We took a moment out of our
lazy busy weekend schedule to head on up to Auburn Hills and the DaimlerChrysler Tech Center for the annual auto show for the Chrysler Employee Motorsport Association (CEMA). Although they've been doing it for 18 years, this is only the second time we've been lucky enough to attend an event all about featuring the best and brightest of Chrysler employee-owned classic and not-so-classic cars. There's no requirement of ownership of Mopar muscle for membership, there's obviously more of that on display at the show than any other brand of Motown motorabilia. For instance, we found these twin 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams sitting amidst the 340 or so vehicles on display at the mainly Mopar event. With one dressed up in admiralty blue and the other colored buccaneer red, these Super Duty-powered screaming chickens drew respectful nods from even the most die-hard Chrysler employees.
But it's a Chrysler-show, so let's show the Mopar magic. As you'd expect, there were Dodge Chargers aplenty — in all of its many variants. Mix that up with every classic Challenger and Super Bee — but whatevs, you'll find that anywhere. Nah, we've seen that metal so often 'round these parts it just doesn't do it for us so much anymore. Instead, we were excited to see the following historical Mopar magic from way back in the '80's:
1983 Dodge "California" Shelby Rampage
How could we not be madly in love with this L-platform El-Cam wannabe? Although it was first built starting in '82, it was the last year of this Omni-based Scamp-y subcompact pickup where there's some serious questions — did Shelby build a Rampage? We've heard that the '84 model year, there was a California-only package built, named obviously enough, the "California" package. That package included side skirts, a front airdam like the Shelby Charger, performance exhaust system, aluminum 15" wheels from the Charger, cruise control, center armrest and a 5-speed tranny with the Shelby Charger's gear ratio. No go-fast engine installed, no suspension changes, only a Shelby Charger-like look. But man, what a look it gave the Rampage. We'll take two.
1987 Shelby GLHS
Shelby used the Omni as the base body for the GLHS up until 1987 when he shifted over to the Charger for this limited edition turbo torque machine. Although the Charger and Omni were based on the same L-body platform, apparently the body appearance was more to Carroll Shelby's liking. Thus, the limited-edition 1987 Shelby GLHS had that more Charger-like low-to-the-floor look than the previous model. But, the look was the only difference in this only-comes-in-black model as it shared the same 2.2-liter "Turbo 2" engine as the prior year.
1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible
Because everyone needs a drop-top pickup. Need we say more?
But that's not all we saw — feel free to take a look-see through our gallery of Mopar madness from this past weekend and enjoy the Chrysler that was, and maybe even hope for a future Chrysler that's got the muscle to build some automotive hotness once again.