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There may be bigger annual gatherings of Slant Sixes, but possibly none better than the one being kept alive by less than a handful of dedicated diehards in the San Francisco area.  To say that these longtime members of the Slant Six Club Of America, South Bay chapter, are loosely organized would be using that term loosely, indeed.  Although no one seems to want to take credit for what’s billed in a photocopied, single-sheet mailer simply as “A Slant Six Gathering,” it’s obvious that all of us might well be spending this September Sunday someplace else, were it not for one guy you’ve heard of and one you probably haven’t. 

Mopar lovers in the San Francisco Bay Area (and beyond) are indebted to John Moran, 82, of the Slant Six Club of America for organizing this annual gathering.  He owns three six-banger models, including the sanitary '64 Valiant convertible he drove to the show from Burlingame, Calif.

Doug Dutra needs no introduction to anyone hereby investing valuable time squinting at this screen to read about an overweight, underpowered engine that went out of production two decades ago (unless you count the Mexican crate motors made available for another four years, until 1990 — for a grand total of 13 million ’n’ change).  I learned a lot during a brief interview of Dutra, after literally waiting in line behind respectful people who sought the master’s advice on all things slanted.  The guy ahead of me went off on a dissertation on valve timing and combustion characteristics like you’d expect to hear in the pits; not in the parking lot of a bankrupt chain store, surrounded by A-bodies ranging in condition from restored to rusted-out.

Nonetheless, Dutra patiently and politely answered questions both technical and dumb (like mine), all the while getting pulled from one engine compartment to another by car owners who’d waited all year for this.  In Slant-Sixland, he is The Man.  Doug is also the club’s regional director, so they know he’s gonna show up every year.

Same for John Moran, without whom those fliers might not get Xeroxed, and labeled, and stamped, and mailed.  He’s the guy who thinks about things like buying insurance and hanging around to clean up the parking lot.  He sweats the little shit that adds up to 100-plus like-minded Mopar nuts pulling into a parking lot again this year (or not).