Staying on Track: Mopars in the Park: Swap Meet Update

There is nothing more American than a muscle car, so that is why my husband, Mitch, has always been a Mopar enthusiast. In fact his entire family has enjoyed a Mopar or two, which happens to be the reason for acquiring his first Mopar, his brother Tim’s 72’ Plymouth Duster. Throughout the years Mitch has entered his 440 Duster in drag races at the infamous, Brainerd Race Track. Mitch has no doubt passed the passion down to his nephew, Matt, who now races his Cummins Dodge every year so this truly has become a family affair.

Mitch has been attending the Mopars in the Park Car Show and Swap Meet for as long as I can remember, for the past nineteen years he has never missed one. Mitch and I would participate in the swap meet as an effort to acquire car parts for his then 340 Duster alongside a few friends of ours and turned this event into annual Mopar memories! As the years flew by, so did our priorities, and we soon started bringing our daughter and it became a family affair. In fact every year we never left the show without buying a graphic t-shirt for Rebecca and ensuring our representation of our enthusiasm towards Mopars from Extreme Motorsports, a sponsor of the event.

In recent years this event has changed a little, Mopars in the Park has become so big that they out grew Raceway Park in Shakopee, and now have the show at the Dakota County Fair Grounds in Farmington, Minnesota. . It has been a “man weekend” for a while now, with a couple very close friends and Mitch’s two brothers and nephews attending every year now and camping there.

“What happens in Farmington stays in Farmington!” So it took a little effort to get the details of last weekend’s getaway! However, I was able to persuade him to give me a few details about the swapping.

1. What was the most exciting thing to happen this year at Mopars in the Park?

For me, I’d have to say the sales I made. I was nervous about spending the money on a swap spot just to sell items ranging from $3 to $50. I soon learned my passion for collecting these Mopar toys over the years was shared by many. It also didn’t hurt that every time kids walked by with their parents they ran to my area and usually never left without a “hush the kid up” purchase. I went there with six large totes and a box full and came home with three totes. Total sales netted around $800 for our much needed savings account.

2. Describe the best part of Mopars in the Park? Anything new? Also could you please explain the Dyno? What does it feel like to do a burn-out?

I’ll address the burn out first. Pure and simple adrenaline. When your vehicle makes enough power to spin the rear tires from a dead stop, your “ burning out”. When you enter a contest, you do everything you can to go as long as you can and make the most smoke. When one or both tires blow, or pop, the crowd goes crazy. My best friend Jim won this contest last year in a bone stock, 200,000 mile 2001 Dodge Ram. Pretty much every other contestants car was nicer, cooler, more powerful than his. But with a pair of old hard weathered tires, an open exhaust, and all of us cheering he took home $1000 first prize! He announced to us he would buy a good portion of the next years beer with the winnings after the contest. Good guy.

As far as the Dyno, they bring in a portable chassis dynamometer, which is basically a flat bed semi trailer converted to a dyno. The other kind of dyno reads horse power right off the crank, which is a more accurate reading. The chassis dyno you drive the car over the rollers, strap the car down to the unit, and spin the rear tires on the rollers which will give you a “horse power at the rear wheels” number. You’ll lose around 20% of your actual engine horse power reading on a chassis dyno from it going through the drivetrain.

3. How successful were you in selling your unique collection of model Mopars? Are you coming back next year? Most importantly, what do you think you’re going to do with the money earned? Would you recommend this type of venue to others?

As I stated in the first response, the selling went very well. In answering these questions I’m betting my wife didn’t realize I would say the selling was my most exciting moment of the weekend. For now question one and three appear a little redundant! (HAHA)

Absolutely we will be back, as we are every year. I believe it would be my 20th. When I returned Sunday evening, the first thing I did was give the wife all the money for the savings.

As far as recommending this event, well come on! In a world that has turned to eBay and Craigslist for selling everything, a swap meet is a welcome change in selling items. Don’t get me wrong, I have bought and sold many things from both of them! But you can’t sit and have a few beers with friends and family and meet and talk with fellow enthusiasts and shake hands after a sale sitting at the computer.

And where else would you see rare and powerful Hemi cars, six pack cars, wing cars, original old race cars, they are things you only see in magazines or big name auto auctions on TV!

So you see, Mitch had a goal in mind and I would have to say he achieved it. And as he mentioned money earned goes into our savings towards our goal of downsizing and owning our home one day mortgage free. So that in the future we can return to doing what we love the best: enjoying our family and friends and making Mopar memories as Mitch returns to drag racing his Duster!

Happy Blogging, Enjoy!

Slide Show: Mitch’s Swap Meet Space


Look to Midwest Mopars for history and founders as well as upcoming events of Muscle Car Beauty


4 thoughts on “Staying on Track: Mopars in the Park: Swap Meet Update

  1. Pingback: Breathing New Life into a Pace Arrow | Simple Northern Life

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