Gallery: 30th Annual Belvidere Mopar Happening

This past weekend I was able to attend with no issues the 30th Annual Belvidere Mopar Happening put on by the Chicagoland Mopar Connection car club. This takes place not far from the famous Belvidere Jeep plant. The show used to be on the actual grounds of the plant but outgrew it and moved a few miles away to the far larger Boone County Fairgrounds.

It has resided at that location ever since, eventually expanding into a two-day event and has stayed as such ever since. This year with the COVID restrictions lifting in Illinois, they were expecting record numbers of cars for both days, and they got them! Both days broke records for cars in attendance.

The weather was beautiful, the grounds were clean and dry. You could not ask for a nicer weekend to attend a car show to say the least. I got there on Saturday a little later than I had hoped, as I had to check up on a B17 Bomber in a Barn in nearby Marengo, Illinois. But when I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large quantity of cars at the show.

On Saturdays the main focus is on Dodge Chargers of any year, and Modern Mopars. And I will say that we had the entire spectrum out there. Everything from a 1966 Charger, ’69 Charger, ’75 Charger, ’77 Charger Daytona and more. It was really nice to see such a large turnout for the big show the club puts on.

Not only is there a car show, but there is a swap meet running alongside the show. By the time I got to the show and finished photographing the cars and talking with friends everyone in the swap had packed up for the day, but thankfully Sunday they would open back up and I could go find the parts I needed, right?

Of course, that’s not how my day went because the show organizers had a record level of cars attend! I spent most of my time there just running around taking pictures of all the Mopars! And there was a ton of them, in every shape and size. There was a Superbird or two, AAR ‘Cudas, GLH Omni (Built just down the road), Big C-body Wagons and Convertibles. There was even an old ServicePro Monaco Station Wagon utility vehicle in the C-bodies.

There were four vehicles that really stood out to me, that I went out of my way to check out. One was a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, 426 Hemi car, with a sunroof! There had been some work done to it, but it was largely original. You could just see the engine bay hadn’t really been touched. The second vehicle was a 1967 Dodge Monaco C-body Street Freak. It had a solid front axle, a first gen Hemi, Fake Zoomies from what I could tell. It is as though Rat Fink had given it life!

Third up was a mid-restoration 1970 Superbird owned by friends of mine. This was the first time it was out in public since the restoration was started. It was just a rolling buck, but it showed what Magnum Restoration could do! When they started the restoration, it was discovered that the nose was a wreck! They straightened it all out and the body work looks like glass.

And if you want to talk about looking like glass, the fourth car was a Black 1970 AAR ‘Cuda done by Noel Automotive in Iowa. They had been working on this car for a while, and this was one of the first shows it was attending. The car had a nut and bolt restoration done and it showed. The quality was top notch to say the least! Those quarter panels didn’t show a wrinkle.

I have been attending this show for over a decade, it is always a blast with good people, awesome cars and always a few surprises. Why weren’t you there?!

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Ryan Brutt

Ryan is an automotive journalist from Chicago with a pair of Challengers (a '70 and a '09). Normally, in Ryan's free time (which is a lot), he drives around the country documenting old cars in their unrestored condition - also known as "Barn Finds." But he also writes about any sort of cool cars out there.

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