Find or Sell any Parts for Your Vehicle in USA

Mopar salutes Don Garlits and muscle-car past as it eyes global future

Tue, 31 Jan 2012

Mopar made its name in performance and parts, but Chrysler's aftermarket division is staking its future on practicality.

The brand celebrated its 75th anniversary on Tuesday at the Mopar engineering lab in Center Line, Mich., just north of Detroit. While it rolled out four custom cars with various stages of show-and-go upgrades and drag-racing legend Don Garlits, Mopar officials were decidedly forward-looking. Its products are now sold in 120 countries, and there are more than 500,000 parts and accessories available.

The division also has been creating cars, including the 2012 Mopar 300, which was revealed as part of the anniversary celebration. The 300 was preceded by Mopar-tuned Dodge Chargers and Challengers.

“What started out as a single name for antifreeze in 1937 is now a global brand,” Mopar CEO Pietro Gorlier said.

Greg Migliore
Mopar continues its tradtion of competition with sporting versions of the Challenger.

Mopar is the key source of parts for the Fiat/Chrysler alliance brands, making it one of the quickest divisions of the group to integrate resources. A spokesman declined to say whether Mopar is profitable or specify sales figures, citing competitive reasons.

Mopar also linked up with Fiat unit Magneti Marelli, which allows it to service and supply dealers with parts for non-Chrysler cars. The global nature was underscored with the Fiat 500, which had more than 150 Mopar accessories available at launch.

The division is still perhaps best known for its muscle cars of the 1960s, but Gorlier said it's focused on growth with modern features, including methods of engine tuning, apps for smartphones and even apparel to raise its profile with consumers in dealerships.

Greg Migliore
Top Fuel legend Don Garlits was on hand to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Mopar--and his 80th birthday.

Still, Gorlier was quick to note that Mopar embraces its history, and Garlits--winner of three NHRA titles and 144 events--was on hand as proof. He just celebrated his 80th birthday, and he was partial to the tuned 300 on display, which can run to 60 mph in the low five-second range.

“This is my pick, Hemi black,” he said.

By Greg Migliore