Collectors Corner: Mopar
By Michele Alice
When Chrysler acquired Dodge in 1928, the Chrysler Motor Parts Division was formed to supply the growing company, and the division's logo was a simple circle enclosing the letters C, D, P, and D (for Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, and DeSoto). It was not until 1937, in a campaign to market antifreeze, that it was suggested that the words MOtor and PARts be combined to form the MoPar brand.
Several redesigns of the logo eventually led to the introduction of the Omega M in 1964 and the change from MoPar to Mopar. It was also around that time that Chrysler began marketing vehicles with high-performance engines and customizers' "Maximum Performance Packages," all designed to appeal to "regular guys."
The popularity of both "muscle cars" and the special Mopar service and parts packages quickly led to the adoption of the use of the Mopar name to indicate, primarily, high-performance vehicles, but also any car ever manufactured by the company. In common parlance, Mopar had become synonymous with Chrysler.
And that is why you will find today Mopar clubs and magazines devoted to various vehicles. And Mopar auto meets and auctions. And even Mopar collectors of Matchbox, Hot Wheels, and other die cast toys. But perhaps most important to those in possession of original Mopar parts are Mopar owners and restorers of classic models, some of whom are willing to pay premiums for NOS (New Old Stock) or rare items, such as:
- a used 1941-48 Dodge Ram hood ornament for $170;
- a NOS 1935-50 Mopar choke assembly for $229.33; and
- a NOS 1969 Dodge Superbee grille and headlamp bezel set for $1750.
(All are recent final online auction prices.)
So the next time you're hitting those yard, rummage, and estate sales, or picking over the contents of an old barn or garage, keep an eye peeled for the Mopar logo: who knows, you might hit pay dirt. (By the way, in Canada, the Mopar brand was marketed under the Chryco and AutoPar logos, so you might want to keep an eye out for these also.)
Would you like to find out more about Mopar or the world of collectible cars and car parts? Check out the resources listed below and
Brightwork: Classic American Car Ornamentation, by Ken Steacy
Classic American Car Parts: A Picker's Guide to Buying and Selling, by David H. Lehr
The 1970 Hamtramck Registry - Includes some Mopar accessories catalogs from the period.
Chrysler Group LLC - Site offers Chrysler/Brand Heritage timelines from 1846 to present, and Chrysler Historical Services including Build Cards, Owner's Manuals, Photographs, more.
The Meaning of Mopar: It Wasn't Always About Power - Detailed history explains change of meaning to include cars.
Mopar and Mopar Logos: An Illustrated History - Check here to determine the timeframe of that old Mopar item you picked up at that estate sale.
Mopar Celebrates 75th Anniversary - September 2012 press release about the genesis and history of the brand.
Mopar Collector's Guide Magazine - Emphasis on muscle cars.
The WPC Club - Named after Walter P. Chrysler, club has regional and overseas chapters, publishes WPC News magazine, hosts various forums. Site is worthy alone for the extensive links list.
About the author:
Michele Alice is EcommerceBytes Update Contributing Editor. Michele is a freelance writer in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. She collects books, science fiction memorabilia and more! Email her at makalice @ adelphia.net eBay ID: Malice9
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