those cars were immediately celebrities at a news conference (of sorts) and THEY were the center of attention. The "Chrysler Engineering" polo shirts they had on probably had something to do with that, I suspect. They were not expecting to be swamped with questions about the new LH cars. It was definitely a "friendly mob"!

It was an observation that these events would usually draw from the surrounding 5 states, although there was a strong E-body group from NJ at that first year at Indy.

Of course, there was the Chrysler Presence there, too. We got to see a Viper up close and personal one year. Later, the Magnum and next-edition Viper. There was an annual Mopar Performance Seminar led by Larry Sheppard. Attendees asked questions and he answered. One year Hughes Engines was there with their then-new quench dome pistons, which made a 906 head into an effective closed chamber head. Their presence there that year put Hughes on the Mopar Map.

But the ONE thing that really impressed me about Mopar Nats was the very evident cross-generational appeal of the event. One day, one year, I went to the convenience store at the end of the drag strip. A high school guy was using a beam torque wrench to put slicks on the front of his fwd car. As his father watched to make sure he did the torque sequence correctly, with grand-father smiling as he also watched.

Then, a few years later, after the Viper Tent was expanded, a grand-mother held her grand-baby as his parents were off on the field looking at cars. Never did see that at any other car event! Made me smile just as the grand-mother was smiling.

One neat thing was watching the turbo fwd cars (in various stages of tune) knock of 13 second ETs in the 1/4 mile and NOT sound like "a p'd off weedwhacker" doing it. Or the Plymouth minivan with slicks on the front, on a trailer going to the track one day.

Those were the great times! Several of our group would buy a swap meet space where we'd park our rent car on, so it was accessible as a base of operations. Later, I started parking in spectator parking across the road, which was a car show in itself.

ONE thing about it, you needed to be in good physical and cardiovascular shape to walk the whole thing each day. Searching for parts in the swap meet area, looking at cars each day, or being amazed at what rusty shells were going for. And, of course, taking about 8 rolls of film! One year, I took several rolls of film on Little Red Express Trucks (including the Canadian "Unleaded Fuel Only" decals).

IF you've never been to any similar event (like about 10 times larger than any Super Chevy Sunday I'd been to in TX) even if the current Nats is not quite as large as it used to be, I'd suggest you start there and see what you like or don't like. But plan for next year as I highly suspect that lodging accomodations are already very tight, if not already "full" at this point in time. Back then, it seemed that that ONE event's attendance tended to strain the hotels in a 70 mile radius of the track, back then. Once we found a good place, we'd make reservations as soon as we could, or at least get on a waiting list for the next year for when we could make reservations for the next year.

That last year, 2005, my rent car was a Black Charger R/T from Thrifty. Back in the days of "That thing got a Hemi in it?" It DID! I'd reserved a normal rent car, but when the agent at the desk asked if I would like to upgrade to the Charger R/T. It was EASY to say "Do it". We both smiled!

Enjoy!
CBODY67
 

furious70

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Haven't been in years, but Brice road in it's heyday was a lot of fun to park to take it all in at. The heath cruise was also pretty good. And then the racing of course. Much more than a show or swap meet when at it's best
 

jollyjoker

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It's convenient for me, and I've been there every year since 2001. Not as big as it once was, but I have noticed an improvement and mild increase in vendors in the past 2-3 years. My attitude has been that I try to support as many of these events as possible. We're all getting older, and sadly a lot of the people who were "big" in the hobby are gone. The internet has had a huge effect - for better and worse. You can find all of the parts you need at a click of a button. But, personally, I enjoy getting out, driving, meeting people, and haggling down to the last dollar for that part that I don't really need! Just my thoughts. Hope to see you there . . . !
 

detmatt

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When the Mopar Nats were going well, it was THE premier Mopar event. The first time I went, it was at National Trails, that was in about 1988 and I only missed about 3 years total with the last time in 2005. I used it as a "Get out of town" and "Recharge my Mopar battery" event. I would go up on Wednesday and ensure the accomodations for the rest of our Mopar club for Thursday and leaving on Sunday. Most of us flew in and rented the allegedly requisite Chrysler products.

That first year, I was totally amazed at what was there. I saw cars and colors that I'd only seen in sales brochures. It was "heaven". One of the best things was that although we were at a race track, I didn't hear ONE Chevy owner blip the throttle to clear things out. LOL.

