Hagan Park Hosts Mopar Day in the Park

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG)  |  Story by Trina L. Drotar
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This 1965 Plymouth Belvedere Pro-Street is no dinosaur – photo by Trina L. Drotar

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Mark Symons and his 2015 Dodge Challenger Grinch took 2nd place in the SRT Division – photo by Sandy Thomas

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The unwritten theme of Capital City Mopar’s 26th annual Mopar Day in the Park seemed to be old-fashioned fun with a side of contemporary. Muscle cars in all shapes, sizes, and years roared into Hagan Park early Saturday morning, June 22nd, the first Saturday of summer, and set up under the trees to show off.

Plymouth Dusters and Road Runners were plentiful. Rob Patten’s 1969 ½ Road Runner was one of 700 built in March and April and was built for drag racing and came standard without hood hinges. He still races the car. Dodge Darts and Chargers were spotted in many colors. The Plymouth Barracudas still look fierce. Some cars that might have seemed out of place include what has been called one of the ugliest cars in the world, the AMC Gremlin. With its V-8 engine, it was a muscle car in a little package, not so of the Dodge Challengers.

Mark Symons, a member of South Bay Challengers and NorCal Challengers, scored his fifth trophy in the year since he started showing his 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392. He bought the car in Elk Grove last year. Decked out in Grinch green and black, Symons kept busy polishing the wheels for judging while others worked a dusting mop across hoods, roofs, and trunks hoping to keep the dust off.

Bob Perry, president of Capital City Mopars, said the event is the club’s annual fundraiser. “The first show was in Roseville in a dirt lot,” he remembered.

The club moved the show to Hagan Park the following year where it has spent a quarter century bringing enthusiasts from near and far to showcase their Dodge, Chrysler, and other Mopar vehicles. Symons’ vehicle might be excluded from some shows that adhere to the standards of vehicles that are pre-1976, but Perry’s organization decided five years ago to allow newer vehicles into shows. Some club members are not happy about the change, but with older cars and their owners dying, many clubs are beginning to open to newer vehicles which are often owned by younger enthusiasts.

Vehicles were grouped and judged by class, which included an under construction and daily drivers. Many cars served multiple functions for their owners.

Ron Lim’s 1970 Plymouth Road Runner serves him well as a show car, a race car, a daily driver, and a car that screams “fun for all.” Panther Pink is a standard 1970 color, but Lim added a touch of pearl blue. It is outfitted with roll bars, a television in the back that runs cartoons, and Lamborghini doors. Tucked in the trunk is also a photo of Lim with Jay Leno, an avid car collector.

A few cars down sat a nondescript little car that seemed out of place and a Vietnam Veteran enjoying the morning breeze.

“It was America’s first economy car,” Kent Jones said about his 1952 Kaiser-Frazer Henry J. “They were junk then; they are junk now.”

His 3000 pound car gets 5 miles per gallon. His daily driver has 850 horsepower from his 522 cubic inch Chrysler Hemi.

“Just don’t push the throttle,” he said, adding that he has to pay attention because the vehicle is a ton lighter than many muscle cars. He attracted quite the crowd when he started the engine.

Although the cars were the main attraction, the music was enjoyed by all as DJ Gregory Joens played country, old school rock, car culture music, and made quite the impression with Jones and many others when he played Leann Rimes’ rendition of the National Anthem.

Raffle ticket winners raced to one of the booths to claim prizes and detoured for a cheeseburger, hot dog, or sausage to support YMCA of Superior California’s fundraiser. Communications Director Al Goldberg said that the money would fund community scholarships for Y-Assist applicants in Child Care programs and teen from the organization’s Youth and Government Program. The volunteers were quick with a smile and a bite to eat.

Booths, classes, and awards were sponsored by Hoblitt Dodge, Lashers Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Overkill Performance, Haggerty Insurance, Hastie’s Capitol Sand and Gravel, and many others.

Capital City Mopars meets monthly at the California Automobile Museum and is open to all Mopar enthusiasts. The club is active in the Sacramento region.

For additional information, visit: https://crpd.com/parks/hagan-community-park/. For more information about Capital City Mopars, visit: https://www.capitalcitymopars.com/.


This 1965 Plymouth Belvedere Pro-Street is no dinosaur – photo by Trina L. DrotarMark Symons and his 2015 Dodge Challenger Grinch took 2nd place in the SRT Division – photo by Sandy ThomasJay Leno once sat in Ron Lim’s 1970 Road Runner that was built to include elements of cars he has owned, including Lamborghini doors – photo by Sandy ThomasJim Eger is the original owner of this Gremlin purchased from American City Rambler on Fulton Avenue in 1972. It was restored in 2006 and is the same color as in 1972 – photo by Sandy Thomas