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John Force’s headquarters parking lot was full of magical Mopar metal.

Labor Day Weekend 2008

Most Labor Day weekends you’re most likely find me at one of the biggest drag races in the United States, the NHRA U.S. Nationals, but this year due to my cash flow I was going to stay at home. I guess I could have driven out to Auto Club Speedway for the Pepsi 500... Nope, it’s better to watch those guys going around the track 250 times from home, plus the traffic getting in and out, and fighting the gridlock...

No, I was going to spend my nice four-day weekend lying by the pool and grilling. But I had to answer my phone when Darr Hawthorne called me and asked, “Hey James could you do me a favor? There’s a Mopar car show at John Force’s shop this weekend.” Cool! I was going to Indy until the other shoe dropped, and the Race Station car show was a special get together for the SoCal Inland Valley Mopar Club in Yorba Linda.

Well, I called a buddy to see if he would go with me. He said, “James you know I want to but I will be out at the Orange County fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.” I forgot that he takes his hot rod out every year to the annual Labor Day Cruise. In the eight years of knowing my friend, I myself have never seen his ‘38 Ford Panel move. He then asks me if I want to go to the cruise with him Saturday morning, since he’s going out for about five hours before coming home to get his house and the food ready for a barbeque he is having with some hot rod friends with, I’m sure, a few bottles of wine. So what’s a few extra miles of walking on my feet before going over to Force’s Race Station Mopar event?

As seems to be the case at every car show or cruise I go to, you just don’t see the Mopars outnumbering the other car brands, and at the OC this was the case. But I did see at least twenty-five Mopars while walking around and driving in and out of the fairgrounds.
There were five or six coupes with Hemi power and a dozen Barracudas. One of the first cars I came across was Kevin Williams’ beautiful red 1964 Plymouth Belvedere with a 426 wedge motor, then a ‘31 Ford coupe belonging to Robert Markworth of Fullerton, Calif., which included trick electronic fuel injection. The next Mopar power plant was in a ‘32 Ford, and it was super clean and done in a dark metallic brown color. He had a 392 with a set of hot heads and one of their aluminum four barrel manifolds; something I really liked about this hot rod was the brace of four gauges that owner Cliff Lewis mounted on the firewall facing the motor.

Eric Kimblo’s ’63 Sport Fury, sporting a 413 Cross-Ram engine, was seen at the Costa Mesa show.

The MM staff loved this 38 Plymouth Coupe. Flames are just cool! That had better be a Mopar powerplant under the hood.