With a Little Help From My (Mopar®) Friends

In the era of Facebook Groups, Instagram posts and, dare we say, TikTok, some might feel that joining a dues-paying club with elected officers that meets monthly is a bit old fashioned. But Calvin Craig, President of the Colorado Mopar® Club, strongly feels that clubs are very much relevant today. “Comradery is significantly tighter when you are seeing people in-person at monthly meetings than just on Facebook,” Calvin explains. “Sure, online group members might meet up for a cruise, but everyone is in their own cars for the majority of the time, which doesn’t allow for much interaction.”

Mopar Club Members 2

Calvin joined the Colorado Mopar Club in December of 2000, though he has had a lifelong interest. “I’ve been a Mopar fan from the time I was a kid. My dad was an enthusiast, so I read his MotorTrend magazines. I turned 16 in 1969, the year Dodge and Plymouth came out with the E-bodies on the Barracuda and Challenger. The following year, the HEMI® ‘Cuda made the cover … and that just sealed my fate for being a lifelong Mopar guy.”

Green Mopars

The Colorado Mopar Club was founded in the mid-1990s as a means of connecting fellow enthusiasts, and the club’s official motto of friends helping friends has been at their core. “It goes far beyond cruising around town, hosting a show or hanging out at a monthly meeting,” Calvin explains. “Our members are more than willing to not only share their extensive knowledge but get their hands dirty while doing it.”

Mopar Picnic

An example of this was seven years ago when Calvin wanted to strip the paint off his 1968 Barracuda so he could apply a primer on the base metal and protect the vehicle. A dozen members met at a house of someone who owned a compressor. The team spent an entire day using the compressor, hand grinder and heavy bodywork sandpaper to remove every spec of paint from the vehicle. This manual process avoided the use of chemicals, which can later cause the paint to bubble if not properly applied. Calvin could not have been more appreciative of the help working on this vehicle, which he has owned for 40 years.

When members of the club are not helping paint vehicles or pulling and rebuilding engines, they gather at meetings held the first Tuesday of every month, or at a monthly Mopar Breakfast which takes place on the second Sunday. They enjoy swapping stories about their current projects, planning for upcoming events and checking out each other’s Mopar vehicles. One of the highlights in the club is Richard Kaup’s 1969 GTX. Richard did a ground-up restoration of this vehicle, which looks like it was just driven off the showroom floor, and thus has won numerous awards.

Richard Kaups 1969 GTX

Each year, one of the club’s members is designated to serve as the liaison with the Collector Car Council of Colorado. The CCCC represents all makes and models and lobbies for the interests of collectors. This could be anything from the availability of collector car plates to emissions testing. Calvin explained how important the emissions testing regulations were to Mopar vehicles and other vintage vehicles. “Emissions in the seven counties that make up the Denver metro area are regulated by the government. Due to the high elevation, there is great concern over the ozone in the region. With tighter emission standards on the horizon, collectors were concerned about the impact this could have on operating their vehicles. The CCCC worked with the regulators to land on a nominal inspection once every five years. Since our club is formalized with elected officers, the CCCC was willing to have us at the table as part of these discussions.”

Pink Challenger convertible

The club’s largest activity is hosting their annual Mopar show, which historically has featured between 100 and 130 Mopar vehicles. But with loss of the venue previously used and a decreasing/aging volunteer base, Colorado Mopar Club has recently joined forces (pun intended) to be part of the Rocky Mountain Metro Airport Show, which combines a car show and swap meet with air show.

Car Show

The club has previously joined forces with Rocky Mountain Performance Mopar to co-host monthly meetings, and they also interact with Southern Colorado Mopars and Northern Colorado Mopars. Clubs across the country, regardless of what common interest they share, continue to face challenges with membership and volunteerism as younger enthusiasts remain on the outskirts, primarily in online communities. Making strategic alliances and sharing resources like the Colorado Mopar Club has done is key to the long-term viability and success of such organizations. For more information about the Colorado Mopar Club, you can visit coloradomopar.org.