The first two of this year's Mopar "Top Eliminators" have been named...and they'll be on hand this weekend at the Mopar display at the Woodward Dream Cruise in suburban Detroit.
Mopar’s 2013 “Top Eliminator” program, the long-running customized and performance vehicle program that highlights passionate and dedicated Mopar enthusiasts who display unmatched skill in modifying or preserving a classic or modern-day Mopar vehicle, has chosen New Jersey native Bill Mann’s 1970 white-over-Plum Crazy Dodge Charger R/T as a winner from this year's Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, held in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, last month.
His Charger joins Miles Watsko's '64 Plymouth Savoy from WInnipeg, Manitoba, which was the first 2013 Mopar Top Eliminator pick at Midwest Mopars In the Park, held in June in Farmington, Minnesota.
In recognition for being named a Mopar “Top Eliminator," both winning cars will be showcased in the Mopar display area at the world’s largest one-day classic car event: the Woodward Dream Cruise in suburban Detroit, on Saturday, August 17. You'll see them both in the big Mopar display at Woodward and 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak. (A good thing to have a look at if you're waiting to get into the nearby Duggan's Irish Pub!--Scott)
While he was inspired by watching the “General Lee” Dodge Charger fly through the air each week on television as a nine-year-old, it was a father-son restoration project with a ’68 as a teenager in the mid-1980s that cemented Bill’s bug for Chargers. In late 1989, he found the car he was looking for in Spokane, Washington.
The initial restoration took five years to complete, and then following an accident that damaged the vehicle, a second restoration was finished in late 1998. Committed to keeping the car as original as possible, Bill rebuilt as many parts as he could. He swapped notes with friends and fellow Mopar club members and spent time going to swap meets to find parts such as new old stock fenders and quarter panels to finish the car. Since then the Plum Crazy ’70 Charger R/T was Original Equipment (OE) Certified at the Chrysler Nationals in 2000, and served as his wedding car in 2002.
Over the years,Bill has taken the Charger to car shows, and brought it to Carlisle this year so he could meet other members of the 1970 Dodge Charger Registry.
Equipment on his Charger includes the 440 Magnum V-8, Torqueflite automatic transmission, the optional Performance Axle Package, Airtemp air conditioning, power steering, power front disc brakes, and an 8-track tape player.
“Totally shocked,” is how Bill says winning this year’s Top Eliminator honors left him. “When Mopar tells you that your car is among the best, there’s not much else to say.”
When he and his '64 Savoy were named Top Eliminators at this year's Midwest Mopars in the Park show in June, Miles Watsko was shocked, too. "It is hard to describe the overwhelming feeling of excitement and pride this award has given both my family and me.” Miles adds, “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the entire Mopar team for the recognition of the ‘Top Eliminator’ award for my work and effort on restoring my ‘64 Savoy,” he adds.
Miles’ winning car represents his vision of a classic Mopar model, showcasing the “stripped down, go fast look” of a 1964 muscle car. Vehicles of that genre and era could be seen at cruise hangouts during the week and the local drag strip(s) on the weekend, but 1964 was an especially important year for Mopar with the introduction of the 426 Hemi race engine, and the success that Plymouth had in sweeping the top three positions at the famous Daytona 500 race.
Additionally, the upgraded Stage III 426 Max Wedge, and the newly introduced Hemi, dominated the Stock and Super Stock classes at the drags that same year.
What's most impressive about Miles' B-Body is that it was initially purchased as a four-door parts car, destined to contribute to the restoration of a two-door Savoy in rough condition. The outstanding quality of the work performed by Miles was what inspired judges to deem it worthy of a being displayed as a “Top Eliminator” so that Mopar fans would be able to get a second and third look – outside, inside and underneath.
"Top Eliminator" candidates were judged by a panel of Mopar representatives on a number of criteria, including Mopar content, restoration and customization efforts, overall appearance and additional benchmarks.
As a new addition to the program, the third Mopar “Top Eliminator” vehicle selection will focus on the top rides that will race down the track at the upcoming NHRA U.S. Nationals in Clermont, Indiana (near Indianapolis) over Labor Day Weekend. Mopar will recognize a Sportsman racer who competes in a Chrysler Group vehicle with the “Top Eliminator” trophy, and the chance to lead the Hemi Challenge parade during the event.
Similar to the current “Top Eliminator” criteria, this program expansion honors an entrant’s performance and personal statement brought to life in the Mopar they compete in during race weekends.
Candidates for a fourth “Top Eliminator” winning vehicle will be selected online, allowing you to upload images of your Moparized ride, with a fan vote selecting the best among those posted.