Competitors in the True Street...
Competitors in the True Street Challenge had special reserved parking at the show entrance and drew quite a crowd. This show is the second largest Mopar event that we know of (next to the Mopar Nationals), with showing, racing, and a swap meet all in one location and gets bigger every year.
The first step in our challenge...
The first step in our challenge was to fill all the cars with pump fuel before driving them some 22 miles through the hot Nevada desert. All the entrants completed this portion of the challenge without any breakdowns or overheating-a testament to the streetability demonstrated by these vehicles.
I rode shotgun in each car...
I rode shotgun in each car during the driving portion of the competition to evaluate the road manners of each vehicle. Judging by my smile, you can tell I love my job, and, no, Mopar Muscle isn't taking applications at this time.
If you haven't followed the True Street Challenge that we host at the annual Mopars at the Strip show in Las Vegas, let us get you up to speed. The basis of this challenge is easy: take eight cool Mopars, fill them with pump fuel, drive them on the street under the hot desert sun, then run them down the racetrack to get some timeslips. We like to think of it as a real world test of cars that are built to be driven in the real world. The cars are judged not only on their appearance, but on their functionality, streetability, and performance as well. Points are awarded in each category, and the car that accumulates the highest combined score will ultimately win the True Street Challenge.
Don't be fooled by other competitions of so-called "street cars" that pit questionably street legal race machines against each other at the drag strip, allowing racing slicks, large doses of nitrous oxide and race fuel. While we do appreciate the fun that a converted full tube chassis race car can offer on the street, the practicality of such a car really makes it unreasonable to classify it as a street car. Our contest is geared more toward cars that are driven on a regular basis, cars that can carry four people out to dinner in relative comfort as well as smoke the kid in his Mustang from a stop light along the way. The cars must wear DOT-approved rubber and run on no higher than 93-octane pump fuel without overheating. The street driving part of the contest is not just a jaunt down a county road; it's a grueling 22-mile drive through a combination of back roads, interstate, and stop lights in the hot desert sun, which tests each car's street manners as well as their cooling systems.
Each year since we started the True Street Challenge we get an ever-increasing number of applications. This year was no exception, and it was hard for us to pick just eight competitors. If you sent in an application and weren't picked, don't be discouraged, next year may be your year. This year we tried to again show a variety of cars in our challenge with early and late-model A-, B-, E-, and even a C-Body. Big-blocks and automatics were the norm this year, although we did have one Hemi four-speed competitor in the challenge, as well as one car powered by a Slant Six. Unfortunately, only seven of the eight competitors were able to make the challenge this year because the eighth suffered engine damage just days before the show that couldn't be repaired in time. Our other seven competitors not only made the competition, but survived to be driven home as well. These cars were good looking, fun to drive, and quick (one entrant even dipped into the tens).
Judging was close-only one point separated first and second place and the entire field was within twelve points of each other. Mark Bastemeyer took top honors this year with his immaculate '64 Fury, but we would be happy to have any of these cars parked in our garage. The competition was fun and friendly, and everyone had a great time running their cars down the quarter-mile.
Follow along as we look at each car in-depth and find out what it takes to compete in the True Street Challenge.