AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
- Eighth edition of 'Top Eliminator' program encompasses 'HEMI® Heritage' in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 426 Race HEMI engine
- 2014 'Top Eliminator HEMI Heritage' winners picked at the 'Mopars in the Park,' Carlisle Chrysler Nationals and the NHRA U.S. Nationals events, with fourth victor to be selected online
- First two Mopar customized and performance vehicle contest winners to be displayed in the Chrysler Group's space at Metro Detroit's Woodward Dream Cruise, on Aug. 16
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic 426 Race HEMI® engine, the Mopar "Top Eliminator" program has added a "HEMI Heritage" component to the 2014 edition of the competition that recognizes the most skilled Mopar enthusiasts and their restyled, accessorized and performance-enhanced Chrysler Group LLC vehicles. The first two of four winning selections from this year's contest will be featured in the Chrysler Group LLC space and Mopar display at the upcoming Woodward Dream Cruise in metro Detroit.
This is the eighth year Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand, has held the challenge to help shine a light on passionate and dedicated muscle car enthusiasts who exemplify unmatched skills in modifying or preserving a classic or modern-day Chrysler Group vehicle.
Mopar "Top Eliminator HEMI Heritage" candidates are judged on a number of criteria, including Mopar content, overall appearance, contribution to the 50-year heritage of the 426 HEMI, as well as additional benchmarks. A panel of Mopar representatives choose the winners, selected from candidates at three different events.
Two winners have already been selected from Mopar "Top Eliminator HEMI Heritage" competitions that were held at the 30th Annual "Mopars in the Park" car show in Farmington, Minn., in June, and at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, Pa., in July. Another winner will be chosen from among the competitors at the prestigious National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) U.S. Nationals event in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the end of August. A fourth and final 'Top Eliminator HEMI Heritage" winner will be chosen by Mopar's social media community from online submissions in October.
The winners selected from "Mopars in the Park" and the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals will be honored by having their vehicles showcased in suburban Detroit on Aug. 16 at the Mopar display area for the renowned Woodward Dream Cruise, one the largest car shows in the world and one of the best places to be for true heritage, muscle and dream vehicles.
"It's really amazing to see how Mopar enthusiasts have embraced the 50th anniversary of the 426 HEMI engine and that is reflected in our choice of winners in this year's HEMI Heritage edition of our Top Eliminator program," Tricia Hecker, Mopar Marketing Director said. "Not only are we excited to bring and show off these beautiful vehicles to the Woodward Dream Cruise, but we are proud to share the hard work and passion the winners have put into them with the entire car community."
Patrick O'Leary's 1968 Plymouth Road Runner with a 426 HEMI V-8 won the first "Top Eliminator HEMI Heritage" trophy at the annual Midwest Mopars in the Park. The 53-year-old resident of Lino Lake, Minnesota, has owned his Road Runner for eight years, restoring it in 2011. Painted Matador Red, the vehicle has an automatic transmission with column-mounted shifter and O'Leary says he puts about 1,000 miles a year on it. It currently has 48,000 miles on the odometer.
"This car is not a trailer queen," says O'Leary, who plans to hold onto the Road Runner until 2018, the car's 50th anniversary. "If I can't drive it, I don't want it."
The second winner, chosen at the annual Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, is a 1969 Dodge Super Bee with a 426 HEMI V-8 owned by Ron Dezsi of New Boston, Michigan, who bought it in July 2004 from the original owner. Dezsi, a 54-year-old retired contractor, purchased the limited-edition car, which had originally been bought to drag race, after it spent 17 years sitting in a garage with a spun bearing in the engine.
The '69 Super Bee had the 426 HEMI, a four-speed transmission and Super Track Pack Dana 60 4.10 rear axle and came with a white exterior/white interior color scheme. Dezsi spent 10 years gathering parts, rebuilding the HEMI engine and restoring it to stock specifications. It currently has just 10,000 miles on the odometer and made its public debut at the Autorama show in Detroit this past spring.
The third Mopar "Top Eliminator HEMI Heritage" vehicle selection will focus on the top performance rides racing down the quarter-mile track at the NHRA U.S. Nationals Aug. 27 to Sept. 1. Mopar will recognize a Sportsman racer who competes in a Chrysler Group vehicle with the "Top Eliminator HEMI Heritage" trophy. The winner will be determined using similar criteria as the first two, but will add consideration for an entrant's personal expression in modifying a Chrysler Group LLC vehicle that competes on track during race weekends.
A fourth vehicle will be selected via an online competition, allowing enthusiasts to upload images of their personal Moparized ride with a vote selecting the fans' favorite among electronic submissions.
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes 280,000 parts and accessories. With the creation of the industrial alliance between Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A., Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar's global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories that are distributed in more than 130 markets. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group brands as well as Fiat brands.
Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
- Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with customers
- Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format. First to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
- Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
- Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
- Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
- wiAdvisor: first to provide factory-connected tablet technology in the service lane for instant vehicle diagnosis
- wiTech: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
- 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car
More than 75 Years of Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked for antifreeze product in 1937. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s – the muscle-car era. The former Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "special parts" for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use. The brand has expanded to include technical service and customer support.
SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC