THE 21st annual Chryslers By The Bay was held on Sunday on the verdant lawns of Geelong Grammar School. Over 260 Mopars were on display – everything from vintage Plymouths, to classic 70s US and Aussie muscle cars, to late-model Jeeps and Dodges. Hosted by the Bay City Chrysler Car Club, the event also included a swap meet, and all proceeds went to children’s charity Cottage By The Sea.
SM snapper Chris Thorogood was there to capture all the Mopar goodness for posterity; here are his 12 favourites from the event.
1. It wasn’t all about shiny cars; some, like Shane Withers’s ’74 ’Cuda, impressed through sheer bad attitude. Powered by a tough 360ci Mopar stroked out to 410ci, and with a Dana 60 diff, the ’Cuda is what Shane calls his ‘research and development’ car – mainly because it’s broken everything but the engine in its time, including smashing four transmissions.
It was hard to walk past four great Chargers in a row. Each one had their own custom touches, and all are owned by a group of mates.
2. John Lambas bought his Charger four years ago. He and his dad stripped it down, painted it Phantom Purple, and gave the 265ci Hemi-six some tough speed parts including JE pistons, H-beam rods, worked heads, triple Webers and a strong bottom end. John estimates it should be good for around 330hp.
3. Georgio Lafazanis’s 1971 VH Charger has undergone some changes since it was featured in SM, August 2015: 50mm triple Webers, Mirabito air box, Top Loader, Hurst shifter and a lazy 430hp at the flywheel.
4. We loved the black-and-white treatment on Emmanuel Kapsaskis’s Charger. Emmanuel bought the car when he was 15, ditched the original six-cylinder for a worked 410ci stroker good for 520hp and detailed the engine bay during the transplant. The 770 stunner also has original paint, a 904 auto trans and a beefed-up BorgWarner diff.
5. The 6-BANGA VK RT mock-up is owned by Adam Babisz. The 265ci Hemi has had some major work done by Eugene at Flowcraft and Hemi-six guru Andy Saunders. The Charger has been dynoed at 309hp at the wheels, but Adam says he isn’t quite done yet with the performance mods, so there is definitely more to come.
6. We’ve seen this tough mini-tubbed S-Series Valiant at Victorian events such as Performance Car Mania, but finally caught up with owner Scott Moreland. Scott had only just given the 1962 sedan a birthday with some fresh paint, and it looks killer inside and out. A strong alloy-headed 360ci sits in the smoothed engine bay, backed by a 727 auto and Borgie rear end with a nine-inch spool. The car was originally his father’s daily driver and has been in the family since Scott was five years old, so it’s considered a precious family heirloom.
7. Another killer street machine was this staunch KB Centura owned by Tim Williams. The Centura was Tim’s first car and it was stock when he purchased it over 23 years ago. It didn’t stay stock for long, with the 245ci six-cylinder replaced by a tough 360ci Mopar. Tim sourced a bolt-in rollcage from a Centura circuit race car to stiffen up the flimsy Valiant chassis. The rear end got the full race car treatment, with tubs, coil-overs, shortened nine-inch with 4:11 gears, and a Powerglide ’box with transbrake and 4500 stall.
8. Flying the flag for female Mopar owners was Holly Giddings. Holly decided on an AP5 because she never saw many Valiants at car shows and wanted something different. She and her dad found this 1963 AP5 Regal in Minyip, Victoria; it was in a sad state so they set about restoring the car to its former glory, with a few modifications. They refreshed just about everything, including the 225ci Slant-six motor, push-button trans, body, interior, suspension and brakes. Holly chose the custom-mix blue paint and now cruises the car all over Victoria with her friends and family.
9. Mick Lulic waited 10 years for his mate in Adelaide to sell this tough VE VIP Val. His patience paid off, as he bought one tough and sharp-looking street car. Mick didn’t have to change much, but he has tidied a few things up. Under the hood is a 600hp 408ci block, which has gone 10.5@125mph naturally aspirated and 9.8sec on nitrous. We featured Mick’s other 600hp street car, a purple Charger, back in February 2015.
10. Would you believe this paint is 20 years old? Theo Stergiannis’s black AP5 proves that if you do the prep and paint it right the first time you won’t have to be chasing paint issues for years to come. This tough cookie has gone a best of 10.4@127mph thanks to a strong 408ci stroker Mopar/Powerglide/nine-inch combo.
11. Dodge Darts are undeniably some of the best-looking Mopars to come out of Detroit during the muscle car age, so we couldn’t walk past Walter Furian’s perfect ’67 Dodge Dart GT. The factory hue of Medium Copper and the rare GT chrome and stainless pieces really made this car pop in the sunlight. Walter bought it from a police commissioner in Illinois, USA. It was in good condition but still wasn’t up to Walter’s standard, so he restored it with his own subtle touches like the pinstriping, Weld wheels and rear disc brakes. The factory 273ci four-barrel was tired, so it was replaced by a mild 318ci with Scat rods and JB pistons, backed by a Torqueflite 904 trans. Even though the car is one of only 2045 1967 Dart GTs produced, Walter drives the wheels off it all over Victoria.
12. Frankie Pana won Top Charger with his stunning home-built Hemi-powered VH 770. What a car!