Mopar merger mulled at Sonic

Car enthusiasts joined up June 16 at Sonic Drive-In on College Park Road to discuss a proposed merger of the Lowcountry Mopars and SoCar Mopar clubs.

A new chapter in local auto-hobby history, of special interest to fans of Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and Jeep, was drafted June 16 and a final version is expected to evolve in October.

Members of two classic vehicle enthusiasts groups based in the Charleston area, Lowcountry Mopars and SoCar Mopar, joined forces at the Sonic on College Park Road to mull the idea. A merger was agreed to in principle. Mopar is the parts, service and customer care organization within what’s now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The name’s been used for decades for original Chrysler-manufactured parts.

Leaders from both groups, Betty Harris of Lowcountry Mopars and Rob Hanson of SoCar Mopar, moderated the discussion at the informal conference held a week ago Tuesday. Based on the number of nodding heads, good suggestions were made. Smiles also appeared after plans were tentatively developed for the two organizations to share responsibility for quarterly car shows and monthly road cruises.

The meeting itself turned out to be quite an event with a multitude of colorful Dodge and Chrysler vehicles filling the parking lot to overflowing. While the modern muscle examples got lots of attention, so did a vintage Dart Swinger and an older pickup truck with a model-year-correct Ram’s-head hood ornament.

James and Lorin Flesher’s car especially stood out. Their sharp ’13 Challenger SRT8 Core finished in “Hemi Orange” was a part of this year’s Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour, which ran from Wisconsin to Louisiana with stops between. “It’s the largest mobile car show in the world,” James Flesher said.

Another head turner was Theresa Young’s silver ’01 Prowler with black leather interior. The sporty open-air auto, as fans know, has vintage T-Bucket styling and its front fenders turn from side to side in concert with the steering wheel. “You can’t believe the looks I get when I’m driving it,” she said about the V-6 and automatic ride with a trunk so small there’s no room for a spare tire or even for a jack or lug wrench to remove its 17-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels.

While a name for the combo club is still to be discussed, participant Paul Wade got laughs and thumbs up galore with his clever “SoLo” nickname. Fellowship and fun continued for more than an hour after adjournment.

For more, contact Harris at 843-797-3246 and Hanson at 619-905-9178.