Gallery: Giant Groovy Gathering at The 2019 Mopar Nationals

The largest event of the year for Mopar Connection Magazine is The Mopar Nationals held at the National Trails Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. We attend the show each year and are proud to say we have showcased a project car each year at a sponsor’s tent since Mopar Connection Magazine started. This year we were featured at YearOne’s booth with the Comeback ‘Cuda. YearOne was a huge part of getting the Comeback ‘Cuda restored to its glory. Aside having a constant stream of enthusiasts talking to us about the ‘Cuda, we survived one of the worst storms to hit the show in a while, caught some burn outs, cruised the Super Cruise and browsed a sea of incredible Mopars for three days.

We arrived on Thursday to get the Comeback ‘Cuda unloaded and ready for the crowds Friday and Saturday. Thursday had a few early birds roaming around for parts and racers setting up camp for the weekend. As the day was nearing the end, some rain started to move in and we rolled the ‘Cuda back into the trailer. We decided to wait the rain out, but we had an unwanted surprise waiting for us.

What looked to be a small pop up shower soon became closer to a tornado. Watching the storm from the show car judging tent, the rain started to pick up. We thought, “Hey, no problem.” Each year we seem to encounter bad storms no matter what the forecast states. It kept getting darker and the rain kept coming harder. The wind started to pick up and all at once the wind seem to pick up speed and came in sideways.

There was a small group of us and we all grabbed a post under one of the largest tents at the show. The wind was blowing so hard (we later heard reports of 80mph winds) it was pushing over smaller tents and creating chaos everywhere. We were doing everything we could to make sure our tent did not sail away. The stakes in the ground started to pull up along with the 4×4 posts we were holding on to. Luckily, it did not last long and the cars in and around the judging area were safe, but others were not so lucky.

Once the horrible storm passed, the rest of the weekend offered incredible weather, probably the best weather we have had at The Nats in quite a few years. The weather was perfect for having the Comeback ‘Cuda on display at YearOne’s booth. Our tech editor Mike Wilkins was around all weekend to answer questions. The car is stunning to see in person and knowing each step of the way was documented right here on Mopar Connection Magazine is awesome. We hope the car inspired a few enthusiasts over the weekend to get back on their projects or go find one.

The Nats is a very family friendly show that offers something for everyone. Whether you are a racer, looker or finding parts for your Mopar, The Nats has it all and its all in one spot. The drag racing is definitely a huge part of the show. They have classes for everybody from classic stockers to modern Mopars and everything in between. Drag racing starts early and ends late each day. Depending on the weather they might even spend all night racing.

The amount of Mopars that show up for the Fun Field is always impressive. Walking through the vehicles it is always interesting to see how far some of them travel to the show. Although some may travel by trailer, we see more and more being drove hundreds of miles to make the show. The lengths some of the modern Mopar owners go to customize their cars is incredible. The style and taste might not be your cup of tea but, you have to give credit when credit is due. You can see the variety of Mopars in the gallery below.

As always the swap meet was packed with parts. We kept hearing a few years ago that all the rare stuff was gone and parts were drying up. Well, this year would make you think twice. Sure not every rare part that you need was there but we saw a lot of great stuff. From Hemi blocks to true number matching AAR ‘Cudas and more. The one thing we could not find at a fair price was a deck lid for our Project Zombee. If you know of one please throw us a line.

Walking through the car corral and swap meet parts made us realize that the classic Mopar muscle is still going strong. Everyone has their doubts that the muscle cars and vintage stuff is or will die off soon but we beg to differ. There are still plenty of great parts available for restoring your classic Mopar used or new through companies like YearOne. If you do not have a vehicle the car corral had everything from low buck to high dollar number matching cars. Whether you’re young or old and looking to get into a classic Mopar, The Nats is a great place to start.

The burnout contest has become such a popular event at The Nats each year that this year they decided to do one on Friday and Saturday. We missed out on the Friday show but caught all the action on Saturday. You can view the whole contest on our Facebook page, we streamed it live. From father and sons doing back to back burnouts to sideways trucks about ready to take us out, there was plenty of smoke for everyone. We happen to grab a few photos of each of the contestants too.

The peak of The Nats comes Saturday night. After the show lets out Saturday, everyone heads into Buckeye Lake area for the Route 79 Super Cruise. The route flows from Heath all the way to Buckeye Lake. It is not a far drive from the track and enthusiasts get to see some wild rides drive up and down route 79. Many of the cruisers like to slip the clutch, jam the brakes and mat the gas to create gobs of smoke for the crowds.

All night long you can hear tires squealing and see smoke rolling. There was a rumor that the local police were paid to look the other way during burnouts. Whether they were paid off or not, we did not see many of tickets given to Mopars.

During the Route 79 Super Cruise the local Dodge dealership, Tri-County, clears their lot to make room for Mopars. They normally offer some food for the Mopar drivers and have live band and some giveaways during the evening. The parking lot is always packed. It is fun to talk a walk through as we stumble across some Mopars that we do not see at the show.

Sunday is the last day for the show and normally pretty quiet. Majority of the crowd are packed up and headed home before noon. We stayed around till YearOne packed up their trailer to head back home. Once again the show was a success and we cannot wait to come back again next year. We might have more than one project car to show off next year and who knows what else. Enjoy the massive gallery and if you did not come this year, mark it on your calendar now for next year. 

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Gavin Wollenburg

Gavin grew up around Mopars in his lakeside home in Ohio, his father showing him nearly everything he needed to know about haulin' some serious rear in his '72 Dart Swinger. Since then, he's made his little A-Body a serious autocross contender and regularly shows the modern boys how an old Dart does it!

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