Traveling with us were a couple of guys who came all the way out from Auckland, New Zealand, to make the Mopar Nationals. Borrowing a Chevy S-10 in Texas, they had made the run and hooked up with the caravan in Memphis. Even though they were piloting a GM product, we weren't about to argue with that kind of long-distance enthusiasm and let them run with the Mopars. Five miles out of Bowling Green, the Chevy's notoriously weak tranny finally quit, leaving them stranded only hours from the 'Nats. We figured they had suffered enough, having wheeled that Chevy pick-up halfway across the country, so publisher Doug arranged to have the truck towed in and a rental car sent to get them to the event. Get a Mopar next year, fellas.
We pressed on up through Cincinnati, where we met with the supremely far more organized Year One caravan out of Atlanta. Pulling in for fuel, the two groups assembled into a mighty procession of Mopardom, and we were on the road again. The rest of the trip, I left the Prowler to Doug, and swapped driving time with Tech Editor Brad Ocock in the Starcoach-built supercharged Rambunctious Dodge Ram truck. We hit Brice with a mile-long convoy of muscle and filed into a reserved parking lot in the thick of Brice, ready for the action to begin.
Do It All
Robert Long Came, Caravaned, Cruised,And CompetedWhat does the whole 'Nats deal boil down to? For some, it's the main venue to compete for recognition as the owner, builder-or both-of the finest Mopar in the country, bar none. For these guys, it's a mission.
For others it's to shop, and others still, to look, drag, cruise, see, or be seen. Most times, what you get out is what you put in. For the class show competitors, the meaning of this is obvious. For the thousands of others, it can be a little more vague.
Robert Long of Monroe, Louisiana, knows how to get the most from his Mopar. Trekking out from Louisiana in his Sunfire Yellow '66 Satellite, Robert joined the Return To Brice Road II caravan right from the beginning. The basically clean mid-'60s B-Body immediately caught my eye as a real car. You know, the type of car that will take you from Louisiana to Columbus without a hitch, no weeks of preparation, no worry, because you know it'll get you there.
How do you know? Because you drive it every day, it gets you to work, takes you where you need or want to go, and brings you back home again, every time. That it packs an owner-built, budget 440, and turns in low 13s at 108 mph-through the mufflers and fitted with real-world 3.23 gears-makes it all that much sweeter. That Robert built the engine himself is the icing on the cake.
After running the full length to Columbus with the caravan, we parted company with Robert and expected the yellow Satellite to disappear amongst the thousands of Mopars at the 'Nats. That night while checking out the cruise action on Brice, we caught a glimpse of the boxy yellow Satellite and the sound of its big-cammed 440 breathing through two-chamber Flowmasters. Yeah, Robert's '66, making the scene on Brice. No sitting on the sidelines or parking on trailers, it was time to cruise, participate, risk the cops, and enjoy.
On Saturday at the 'Nats it was my turn to catch the action on the dragstrip at National Trail Raceway. We had a job to do. Working my way through the staging lanes, we came upon a now familiar machine-you guessed it, Robert's '66. Drive hundreds of miles with no back-up, and then pound on it on the track; do you have to trust your machine? You bet; but there it was, staging as it has done hundreds of times before, and probably will hundreds of times again. Yeah, Robert knows how to get the most from his Mopar. Do you?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This Virgil Exner-penned '60 Belvedere owned by Al W
In Bowling Green, the Caravan pulled up to Holley. The Holley facility is the largest afte
Modern Muscle? You bet. Robb Herring's '98 Neon R/T looked the part with the sinister hue