What truly defines a street car? For us, it's a car you can hop in anytime, rain or shine, turn the key, and go nearly anywhere without any worries, on available pump petrol. The whole purpose of the Mopar Muscle True Street Challenge is to shine a light on the cars built by our readership-that is, the street cars built by our readership. While our sister publication Car Craft hosts a similar event, the featured cars are oftentimes purpose-built vehicles for the competition. We're not saying our readers' rides aren't purpose-built machines, but the scope of that other competition is a machine that can "do it all" and is often an overachiever-not necessarily the automotive direction taken by our average reader.
Cookie cutters, slicks, and rollcages that make ingress and egress difficult take away from the concept of streetability and, consequently, cars of this nature usually suffer during the ride-and-drive portion of the competition. Judging by the nature of the entrants we received, Mopar guys like to do the quarter-mile boogie more than carve corners . But we digress, as we've built plenty of cars that follow the path to least resistance in the quarter-mile, and sure, we've claimed they are street cars. After all, it has current license plates and insurance (Tech Ed. Radielovic is guilty of this one).
This year's event was judged in three categories: 1) show and shine, 2) ride and drive, and 3) quarter-mile performance. The show portion of the True Street Challenge (TSC) examined the craftsmanship of each vehicle. We looked at the paint, fit and finish, overall detail, and engineering. Each subcategory was worth up to 10 points, 10 being the highest, with a maximum of 40 points possible. We had two judges for this portion of the competition, each submitting their own judgment.
The ride-and-drive category was broken into three parts worth a possible 10 points, 30 being the maximum possible. When we drove in each competitor's car we looked at comfort, NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness), and ride quality. This is where a purpose-built drag car could get hurt, as truly fast cars often sacrifice ride and manners for speed.
Last, we looked at dragstrip performance. Low e.t. was granted 100 points, while each subsequent slower time was gigged 10 points from 100. In other words, second place received 90 points, third received 80, and so on, with the last one receiving 40 points. We gave each competitor two passes and threw out the slowest.
We've arranged this article in ascending order of placement, so last goes first. Keep in mind, there are no losers in this group. These are all dedicated readers and Mopar fanatics who dragged their individual rides from far and wide to compete in our lunacy. The event was held during the second annual Mopars at the Strip in Las Vegas. If you think your Mopar has what it takes to win the crown, send us some photos and specs. We're looking forward to hearing from you.
Number SevenMerrill CrosbieOgden, UT'72 Plymouth Road runnerMerrill Crosbie of Ogden, Utah, epitomized the True Street nature of this competition. On his tech sheet, he stated emphatically: "I don't own no stinkin' trailer queens!" Merrill has built his '72 Road runner to drive, and drive it he does with a Hot Rod Power Tour under his belt, and a 1,000-mile round trip from Utah to Vegas to make this show. When Merrill was just 16, his first car was a new (!) '72 340-powered Road runner. Having regretted the decision to sell it many years ago, Merrill set out to reproduce the vehicle that, to this day, has provided him the fondest of automotive memories. His search led him to Alabama where this bird was located. He limped it home and the rest, as they say, is history.