This summer, on one beautiful sunny Sunday, my group ran a motorcycle and classic car poker run for charity. The run wound its way through the beautiful Dufferin County countryside for approximately 350 kilometers. We were joined by our local Mopar Cruisers, classic car club, whose members arrived with a roar, in a stunning array of restored, classic, Chrysler beauties. The clubs cars ranged in model years from the mid sixties through the seventies; including a couple of 440 Chargers, a Dodge 408 Swinger and a 340 Dodge Challenger. Note, The famous big block 440 and 426 Hemi CID, V8 engines, were Chryslers answer to the muscle car wars that were being hotly contested by the big three auto makers in the mid 60’s and early 70’s.
While I was taking in this breath taking Mopar line up, Wayne, the Swinger owner asked me, “how far and where were we going”?
I asked him; “why he needed to know, was he concerned about a breakdown”? Wayne said with a grin, “hell no, we need to plan our fuel stops”.
Some of clubs rides were souped up beyond stock and you could hear the big roar and rumble of the motors, interspersed with that beautiful, hot cam, rough idle, crackle, heard through custom headers, dumps and strait through mufflers. Music to a “gear head” like me! Wayne’s stroked Swinger was reportedly getting less than 5 miles per gal, (1.77 Km/L) yikes! Finding fuel stops on the run was indeed an issue and not just any fuel, he had to know where to get 94 high octane to boot!
So, what’s the allure of a car club today? To find out I met with the guy’s at the famous, Muddy Water Hotel in Beeton to ask them.
The members all hale from Tottenham and surrounding area and I was surprised to see so many Mopar classics in this small village club! Steve said; “we met through friends and by stopping to chat on the road while “Cruising the local hot car hangouts”. Hot car spots are springing up across Ontario, attracting enthusiast from far and wide. Tom said; “this is a great way for car owners to network and show off their rides”, “they also enjoy great camaraderie, attending many car social and charity events in Ontario and the USA throughout the year with their families”.
Today, clubs are on the rebound, supported by an expanding network of aftermarket parts manufacturers and suppliers. Experienced club members offer expertise, and share tools for budding restorer members and everyone enjoys the social aspect of club activities. Restoring classic cars takes money and I asked the guy’s, “how they manage the additional expense”? Bar none, all said with a chuckle; “very carefully, with a very understanding and supportive wife”! Wayne said; “the average prices for some of these beauties when new was around $2,300, today it’s not hard to sink up to $20 thousand into a restoration”. “We’re in it for the love, not the money” said Ron! On the plus side, some restored muscle cars can go for as high as $100,000, now that’s a good investment in today’s market!
Written by Alan Masters