The group of five pre-registered Muscle Mopars swelled to 19 vehicles on Thursday morning, August 12th. By 10:30, the parking lot at Mancini Racing in Frasier, Michigan, looked like a miniature Mopar show, buzzing with drivers, riders, and its own share of people who dropped by to gaze at the assorted Hemis, Six Packs, and AARs. Of course, our DaimlerChrysler-supplied, MSX-delivered, purple Prowler attracted its share of attention, parked beside the Mopar Performance tent.
As participants prepared to leave, a vacation atmosphere filled the air for the one day "Return To Brice Road II" caravan to Columbus. Everybody was happy to be gathered together in our favorite cars for a leisurely five hour cruise to Columbus and the 'Nats.
Tim and Annie Mott from Kalamazoo, Michigan, helped us plot our course along the freeways of Detroit and on to Ohio. They participated last year and knew the route well. Tim drove his new Dodge pickup,pulling an enclosed trailer housing their '70 Hemi Challenger. Anne and I communicated by walkie-talkies-me in my Prowler (with assorted drivers) as we tried to keep our caravan close together and in one piece.
Our goal was to have fun driving our cars. As we exited the parking lot, we all agreed to stop for gas in about 75 miles. Sometimes, too much planning can spoil your fun-hitting the open road requires a little bit of wanderlust and a roll of the dice.
Our roll came up seven on our first stop. Our whole entourage made it-even the Moparilac. (What's a Moparilac? It's a Cadillac with an owner who wants to go to the Mopar Nationals so much, he drives a Coupe De Ville and tapes a Mopar Muscle plastic tag inside his window.)
Our first leisurely stop was followed by another, but all was not perfection. On our first leg, our average speed had been a little too fast for some of the drag-race style Mopars with digger gears. We agreed to slow it down to an acceptable pace of 60-65 mph. After all, we were in no hurry.
On our next stop, at a rest area on the side of the interstate, everybody was in a much more relaxed state of mind. Getting away from it all does that to you. Chris Thomas, driving his '70 Challenger T/A, mentioned, "I think the second segment was a lot more fun cause you could drive your cars without trying to just catch up."
For those of you who haven't driven Detroit, let me say the cars there go about as fast as anywhere in the world, especially in mid-afternoon, when the freeways are not jam packed. As we got onto the interstate in Ohio, the traffic thinned out and the rural scenery made the trip very enjoyable.
"Did you see that group from Canada come by?" somebody asked at the rest stop. To be honest, I had "missed" them in my mind, but not in my camera. As Kyle drove the Prowler, I took pictures of a Lime 'Cuda with a Shaker and a purple Challenger convertible. A whole group of them shot by us.
We arrived in Columbus during the five o'clock rush hour on I-70, all of which seemed headed for the Brice Road turnoff. For the first time, our caravan was severely broken up. In five minutes, however, we were back together at our rendezvous point in the parking lot on Brice Road, mission accomplished.
Boy RacerKyle Oberlee and his '89 Dodge Shelby DaytonaHow familiar is this story? Boy buys car. Boy races car. Boy has fun with car. Car becomes collectible and goes up in value. Boy won't sell car because he likes it too much.
For Kyle Oberlee, this story is in progress. He's owned his '89 Daytona Shelby since 1995. Like other car people, he bought his Dodge for fun driving, including drag racing. He knows he owns a rare, high-performance specialty Dodge with the Carroll Shelby name and logo. At the present time, he doesn't know exactly how rare it is. "I've heard anywhere from 900 to 1,600," says Kyle.
For right now, rarity and future value and all that collector stuff isn't what is important for Kyle. What he likes most is getting his Daytona out on the dragstrip, where it will surprise many big blocks. Would you believe this baby runs low 13-second e.t.s in the quarter mile at 106 miles per hour? Yet, with the 5-speed tranny, it is still a great cruiser on the highway, no sweat about digger gears, plus the '89 isn't too shabby on fuel economy either.
You might say Kyle, who is 20-years-old and going to tech school, represents many of the latest generation Mopar people. He likes these front wheel drive Shelbys and anything Mopar. "I'm a Mopar fan," says Kyle, which includes just about any model year with performance.
"I'd like to have other Mopars. I've owned others ones, but right now this is the fun one to have."