Mopar Sunday 2022

Dozens of interstate Mopars joined a mighty local turnout at Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway for the 19th Mopar Sunday

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

Mopars, Mopars, as far as the eye can see, and not a ring-in to be found. If you love your Chryslers, Plymouths, Dodges, DeSotos, Rams and even Jeeps, Willowbank Raceway’s annual Mopar Sunday is a recommended pilgrimage.

“About a quarter of this year’s entrants travelled from NSW, Victoria and South Australia,” said organiser Sam Tatton about the 19th running of this laid-back Mopar drag racing and show extravaganza. “Being told people build stuff just for today is really special. People see this as a premier event to be focusing on, and it shows there’s really nothing else like it for Mopars.”

An event-record 126 drag cars hit Willowbank’s quarter-mile, while 150 were polished up for the busy Show n Shine. Here are a few of the highlights.

When Vanishing Point is your favourite movie, there can be only one Mopar. Andrew Jacobi brought his ’71 Dodge Challenger over from the States a year ago.

Restored and drag strip ready off the boat, he slung on clever KOWLSKI plates and the 340 stroker helped it run low 12s at Willowbank.

Andrew Dunnett’s ’77 CL Valiant ute snared the 2022 Mopar Sunday drag title, edging Dave Weber’s Pacer with a 10.652 @ 125.40mph. Driver and ute have been doing this for 25 years; the current 392-cube Gen III Hemi with 904 trans and 9-inch diff setup good for about 585hp.

Gasser heaven! Cal Scott’s ‘Brutal’ 1965 AP6 Valiant gasser is jacked up on ’37 Plymouth front suspension and makes a killer noise from its 477cu Mopar big block, mated to an A-833 ‘box and Dana 60 rear.

“When I bought it the suspension pickup points, tubs, boot floor and transmission tunnel had been cut out, so as it was already mongrelised. I thought I’d mongrelise it some more,” said Cal.

Peter Klockner’s Metal Mauler ’66 VC gasser shows off its gearbox as those giant rears light up. A crowd favourite and Mopar Sunday regular, it runs a mild 318, 904 Torqueflite and vintage Sox & Martin team colour paint scheme.

Brisbane’s Rex Scoles hauls away in his VF Valiant coupe. The 500-cube engine with 727 trans and 9-inch diff was doing 9.6s, but Rex said “it should go quicker,” while getting to grips with trying a new converter at Mopar Sunday.

“I bought it already built as a drag car and in seven years I’ve never had to touch it; only ever had to check the oil and water,” he said.

Scott Gardner’s delicious baby blue ’73 VH Charger with triple-Webered 265 and Top Loader four-speed looks stunning after a three-year resto.

Scott’s a regular at Mopar Sundays with his AP6 Valiant ute and VG hardtop, but this was the VH’s first outing.

Stephen Kopp’s 1974 ‘cleanskin’ VJ Valiant Charger Sportsman lacks the signature white stripes, but has the right paint and interior. Has run a 12.1 @ 112mph but the 265 broke a crankshaft at Queensland Raceway the day before Mopar Sunday.

“We’ve popped a mild engine in, did the job in about four hours,” Stephen said. “A few boys came and helped, and there were lots of beer cans getting thrown around so let’s hope it goes alright!”

Not a factory Mopar colour, but an in-yer-face Suzuki Swift Sport yellow for Mick Gore’s Valiant Pacer does the extrovert job.

The 245 engine’s injected and turbo’d for around 580 at the wheels, and was running 13s on street tyres despite this being Mick’s first crack at Mopar Sunday’s drags.

Matt Sciasci came with his 1970 AAR assembly line correct ‘Cuda and ’71 Plymouth Duster Twister and went home with all the gold. The ‘Cuda took out awards for Top US Mopar, Top Paint and Top Original Show Car while the Duster Twister snared Top Modified Show Car.

The ‘Cuda is one of only 114 in that striking violet paint while the Duster Twister with a 360cu and 727 trans is a Sassy Grass Green that’s a one of one with its options. “They’re two different cars to drive,” Matt said. “The ‘Cuda’s really nice while the Duster Twister’s a bit meaner, lumpier and smellier.”

Not many Sigmas run 12.0s all day, but Anthony Christofis and his ’78 Chrysler have been at this racing lark for 35 years. He’s owned the daily driver Sigma for 38 years and transplanted a Nissan FJ20 into the bronze bay, mated to a Turbo 350 and with 9-inch diff.

“Being with all these Mopars, all the drag racing, it’s just the best,” he said. “Hats off to the guys who organise Mopar Sunday, it’s incredible.”

Our own Scotty Taylor convoyed up with a bunch of mates in his dad’s old VE ute. It was quite an eventful trip, stay tuned for the Carnage episode in a couple of weeks!

Dave Greene roadtripped up from Victoria with Scotty in his super-cool Dodge Dart, only to hit a massive bump and bend the car’s K-frame.

Dave Hillman has the runs on the board when it comes to tough Mopars, but his latest creation is something else! We’re talking a blown BAE Hemi with Noonan heads for starters.

It’s always a treat to see Jon Mitchell‘s monster Hemi Challenger in action. The beast set a new PB of 9.78 at 137mph.

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson