The 2018 Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania is a wrap. This is one of the most anticipated Mopar shows of the year for enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for parts, a car or just come by to enjoy friends and see some cool cars, Chrysler Nationals has it all. This year brought great weather, big burnouts and awesome cars every where you looked.
If you are a fan of Road Runners, Super Bees or 340 engines, this was the year for you as it marked the 50th anniversary of all three. You could see some incredible examples of all three inside the Vehicle Display building. Along side the Road Runners and Super Bees, they had a few featured Mopars that were hand picked to be displayed inside the building too.
Road Runners and Super Bees were in abundance throughout the show. From the Survivor tent to the show field and even the car corral, you could find an example of almost every year and trim package. 340 powered cars were also scattered throughout but mainly flooded the A-Body areas of the show field.
The rest of the show field did not disappoint either. Every row you walked had incredible cars to offer. From numbers matching low production cars to complete restorations with the owners personal touches, it was all there. Lines of Air Grabber hoods and Six-Pack intakes seemed to flood the B-Body rows. The E-Body section offered convertibles, Shakers and 426 Hemi-equipped cars. Mild to wild small blocks filled the engine bays of the majority of the A-Bodies. The show always brings out some of the best Mopars in the country.
Each year we see more and more Gen III Hemi swaps. Whether it a Duster, Charger or many other Mopar platforms, the trend is growing. This year we found some hiding under the hood of a couple unexpected vehicles. We found a few tucked under the hood of some A, B and E-bodies. A few we remembered from previous years and glad to see them returning. What we did not expect to find was a beautiful 1948 DeSoto that was powered by a 6.1 Hemi and a Hellcat powered 1933 Chrysler Coupe which won first in pre-1955 cars. Both cars were stunning in person but the modern power plants pushed them over the top.
Speaking of modern Hemis, the modern Mopar crowd was huge. Every year the number of new Chargers, Challengers, Magnums, 300s and more continue to increase. Whether its stock or highly modified Chrysler Nationals has a class for it. It took us almost a whole day to walk through the Modern Mopars and we probably still missed a few. With crazy light shows to custom wraps and built motors, the variety in the modern Mopar field was insane.
If you were worried about not seeing a new 2018 Dodge Demon, there were plenty. A few were in a row of their own and others spread throughout the show. A couple were found hiding in the Manufacturers Midway and others were found in the Car Corral for sale if you happen to be in the market. One even had a crazy demonic themed wrap on it that was drawing quite a crowd. The number of Hellcat Chargers and Challengers were pretty intense and could be found throughout the seen everywhere and had their own class to compete in.
The Car Corral is always a favorite of attendees. Whether you are looking for a new project, want a turn key car or just checking prices. There is everything you can imagine for sale. From a pair of modern convertible Challengers to 426 Hemi powered cars. Even some low mileage survivors. There were also some great deals on project cars that varied from full restorations to just a few minor fixes. Anyway you put it, the car corral had plenty of great deals.
If your car is in the process of being restored and looking for a few parts, the swap meet had it all. Its always interesting to find the stuff you did not know you needed too. We were tempted many of times with performance parts but held off since there was nothing major we needed. The Swap Meet was had a little bit of everything. We over heard a few people saying that this year there were a lot of hard to find parts for sale. From motor blocks to rust free sheet metal, you had a great chance of finding what you needed. We scooped up a tail panel for our 1970 Super Bee “ZomBEE” while strolling through the swap meet.
The Manufacturers Midway was packed full of great vendors. Whether restoring or upgrading parts on your car, you could find all your needs here. Silver Sport Transmissions had their display setup with both manual and automatic over drive options for your Mopar. CVF was there showing off their Wraptor kits for small and big blocks, along with their line of v-belt pulleys and brackets. Currie Enterprises had their new Dana 60 rear end on display. BMR traveled all the way up from Florida to show off their new Modern Mopar rear suspension items. Coker Tire was set up in the swap meet area and were swamp all weekend taking orders for new rubber.
One of our favorite stops is Reilly Motorsports. Not only is Bill and his crew around to chat with but the tent is always filled with some killer cars. This year there was NASCAR powered Dart, Hellcat powered Challenger, 6.4 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible and a Road Runner all which were equipped with Reilly Motorsports (RMS) suspension. The tent was crowded all day and barely had much time to chat. Not only were the cars in the tent fitted with RMS products but we noticed multiple cars in the show field fitted with the RMS AlterKtion and Street-Lynx suspension setups.
There are so many special guests and different events going on during the show its almost impossible to keep up with all of it. As always the annual Daisy Duke and Burnout contests had the stands packed. We caught some of the burnout out competition. The burnouts filled the show like always. The Daisy Duke competition we missed but assume it did not disappoint.
Meeting Mopar legends is always a treat and Chrysler Nationals always brings big names to the show. This year “Mr. Norm” Kraus, Herb McCandless and “Miss Hurst” Linda Vaughn showed up to sign autographs and meet their fans. Alongside the legends was race car driver Kevin Wesley. He piloted his 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody race car in this years Pikes Peak challenge in Colorado. The car was on display and Kevin was available for questions and autographs.
Lets not forget one of the biggest attractions of the show, the Dodge tent and Thrill Rides. Dodge brought out some of the 2018 models and a couple of their SEMA Show builds for everyone to check out. They even had a Demon on display. The 2018 models were open for spectators check out up close and person. The past year SEMA builds are still stunning to look at and cannot wait to see what Dodge and Mopar has in store for this years SEMA show.
As always the Dodge Thrill rides was a busy spot the whole weekend. This year Dodge added a Challenger Hellcat Widebody to the pack of cars that were making laps around the autocross course. To see these production cars take a beating and go through multiple sets of tires and brakes in one weekend is unbelievable. We have not heard of any other brand torturing their cars like this but we suppose that is why we are Mopar.
Once again the weekend went by to fast and to soon. We know we missed some cars and did not get to meet everyone we wanted to. The bright side is we still got to meet some awesome people, talk about Mopars and see some incredible cars. We know next will be even better and cannot wait see what Chrysler Nationals has in-store for us then. If you missed Chrysler Nationals be sure not to miss the upcoming Mopar Nats in Ohio. Until next time enjoy our gallery from this year.
Special thanks to Chris Holley for additional pictures and coverage of the Chrysler Nationals.