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Plymouth, Dodge, Fargo, DeSoto, Chrysler, Imperial, Maxwell, Chalmers,  
Jeep and Eagle & related Automobiles.     All Mopar /  All Years /  All Models     




    2012 National Meet: July 11-14 - Kalamazoo, MI     (photos following article!)

The National Meet this year was hot, hot, hot! We had very warm dry weather most of the week, we had a really big turnout considering the last few years and we had a really spectacular group of Mopars on hand.

Registration began at the host hotel, the Sheraton Four Point (name change from our original host hotel) on Tuesday afternoon. 170 members checked in before the evening was over, a very large number for the first day of any WPC National Meet.

Due to the large number we had to split the morning tour to get everybody into Kellogg Manor the summer home of w.K. Kellogg. Kellogg Manor is a Tudor style home on the highest point overlooking Gull Lake. The Manor House has been restored to its original glory and is used by Michigan State University as part of its Biological Research Center at Hickory Corners. The group got guided tours of the house, seeing it as w.K. Kellogg saw it.

We regrouped at the Black Hawk Tavern on the other side of Gull Lake for lunch. The original Black Hawk building had been a stage stop between Kalamazoo and Lansing. The food was excellent and the location was very close to our next stop.

The next stop was the private collection of the OFF Brothers on the south end of Gull Lake. The private collection has an eclectic feel reflecting the personal tastes of the personalities of the owners of the collection. One is into really fine classic and brass cars and the other is into fifties cars and unusual cars (the Isetta and the stubby VW come to mind). When we arrived we left no uncovered area in their parking lot.

From here we headed north to the Gilmore Car Museum to tour the library and participate in the regular Wednesday night cruise in. The library was started in 2006 with the very generous donation of the literature collection of Chuck Jensen, a name many will remember for his tireless work for the WPC Club. Chuck passed away shortly after our 2006 meet in Williamsburg, VA Lois made the donation in Chuck's name. The Gilmore used it as the nucleus of the library which has grown to over 250,000 pieces since that time. This was also the opportunity to show off the new library in the Gilmore Heritage Center. The library and archives constitute 5,700 square feet of temperature and humidity controlled area for the proper storage of printed materials providing an area for reseachers and restorers alike and do research relating to the history of the automobile.

Outside in the meantime the first of over 100 more local cars began arriving for the cruise, mostly non-Mopars, I did see several other WPC Members come in for the evening. In the end we ruled the evening providing nearly half the cars for the cruise night. It was nice to see so many Mopars there.

It was a busy day filled with all kinds of sights and it was all within sixteen miles of the hotel.

Thursday would also take in many interesting sights, but the drive was much further.

We lined up early at the hotel and after a change of lead car, due to water pump failure on a modem Chrysler product, we headed to Holland, Michigan about 65 miles northwest of Kalamazoo. In Holland we went to the VerHage Chrysler Museum to see approximately 30 Chryslers, Plymouths, and DeSotos collected by Lloyd and Norm VerHage. The cars ranged from a 1928 Plymouth numerous Barracudas, a late model Chrysler Sebring Convertible to 3 1949 Chrysler Town & Country Convertibles. From Holland it was south to South Haven for lunch and then on to the Red McFadden Collection. Red who is the Chrysler/ Dodge dealer in South Haven is another longtime WPC Member. Our cars filled the parking area quite nicely and those of us needing a lift were shuttled over to his bam on golf carts by members of the Airflow Club. Red has at least half a dozen Airflows in his collection plus numerous other Mopars and a few non-Mopars as well. Outside we had the opportunity to look at the new 2013 Dodge Dart and several other nice new Mopars.

After another full day it was back to Kalamazoo and a relaxing evening with fellow Mopar owners.

Friday was not nearly as taxing with a tour to the famed Air Zoo in their new facilities just a few miles from the hotel. The collection of Warbirds is outstanding and there are also spy planes and space exhibits and simulators and all kinds of things to spend a day learning on and enjoying.

In the afternoon we had a small but very successful swap meet.  Friday evening the Town and Country owners went to Henderson Castle for a French Cuisine Dinner and had a great time. We had 11 Town & Country's from 1941 - 1949 present this year plus 2 of the K Car Convertibles in attendance as well.  

Saturday it was get up early and get to the Gilmore Car Museum ahead of everybody else to attend to all the last minute details of a National Meet. The attendance grew to over 270 WPCers at the show at Gilmores. We spread out between the CCCA Museum and the Blue Moon Diner, with the Commercial Class over by the Shell Station.

After a really great show it was off to the awards banquet. The banquet got quite large and the hotel did an excellent job of putting 230 people in a room designed for 200, it was a little cozy but not bad.

The class winners and big winners are pictured as well as most of the other cars present.

I need to thank many people for helping make this a successful meet. The WPC Club Board Members, Bill Adams Jr, Ken Angyal, Greg Biskey, Sandy Hummer, Paul Niles, Don Piscitelli, Wayne Simonson, Bob McClure, Barb Weiser, Kevin Swarms, Peggy and Bob Toothman for a myriad of chores. Matt at OFF Brothers and his staff, Red McFadden and Lloyd VerHage for opening their private collections. Jay Follis for

being the official meet photographer, Terry Williams and Ken Angyal for additional photography. All the members who helped count ballots and park cars. The staff at Kellogg Manor, and Black Hawk for accommodating nearly twice the agreed upon crowd. The staff at Gilmore's for providing me with wheels (a GEM car, also a Chrysler product) on show day and for all the support. Mark IIes for bringing the 1949 Chrysler T & C and 1970 Dodge Challenger belonging to Bill Parfet for special exhibit, and to all the WPC Club Members who came to the meet without whom it just wouldn't have happened.

See you next year in Minnesota!

Other winners:

Chrysler Cup - Bill Given - 1935 Chrysler CZ Deluxe Presidents Cup - Maurice Van Coillie - 1962 Plymouth Sport Fur; The Lee Iacocca Award - Ralph Meilander

Hard Luck - Jack & Marge Hetherington 1929 Chrysler 75 David G. Briant Award - Lloyd VerHage & Red McFadden National DeSoto Club Special Award - Richard Bowman Post National Board Member - Barbara Meilander