August 11, 2013

Mopar Week organizer hopes to start new tradition in Myrtle Beach

Imagine the fun that the late Walter P. Chrysler would have at “Mopars at the Beach.”

Imagine the fun that the late Walter P. Chrysler would have at “Mopars at the Beach.”

The second annual Mopar Week, touting the name of the Chrysler company’s parts and service division and honoring the various makes from the Chrysler wing of Detroit’s historic Big Three automaking giants, begins Monday with daily events such as cruise-ins and a classic and muscle car show, spread across the Grand Strand through Sunday. Proceeds will benefit Wounded Warrior Project, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based charity that assists injured service personnel and veterans and their families.

Jeremiah “Frog” Jones of Columbia, the Mopar Week coordinator and event administrator, said he had visited a Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach a few years ago, and that prompted an urge to start an event last summer to promote cars from the Chrysler umbrella that he said has included such other nameplates as Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep, Eagle, AMC, Imperial and DeSoto.

Jones said helping man events at the Darlington and Rockingham speedways, he was eager to start Mopar Week, and praising its many sponsors including Arrington Performance of Martinsville, Va., and myriad other supporters, he wants to build this into an annual tradition and the biggest Mopar event in the country.

Question | What refueled the tank to bring Mopar Week back to the Grand Strand for a second summer in a row and a vacation for the whole family?

Answer | If you’re going to have a multi-day event, and you’ll have men, wives and kids, you have to have stuff for everyone to do. ... I enjoy doing it, and I hope all the businesses benefit from it. Last year, it was six days; this year, it’s seven days, a full week. You come down and relax, and have a good time and enjoy yourself. It’s not costing an arm and leg to do things, and only some events cost money.

Q. | How did helping Wounded Warrior Project become part of the benefits of revving up Mopar Week?

A. | Five years ago, we were having an event at Darlington and doing a raffle. The guys asked, what are we going to do with the money? I wanted to have something to help the troops. ... That’s the best thing.

Q. | How does spreading Mopar Week events at sites across the Grand Strand make the overall event more lively and variety oriented? Does it make all the participants feel like they’re part of a special family for the week?

A. | I believe so. ... We try to make sure everything is different. ... It’s spread out enough. During the week, you’re not going to have a ton of people down there. ... But come Friday, that’s when everybody is piling in there. Myrtle Beach is tourist-driven.

Q. | What is it about cruise-ins that hit home more than ever that spirit and feeling from an age when American cars sported the most style?

A. | Most of these guys ... and especially now, with more muscle cars coming out, they give guys a chance to park their cars and show them off ... and sit and talk all day. That’s pretty much all it is, just shooting the breeze. ... With muscle cars, half are new and half are old. You’ll have some older guys buying the new Challenger because that’s what they had 40 years ago. ... Some of those guys have serious money tied up in those vehicles ... so people want to show off what they do.

Q. | Are there particular cars that are most popular or trending at such a show?

A. | There’s not one particular vehicle. With Mustang Week, it’s all Mustangs, but with Mopar ... you have so many different vehicles that Chrysler has been a part of.

... Even with the rain we had last year, we still had 104 cars in the show, and half were new, and half were old.

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