As the event grew, it quickly outgrew the National Trails location, so it moved to the NHRA track just west of Indy. New venue, different cars. But things in Indy didn't go too well for the first couple of years, with the law enforcement operatives, but that's another story I had a ring-side seat for.

By the third year, things got really good, though. Then word came out that National Trails had expanded their property and that was where things were going back to.

In addition to the Concours Judging by acknowledged Mopar experts, I was totally amazed at the then-new "Young Guns" class and what it had in it. One auto shop class suicide-doored a Plymouth Accliam, with complete custom paint and interior. I was completely amazed at what they'd done and how well it was done.

During the later times of when I was going, the Carlisle Events group started their Mopar meet. A different demographic and different cars, as a result. They had some good reviews, but I could not afford to do both of them. Tended to be more C-bodies at the Carlisle show, it seemed, fwiw.

Since 2005, several of the "top restoration vendors" that were at Mopar Nats have retired and/or passed on, as I recall. Or they sold the business and things never got back to where they were before, it seems. But, too, those earlier times were growing times for Chrysler and the event. Now that things have stabilized a bit, in the parts markets and such, far too easy to just call somebody rather than go to the show for a special deal on what you might need.

One of the most interesting times was just after the LH cars went into production. About 15 Chrysler dealers and their families/guests drove onto the show area with their (what I called Kacki Pearl Mica) New Yorkers, initially believing THEY would be the only ones there in a new LH New Yorker. Were they ever wrong! I wondered if the intial batch of NYers were that color?

But when a group of New Yorkers and LHS drove in and parked together, they youngish males in those cars were immediately celebrities at a news conference (of sorts) and THEY were the center of attention. The "Chrysler Engineering" polo shirts they had on probably had something to do with that, I suspect. They were not expecting to be swamped with questions about the new LH cars. It was definitely a "friendly mob"!

It was an observation that these events would usually draw from the surrounding 5 states, although there was a strong E-body group from NJ at that first year at Indy.

Of course, there was the Chrysler Presence there, too. We got to see a Viper up close and personal one year. Later, the Magnum and next-edition Viper. There was an annual Mopar Performance Seminar led by Larry Sheppard. Attendees asked questions and he answered. One year Hughes Engines was there with their then-new quench dome pistons, which made a 906 head into an effective closed chamber head. Their presence there that year put Hughes on the Mopar Map.

But the ONE thing that really impressed me about Mopar Nats was the very evident cross-generational appeal of the event. One day, one year, I went to the convenience store at the end of the drag strip. A high school guy was using a beam torque wrench to put slicks on the front of his fwd car. As his father watched to make sure he did the torque sequence correctly, with grand-father smiling as he also watched.

Then, a few years later, after the Viper Tent was expanded, a grand-mother held her grand-baby as his parents were off on the field looking at cars. Never did see that at any other car event! Made me smile just as the grand-mother was smiling.

One neat thing was watching the turbo fwd cars (in various stages of tune) knock of 13 second ETs in the 1/4 mile and NOT sound like "a p'd off weedwhacker" doing it. Or the Plymouth minivan with slicks on the front, on a trailer going to the track one day.

Those were the great times! Several of our group would buy a swap meet space where we'd park our rent car on, so it was accessible as a base of operations. Later, I started parking in spectator parking across the road, which was a car show in itself.

ONE thing about it, you needed to be in good physical and cardiovascular shape to walk the whole thing each day. Searching for parts in the swap meet area, looking at cars each day, or being amazed at what rusty shells were going for. And, of course, taking about 8 rolls of film! One year, I took several rolls of film on Little Red Express Trucks (including the Canadian "Unleaded Fuel Only" decals).

IF you've never been to any similar event (like about 10 times larger than any Super Chevy Sunday I'd been to in TX) even if the current Nats is not quite as large as it used to be, I'd suggest you start there and see what you like or don't like. But plan for next year as I highly suspect that lodging accomodations are already very tight, if not already "full" at this point in time. Back then, it seemed that that ONE event's attendance tended to strain the hotels in a 70 mile radius of the track, back then. Once we found a good place, we'd make reservations as soon as we could, or at least get on a waiting list for the next year for when we could make reservations for the next year.

That last year, 2005, my rent car was a Black Charger R/T from Thrifty. Back in the days of "That thing got a Hemi in it?" It DID! I'd reserved a normal rent car, but when the agent at the desk asked if I would like to upgrade to the Charger R/T. It was EASY to say "Do it". We both smiled!

Enjoy!
CBODY67
You didn’t go the year it was at Milan Dragway in Michigan?
I love the Nat’s and will be there again this year.
 

patrick66

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I had the desire, but not the cash or time (deployed what seemed like 50/52 weeks per year!) in the early '80s. After about 1995 or so, my desire to attend just dropped. I've been to several of the Car Craft Nationals and the NSRA Street Rod Nats, and had a great time each time.

Next year, assuming we all haven't died of (insert your favorite plague here), I plan to attend Carlisle...hopefully driving either the Coronet or the Imperial.
 

live4theking

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I went to the Nats several time in the mid 90's and while I enjoyed it I prefer Carlisle. Carlisle is so much more organized.

Interestingly I ended up talking to the owner of Carlisle on Sunday this year. He got to talking about the different shows and shared that Chrysler show is the most family oriented and friendly of all of their shows. By this he meant the people attending the show are more families, treat each other better and is an overly friendlier crowd of folks.
 

mobileparts

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I truly wish it were closer... As great as it WAS, sadly, it is not any longer...
As I had said above, if it were closer, or I found an alternative to make the cost of getting there considerably less. I WOULD STILL be doing the Nats to this day...

Give me a MOPAR show to do, and I am there...With my tremendous array of parts, and still growing !!! As many of you have seen, and purchased (thank you..) through the years, much of my wares are U.S.A., N.O.S. & O.E.M.
--- and you can't just "click" and "put in cart"....

I actually became good friends with the people who run the Mopar Nationals --- we had some great conversations--- and I met lots of great people there in the 21 years I was there... A lot about that show, I do miss...

But the bottom line is: Carlisle, yes, of course, I am there
Wednesday through Sunday, 4 1/2 full days!!!
The Mopar Nationals --- sorry, not any more...
 

CBODY67

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In the K-car era, a white Dodge 400 convertible was shown "under construction" one year and then "finished" at another meet. Full rwd conversion with a stout 440 in front. Then there was the silver LHS with two 3.5L power trains, one front and one in the back seat. Looked stock on the outside until you openned the back door and saw a rear seat that was not quite a foot wide on each side, with a carpeted hump between them.

Was the Milan dragstrip event after the first Indy event that was at the Indy 500 race track?

One of our Mopar club guys had a correctly restored '70 Challenger R/T 440 4-spd (CA emissions) that came in 3rd in the judging because there was dust on some wires under the dash. That was the first one of our members who took a car up there for judging. After that year, it seemed that one of our guys had a restored car up there for judging every other year, receiving trophies, too. The last one was a '69 Dodge Daytona in 1993, as I recall.

Great cars, great people, great manufacturers' midway (to see all of the parts up close and person that you'd seen ads for in the major Mopar magazines of the time), usually great weather, too. Definitely was stress relief and recharged my Mopar battery for another year!

Enjoy!
CBODY67
 

Zymurgy

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Looking forward to it this year, especially since it was canceled last year. Goldie and I will be there. Dave always has extra room around his tents to squeeze me in. :)

Matt looking forward to seeing you too.
 

70bigblockdodge

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Yes, the Charger.
It's some squeezing to get that big gold car in, but it always draws the lookers.
I'm trying to get my B.I.L. to bring a car, but it is supposed to be hot so he probably will not. Another friend will be racing so I'm not sure where he will set up. I'm glad it's back on this year, last year sucked, thank God Carlisle happened or it would have been miserable.
See you in usual area Mike.
 

mobileparts

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Hey, you men, as long as this thread is started, give us a report of what the show / the swap meet / etc., etc., is
happening....

I sincerely hope it has taken a turn for the better... Maybe it can be built back up ....

I am at Macungie, this weekend, at Das Awkscht Fecht,
And so far, every show I have done this spring and summer has had biggest and best attendance in 10 years
(Everyone is itchy to get out, go to a show, and return to a normalcy of LIFE !!!)
We will see whether this weekend, here, continues that trend, because this show has been on the decline for a while....

Everyone who goes to the Mopar Nationals. I truly hope you all have a great time..... Yours, Craig.....
 
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