It's grizzled old man and greenhorn speed-squirrel all shoved together. It is burnout-happy primer Dart and zillion-buck R/T convertible resto-clone parked side-by-side. Most of all, it's all about rear-wheel-drive Mopars and leaving your Neon at home. Or not even owning one. A minivan is OK as long as you cut tubs into it and plumb in a 340.
These guys are the South Bay Mopars, and you can meet them at the Stick and Stein on Sepulveda in El Segundo, California, for breakfast once a month and share what's new. Starting back in 2001, President Mark Fink nurtured the club from a mix of Mopar hangers at Costco and Ruby's Diner cruise nights, and now they even have real events at Ricky and Ronnie's cruise-in and at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. There are 20-30 cars at the meetings, even in the middle of winter, so there's always something to see. It's what we like about car clubs. Meet some of the members here, and see more at southbaymopar.com.
Aby Nazario, O.G. Member Since 2001
'69 Dodge Coronet R/T With A Super Bee Hood
"In November 1969, the month I bought the car, I wanted to buy a '70 Hemi 'Cuda. But it was 5,900 bucks and I couldn't afford it. Not only did I not have the cash, but I would also be buying a gas hog. Right before I left the dealership, the salesman threw me the keys to a green '69 R/T. I left my '67 Fastback VW at the dealership and drove it home. That night I went street racing and beat a '67 Fairlane GT 390. I didn't want to race, but this guy followed me from the A&W all the way to the freeway. Then he called me chicken so I said, 'you punch yours and I'll punch mine.' I just left him there. The next morning the speedometer was stuck at 70 mph in the driveway so I went back to the dealership and told them to sign me up! Had the car ever since."
Luke Preece, Green Member
'70 Dodge Dart
"I bought this thing when I was 16-I'm 22 now-from a friend of the family at a Moto Guzzi shop. It was a Grandma Green Slant Six/auto on the column car with rubber floor mats. The first thing I did was peel the rest of the vinyl roof off and primer it. It was all glue and shredded green stuff. I have horrible pictures of the car when I first bought it. That was ugly too, so I primered the rest of the body to make it match. The next step was to put some 14-inch Cragar SS rims on it that I scored from a garage sale for 100 bucks. Then, without my parents' permission, I drove to San Diego for an AC/DC concert, but I got busted when the six blew up all over everything. It was insane, this was at 2 a.m. and it was just sitting there smoking. I really beat on this car." Luke built a 360 after the six went away, but it grenaded after 100 miles. Now the car has a 380hp Mopar crate engine. He's on his third TorqueFlite 727, and he swapped the rear for an 831/44 with a 3.23:1 Sure-Grip when the 711/44 clunked.
Doug Baird, Member Who Is Completely Gonzo Over His Fury
'70 Plymouth Sport Fury GT
"I looked for 8 years to find a Fury. Well, it was more like 25 years because that's how long ago my original car got wrecked and went to the junkyard. One day I was on moparts.com and there was a guy selling a Fury GT for a widow in upstate New York. They wanted a lot for it. It was more than I wanted to pay until I saw that it was exactly like the car I had in high school, so I had to have it. I drove to New York from California and towed it home. People always say that they had one of these cars, but that's impossible. There were only a few made like this one."