The thrash to get ready, the plane trips, and the drive across numerous states to Columbus, Ohio, are all part of the yearly routine. Still, as the second weekend in August approached, the staff of Mopar Muscle was just another group of people preparing to make it to the Nats. If you're talking to Mopar people, that means only one thing: the Mopar Nationals, which was in its 21st running in 2001. People come to this event for one reason and for many reasons. Regardless of whether you're there to see the show cars, drag race your toy, chase parts in the swap field, or cruise the night away up on Brice Road in Reynoldsburg, you're there because it's all Mopar... all the time.
We tried to take it all in. Even with a total of eight people doing nothing but covering the event for Mopar Muscle, that was impossible. It's just too big. Stunkard was going in 40 directions at once, realizing that being the editor at the event where a lot of subscribers and advertisers are in attendance can make someone insane. Randy Bolig, staff photographer Chuck James, and art director Bob Stuart were busy shooting drag cars and features for future use. Steve Dulcich and his sidekick, Marco X, hooked up with manufacturers and cruised the swap meet. Publisher Jerry Pitt tried to keep everyone in line and manage the planned Mopar Muscle-sponsored activities (including Young Guns, which will be covered in detail next month).
As always, the cars in the OEM, Survivor display, and show fields were impressive. How many people were awestruck by Matt Delaney's V10 Charger, or the restored, sunroof/radio-delete '70 Charger R/T of Jerry Hubble. Across the track, the cars in the Fun Field were a little more low-key in some regards, but it seemed like everywhere we turned, we had to check out one more.
Of course, there were also the cars for sale as well as the swap meet deals (that always seemed to already be in someone else's hands as they headed for the parking lot); we've heard from some vendors that this year's event was the best ever in terms of both sales and purchases. There was something to fit every need and budget. The full-tilt Manufacturers' Midway had virtually every player in the hot Mopar product business represented, not to mention a contingent of the latest Mopar show vehicles in the Road Show and great cars on display. Attendance was very solid due to the good weather, especially on Saturday, the show's biggest day.
Then there was Brice. Long ago, the police would get real uptight for the event; these days, their primary presence is to keep a lid on things. They won't put up with a lot of misconduct, but the action we saw was primarily directing traffic into ever-narrowing lanes until they had control of the road, which beats dogs and helicopters any day. Nevertheless, our fearless crew got there even earlier than the Man, and we've got photos of smoking tires to prove it.
On the dragstrip, the smell of nitromethane and high-octane fuel was the order of the day during the exhibition runs, while the bracket and special eliminators were full. The Dodge teams of Dean Skuza, Larry Morgan, and David Nickens (Alderman and Osborne) were out for exhibition runs, not to mention a full field of Nostalgia Super Stocks, Quick 16 cars, and hundreds of bracket machines. For those of a more jaded nature, the daily burnout contest offered whatever visceral thrills one didn't get in the evening by the hotel.
Not one of us saw it all, but together we're glad to bring you coverage of this year's spectacle in the Buckeye State. The year 2001 was a Mopar Odyssey, indeed.
2001 Best of Show-Car Jerry...
2001 Best of Show-Car
'70 Charger R/T, 440 4V
2001 Young Guns Award Of Excellence...
2001 Young Guns Award Of Excellence
'71 Challenger, 426 Hemi
The Exhibition Drags Once...
The Exhibition Drags
Once again, exhibition machinery ran the gamut from homebuilt blower cars to Dean Skuza's NHRA nitro Funny Car. For many, though, vehicles like Maverick's Little Red Wagon; Brian Kohlmann's nitro-breathing, altered-wheelbase car; and the Nostalgia Super Stockers were highlights, harkening back to the golden age of drag racing.
2001 Best Of Show-Truck Mike...
2001 Best Of Show-Truck
'91 Dodge Dakota, 440 6V
2001 Mopar Performance Most...
2001 Mopar Performance Most Popular Car
'68 Dodge Charger, V10 Viper
The Burnout Contests The tradition...
The Burnout Contests
The tradition of "smoke 'em if you got 'em" is part of the daily activities of the Nationals until Sunday's race program. Whether sideways in the bleach box, enveloped in smoke, working the angles (note the Daytona driver with a copy of the Nats program), or even blowing tires, the contest is a tribute to the complete disintegration of tread depth. Despite the EPA, it's a keeper.
The Show Swap meet deals,...
Swap meet deals, used cars, Autoknow's model contest, hanging out, and enjoying the event were part of everybody's experience. There was a surprise around every corner, and we have yet to find someone who comes out of Nationals stating the show wasn't all it's supposed to be.
Drag Racing Hundreds of cars...
Hundreds of cars made laps down the dragstrip this year and the variety was endless. From classics to big-horse bracket machinery and everything in between, the roar of Hemis and Wedges (not to mention Vipers and FWD Mopars) was music to the ears of the attendees. Now if we can just get National Trail to install an oval track.
Brice Road The cruising action...
The cruising action of the Mopar Nationals has been strong regardless of where the event has occurred, and Brice Road has become legendary in the 20-plus year history of the event. While we would never advocate anything illegal, obviously, the invading Mopar machines took matters into their own hands. By nightfall, vast numbers of cars and police-mandated travel lanes created massive traffic problems, but the crowds on hand for the activities that occurred got their fill of the action. From musclecars to vans, the smoke was rolling, if only for a while. The occasional GM or Ford that made it through the gaunlet could expect derogatory comments; for the fearless, well, let's just say the police issued a number of citations during the three-day party.
A few more memories from Brice...
A few more memories from Brice Road-Mopar Nationals 2001