Club History

  The idea and discussions of the possibility for an Inland Empire all-Mopar car club first came about in 1993, when Sam Frisby met Tim and Nita Cline at the Fontana Days Car Show. Shortly thereafter, Sam met Bill and Debbie Whitson at a Rialto car show, and then met Mike Bildt through a business card left on a windshield at an early Route 66 show. Then Sam Frisby and Mike Bildt met Kelly Molnar at a swap meet at the Orange Show, and talks about a club became more serious.
 
  The Redlands Optimist show in July of 1994 was to be the birth place of the club. There were a number of really nice Mopars at the show that were lost in a sea of Fords and Chevys. Among them were Sam Frisby with his beautifully just-painted and restored 440—powered 1970 Plymouth GTX, and Tim and Nita Cline with their cool 1971 383-powered Dodge Challenger drop top. (Their car had a very limited production, being only one of approximately 225 built with a 335-hp 383 plus power windows and a cassette player.) Bill and Debbie Whitson with their absolutely gorgeous black-on-black 1964 Plymouth Fury with a hopped up 383 for motivation was also there. Another cool looking machine was Ron Borden and his late wife Rita’s hot looking 1969 383, 4-speed, matching numbers Plymouth Road Runner. Another Mopar owner was Kelly Molnar with his super clean 1966 Dodge Charger with a 383 for power. There was Mike Bildt with his just finished spectacular totally restored 1969 Dodge Charger 440 motored machine. Last, but certainly not least, was Ed Brown with 1969 Dodge Dart with a slightly warmed over 440, which made for a fairly hot ride. It had the appearance of a beater with worn Surf Green paint and a flat black hood with limited interior. It was definitely not in the same class as the others.
 
  With Mopars definitely in the minority, one person had the idea of uniting all the Mopar owners at the show, to form a club of dedicated Mopar owners who were into the preservation and restoration of Mopar-built vehicles. That one person was Sam Frisby. No formal club meetings were held at this time, but we were content to gather at local cruises. Two months after the Redlands Optimists show, we all parked together at the 1994 Route 66 Rendezvous in downtown San Bernardino, where we were approached by Ron Williams, another Mopar owner. Ron owned a Loves BBQ restaurant in Riverside, and he suggested that we hold the club meetings at his restaurant (an offer we were to take at a later date). No formal club meetings had been held as yet, as we were content to gather at local cruises. Ron and Rita Borden put out the first couple of one-page newsletters, which were a treat to read.
 
  December 11, 1994 was the first official Inland Mopars Car Club meeting, and was held at Ron Williams’ Loves BBQ restaurant in Riverside. The entire original group showed up, plus several new members, which put the total membership at 20 diehard Mopar fans. Kelly Molnar became the first club president, but after several meetings vacated the position. Ed Brown became club president for several years after that. Dues were set at $5.00 per car, putting a total of $100.00 in our soon-to-be-opened checking account (February 1995), and it continued to grow as new members came into the club.
 
  The club name, Inland Mopars, was decided upon. A club logo was hammered out by all in attendance and a decision was made to have club t-shirts, hats and jackets made.
 
  During the next several years we, as a club, were content going to the weekly cruises and annual car shows. As the club continued to grow, a suggestion was made to hold an all-Mopar show. There were already two all-Mopar shows (one in Orange County, and the other being the Spring Fling in the San Fernando Valley), but nothing in our area. Cindy Schlesser volunteered to be the chairwoman for the first event, named “Mopars in May,” and held in May, 1998. Crafton Hills College, having beautiful grounds, was picked for the event. The show only had 65 cars, but we considered it a success for a first time event.
 
  Over the years, Inland Mopars membership continued to grow and so did its reputation as the premier all-Mopar car club in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. The club also continued to hold an annual all-Mopar car show at several different locations within the Inland Empire, with the proceeds from the car shows supporting a number of different local charities.
 
  Several years ago Inland Mopars Car Club selected the California School for the Deaf in Riverside (CSDR) as our chosen charity. The annual all-Mopar car show on the lawns at CSDR quickly became a favorite annual event for Mopar owners and fans from all of Southern California, drawing participants from San Diego to Central California, as well as Arizona and Nevada. The car show grew to also include vendors, a swap meet (for both Mopar parts and cars), a huge opportunity drawing for show participants and attending Mopar fans, as well as a craft show from students and supporters of CSDR. Proceeds from the annual car show directly benefited the students of CSDR.
 
  In 2006 the club membership decided to build a charity project car to further benefit CSDR. A 1967 Dodge Dart was chosen and purchased. Over the next several months, this humble Dart was transformed into an outstanding show-quality car, complete with an all-new drive train consisting of a 360-cid small block, new Torqueflight transmission and 8.75 rearend, custom two-tone paint and all new interior. A number of aftermarket companies supported our project by contributing parts. The labor was all-volunteer time from the club members working in one of our member’s home garage. Raffle tickets for the Dart were sold from the time the build started, and all proceeds from the raffle were presented to CSDR. The winning raffle ticket was purchased by a gentleman from Southern California.
 
  The initial charity project car build was so successful that it was continued for the next two years. Our 2007 charity project car was a 1968 Plymouth Valiant that was purchased in Arizona and driven back to the Inland Empire by two of our club members. When finished, the Valiant featured a 400-cid big block, 727 Torqueflight, and 8.75 rearend, custom two-tone paint and all new interior. But this build went even further with the Valiant getting all new custom coil-over front and rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. As before, raffle tickets were sold, but this time the sales went international with advertising on the internet. Again the winning ticket was purchased by a local Southern Californian.
 
  Our 2008 charity project car was a 1970 Dodge Dart that was purchased as an unfinished project. It had already been painted Plum Crazy purple, but was powered by the venerable Slant Six. Again, our project got a power boost, this time by a Paxton-supercharged 360-cid small block, new 904 Torqueflight and 8.75 rearend. Prior to installation of the new drive train, the engine compartment was painted to match the exterior color. Changing out the black bench seat interior for bucket seats with new white upholstery and a new white vinyl top produced a striking color combination. As with both of our earlier charity projects, all of the work was performed by club member volunteer labor. This time the winning raffle ticket was purchased by a winner who lived in Las Vegas. He and his father were attending the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield when he got the telephone call letting him know of his lucky day. They immediately left the Reunion event, rented a car trailer and drove to the Inland Empire to pick up the car.
 
  The proceeds from our charity project car builds in 2006, 2007 and 2008 were presented to CSDR and became their single largest yearly benefit projects.
 
  Fast forward to present day, and our Inland Mopars Car Club is recognized as one of the pre-eminent all-Mopar clubs in Southern California. In addition to our annual car show, which continues to benefit CSDR, we also are key participants in the following internationally known events: the Grand National Roadster Show (Pomona, CA), the Moparty At The Strip (Las Vegas, NV), and we’ve been chosen as the official Host Car Club for National Muscle Car Association events in Southern California. We also participate in both the Spring Fling and Fall Fling all-Mopar events, and support other Mopar car club events in Southern California and the surrounding area.
 
  Thank you for your interest in Inland Mopars. Please contact us directly if you have any questions or if we may be of further service. We look forward to you joining with us in future activities.