Who would have thought that HEMI Highway would encounter the worst weather of the entire trip in Southern California? Certainly not us, but thats precisely what happened 13 of rain in three days, to be exact. But that didnt stop Dodge fans and members of So-Cal Challengers from braving the elements to see Dodges latest.
On Friday, December 18, we showed up at Bobs Big Boy in Burbank, California. Bobs is an institution in Southern California, known for being the oldest Bobs Big Boy restaurant in the United States and host to regular cruise nights including the Dodge Engine Block Party in December of 2009.
We were excited to be at Bobs and even more excited to meet the members of So-Cal Challengers, one of whom, Co-President Dave McIntosh, helped arrange the entire event which was co-sponsored by So-Cal Challengers and Hurst Performance
Daves story of how he came to be the proud owner of his 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T involves the one and only Bob Frederick and former Dodge Charger/Challenger Brand Manager Mark Mallie (now with Ram Brands Commercial division). I was having trouble finding a Challenger in my area and I heard about Bob on ChallengerTalk.com, Dave told us. I gave him a call and he got in touch with Mark Mallie, who was able to put a rush on my car. I was even able to follow its build progress online, and 25 days later it was here! Dave is now a proud member of the Frederick Scat Pack!
Dave and fellow Co-President Jeff Lowe helped form So-Cal Challengers, now the largest Dodge Challenger club in the world, back in 2008. Several So-Cal Challenger owners talked about starting a club on the forums. Eleven of us got together at Cars and Coffee in December of 2008 and the club has grown ever since. We have close to 60 members now, said Dave.
Jeff is the proud owner of a souped-up (thanks to the expertise of Southern Californias Stack Performance) 2009 Challenger SRT8, but when he helped form So-Cal Challengers, it was still on order. I come from a Bowtie or Die family, but when I saw the Dodge Challenger for the first time, I fell in love!, he said. Once I drove the Challenger SRT8, I knew I HAD to have one of my own. Jeff was determined to have a Bright Silver Metallic Challenger SRT8 with the 6-Speed Tremec manual transmission. In Jeffs mind (and many other performance car enthusiasts out there), An automatic transmission in a 425 horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT8 would have been sacrilegious. Because there were no Challengers meeting Jeffs requirements immediately available in Southern California, Jeffs Challenger required special ordering. It was entirely worth the three month wait, arriving just days before Christmas, it was the perfect present!
View footage of Jeff and his Challenger at the 2009 Dodge Engine Block Party here:
And other So-Cal Challenger members at the Engine Block Party here and here.
We were bowled over by the support we received by So-Cal Challengers members who braved the elements on multiple days to be present for HEMI Highways So-Cal stops. Dodge Challenger enthusiasts like Challenger SRT8 owner Jesse Iwuji made the trek from as far as San Diego for both the event at Bobs Big Boy Friday and out to Beach Burger in Huntington Beach, CA that Sunday.
Current Dodge Charger/Challenger Brand Manager Marc Seguin came out to HEMI Highways So-Cal stops and spent time chatting with enthusiasts eager to get official answers to their most burning questions. Marc was more than happy to answer questions and listen to input. He spent a great deal of time at each event checking out enthusiast vehicles and listening to stories.
Drawing to close with some of the worst weather California has seen in over a decade, one would think that the HEMI Highway Tour came to an end on a dull note; instead, the outpouring of support and enthusiasm demonstrated by members of So-Cal Challengers made the outpouring from the California sky seem meager by comparison. Many thanks to members of So-Cal Challengers for keeping the HEMI Highway Tour afloat with the buoyancy provided by their unending passion.