Mopar show ’n’ shine double-header in Albury-Wodonga

The cancellation of Chryslers On The Murray didn’t deter the Mopar faithful from making their annual border pilgrimage for an unofficial show ’n’ shine weekend

Photographers: Steve Titcumb, Luke Hunter

Hundreds of Mopars rolled into Albury-Wodonga over the weekend of 19-20 March for two show ’n’ shines at local watering holes – the Kinross Woolshed on the Saturday and the Ettamogah Pub on the Sunday.

With the annual Chryslers On The Murray show that was originally planned for the weekend cancelled late last year due to COVID concerns, many still made the trip to the border region to catch up with friends and fellow Mopar enthusiasts from around the country.

Members of the local Chrysler community teamed up with the two venues to put on the unofficial show ’n’ shines, providing a convenient meeting place each day and somewhere to sit down for a quiet beer and a good old-fashioned pub feed.

Here are some of the finest Pentastars that caught our eye across the weekend.

1. Brian Dowell drove his immaculate 1970 Dodge Charger 500 up from Melbourne for the weekend. What started out as a basket-case has now been transformed by Brian into an awesome retro build with a late-model 6.1-litre

Hemi powerplant, air conditioning, power steering and cruise control. “The body was a mess; 20 years ago you would have just scrapped it, it was so bad,” Brian said. “But with all the new panels available for them these days, I was able to save it.

The two doors and one guard are the only original panels left. The motor and gearbox are out of a wrecked SRT, and the custom-trimmed interior has BA Falcon bucket seats with the original Dodge headrest adapted to them.”

2. Theo Diamond’s VH Charger has just hit the road after a 12-year build. It’s packing a twin-turbo 383ci Mopar mill, backed by a Powerglide and a four-linked nine-inch rear end.

“The engine is a Mopar R3 block with a Callies crank and Carrillo rods, the heads are W9s and the turbos are GT35/82s,” Theo said. “It’s currently only running 10lb of boost on 98-octane pump fuel, but I have an E10 carby set-up that I can change it over to if I want.”

Theo is keen to get the Charger to the strip for some quarter-mile action in the near future, so a full rollcage has also been fitted.

3. Brisbane’s Mark and Emma Sauer are currently touring the south coast of Australia in style in their 1980 Dodge Sportsman ‘Lazy Daze’ camper. “It drinks a fair bit of fuel, as it runs a 360ci V8 and 727 auto, so it loves a servo, and we’ve had to make plenty of stops along the way,” Mark laughed.

“It’s the first time we’ve taken it to a show, and we’re a bit surprised at all the attention it’s getting. I’d actually like to paint it, but everyone keeps telling me to keep it original and leave the patina.”

The Californian-built camper is in very original condition, and the interior screams 1980s, with woodgrain panelling throughout. Emma even tracked down some 80s Tupperware to keep with the theme when the camper is on display.

4. Paul and Suzanne James drove their 1977 CL Charger 770 down from Newcastle. “We’ve been coming here for Chryslers On The Murray for 12 years now,” Paul said. “We usually bring our VG Pacer, so this is the first year down here with the Charger.

“It’s all original except for the wheels, and it was given a paintjob a few years ago,” he continued. “The interior is untouched; the original owner ordered it with lambswool seat covers, so they were protected and not worn like most are.

“All we’ve really done to it is tidy it up a bit and perfected a few bits a pieces. I put the side stripes back on, as they weren’t put back when the previous owner had it painted, and we added the rear venetian so it’s a bit more comfortable when the grandkids are in the back.”

5. Marty Robinson’s 1958 Plymouth Belvedere four-door hardtop is a rare factory right-hand-drive car built for the Australian market. “They only brought a couple of hundred of them out here to sell,” Marty explained.

“It was originally sold new in Tamworth, which is where I got it from back in 1992. I did a full rebuild on it and got it on the road and registered in 1994,” Marty continued. “We’ve been cruising it ever since, and it’s actually done over 40,000 miles since that resto.

“It’s all stock apart from a set of Ford EA Falcon disc brakes that I’ve fitted to the front.”

6. Wally King’s 1970 Dodge Charger is a matching-numbers, 440ci Magnum-powered beast, ordered from the factory with air con and a vinyl roof in rare optional ‘Gator Grain’.

“It’s had a full-nut and-bolt restoration,” Wally said. “The body was in great condition, so it still has all its original panels. It’s been repainted in the original F8 green, and the motor was just tidied up while it was out; it’s never been apart in its life.”

7. Tom Veness from Lismore has owned his 1940 Plymouth coupe for nine years now. The old-school hot rod runs a hotted-up 230ci inline flathead six out of a late-50s Chrysler Royal, with an EDGY alloy head and twin 97 Stromberg carbies on an EDGY intake.

8. Andrew Watkin cruised down from Canberra in his 1966 Dodge Dart 270 convertible. “I’ve owned the Dart for a decade or so now,” Andrew said. “There are hardtops around, but I’ve never seen another convertible in Australia; I think it’s the only one. It’s still running the original 225ci slant motor, but I have a turbo manifold and a Chinese turbo for it at home, so it will probably end up with that set-up on it one day.”

Andrew has made a few upgrades to the Dart, including VE Valiant front disc brakes and VG Val diff and leaf springs. “It all bolted straight in,” he said. “It’s cool that so much of the Aussie Valiant stuff bolts straight up to the car.”

9. Michael Van Der Veen loves hitting the road in his 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix. “I drive it a lot; it’s not quite a daily driver, but I get it out at least a couple of times a week,” he said.

“It’s got plenty of power, and it’s a lot quicker than people assume,” he continued. “It might be a big car, but they’re a unibody, so it’s not actually that heavy. It runs the 383ci Wedge motor and original cast-iron Torqueflite gearbox, and the rear end is an 8¾in with 3.23 gears. The car’s basically original apart from the retrimmed seats, which I’ll be re-doing back to stock.”

10. Nigel Jacobs is the third owner and current custodian of this very rare VH Regal 770 hardtop. The matching-numbers car is one of only 221 VH hardtops that sported the top-of-the-line Fireball 318 V8.

“The engine bay was restored 10 years ago and the exterior was repainted two years ago,” Nigel explained. “Everything has been done to keep it as original as possible.”