Gallery: Belvidere Mopar Happening


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When you think of Mopars during the summer around Chicago, your mind generally ends up thinking to the annual Belvidere Mopar Happening this past July 23rd and 24th. This past show celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the production Dodge Charger. Normally this show is a week earlier, but because Carlisle was pushed back a week, this show was also pushed back as well.

The show starts on Saturday; the annual Mid-West Charger meetup is the centerpiece of the Saturday activities. This year, with the 50th Anniversary, they had quite the allotment of Chargers on hand, including at least one model from every generation. Including a few Shelby Chargers that were built just down the road at the Belvidere Assembly Plant.

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Walking the rows, you have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the cars, as well as the swap. The heat and humidity this year was a bit to bear. Just like Carlisle the week before. But cars still came out and people were still having a wonderful time. The buildings had swappers in every spot. Mega Parts from Coon Valley Wisconsin was there with their entire corner full of Mopar Muscle parts, new and old!

Directly across in the 2nd building was Magnum Restoration. They are one of the top restoration shops in the entire country. Restoring an award winning 1970 Hemi Superbird and the 1 of 1 1972 Plymouth Road Runner GTX 440 Six-Barrell car! These guys know how to pick them. They had an incredible Plum Crazy ’70 Super Bee on display, and Mark Sekula on hand to talk to anyone who had questions.

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Walking across the aisle you walk right into the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals spot, being staffed by none other than Bob and Vicki Ashton, the heads of the show. They talk and answer questions about the “Pebble Beach of Muscle Car Shows” all day. There’s a lot to talk about to say the least!

Saturday normally would end with a cruise to the local Dodge Dealership, but because of weather warnings and heat, it was canceled. So everyone took off, just in time for the severe thunderstorms to roll through.
On Sunday has the highest number of vehicles on the show field. Even with the heat and humidity there was still quite the lineup of vehicles out there. Rows of Challengers, Chargers, Road Runner and more. There was even an original; TV show used General Lee at the show. The swap meet was jumping. And everywhere you went, there was car guys and girls to talk too.

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Being so close to Chicago, Mr. Norm of the famous Mr. Norm’s Dodge in Chicago was on hand selling his wares, as well as signing anything put in front of him. Including a recently uncovered original Mr. Norm’s van with his last flopper (A ’75 Charger) painted on the side! It was mint inside and out.

There were plenty of food vendors, an onsite dyno that for $80, would get you two runs. The show was a blast. I look forward to it every year. Not just the incredible cars on display, but the friends I’ve made up there and the ability to sit down and enjoy their company.

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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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