The Larsen Mopar Story
I think Merriam-Webster may have described me in just one word, crazy! - being out of the ordinary, distracted with desire or excitement, absurdly fond, or passionately preoccupied. Here is my story!
From the day I learned to walk, I was always curious about cars. There is a picture of me at about 2 years old in a diaper helping my family wash the 1985 Dodge Caravan, that I still have today. As the years went on I began to fall in love with Hotwheels. I began collecting them throughout my younger years and treasuring them as if they were real cars. Then gradually I began collecting larger scale models. To make a long story somewhat short I ended up with about 2500 Hotwheels (still in packages) and 100 car models. So as I became of the driving age my parent asked me what kind of car I wanted, well looking back over the years the 1985 Dodge Caravan was always there, by this time it was starting to look its age and have some problems. So I told them that the van is what I wanted. This is where the car journey began. I bought a Haynes Repair Manual and a set of tools and began repairing what I could. The larger repairs that needed to be made were done by Stan McCulloch Dodge where they allowed me to go back and work hand in hand with the mechanics and learn hands on. Well we got the van in tip top shape, got it painted and the interior redone and that is what I drove throughout high school. Throughout high school I subscribed to all the car craft, hot rod, automobile, and mopar magazines that I knew of, but this was just not enough. Well it was one nice spring day when coming home from school that I spotted what I knew was a Mopar of some sort. So the days went on and on and then one day that Mopar had a For Sale sign on it, I knew that it was for me. Needless to say, I came home with a 1973 Dodge Dart 340 Sport all original, numbers matching, 52000 mile car that day, and I was still a Senior in high school. At that point I did not know just what I had gotten myself into, the car was great, needing nothing, and as I was driving around the thumbs up and honking horns just really made me happy. Then at the Point Mallard Car Show in May of 2001, my first car show, I had an older gentleman come up to me and ask if that was my dads car, and I quickly responded, no sir, that is my car. His eyes got big and he said, "son you really have you something there". As the college years came the Dart got lots of attention around the Mississippi State University campus, the campus police and the state troopers really enjoyed it!! While I was home from college one summer I met the most understanding young lady on earth. I graduated college, we got married, I accepted a job in Memphis, TN, and so the Mopar story takes another turn. While working in Memphis, Dodge reintroduced the Charger. Well I just had to get one. I did not just want a normal run of the mill Charger, I wanted one that in 30 years would be something that Barrett-Jackson himself would want for his personal collection. So I spent the money and got a brand new, limited edition, 2006 Charger Daytona, the purpose of buying this car was to keep it in mint condition forever. Well as jobs go, I accepted a job back here in Decatur, AL, so we came back. At this point there is alot of talk around the country of junk car laws and car shows and car clubs not doing much any more, so I got with a bunch of my Mopar buddies and we began talks of the Decatur Mopar Club. The club was formed and car shows and cruise-ins were started here in Decatur. As if five cars were not enough, my lovely wife who deals with all this car talk and work day after day said, I want a old car to go to shows in too....so one day traveling through Sommerville, AL I spotted out of the corner of my eye, a 1974 Dodge Charger, to make a long story short, 2 days later it was in my garage. This story can continue on for many many pages, I have highlighted some of the major points along the way. I started my Mopar and car hobby with a odd little 1985 Dodge Caravan and have ended up with some very valuable pieces of Mopar Muscle history. I have read and listened, gotten my hands dirty and greasy with top Mopar mechanics and Mopar personalities. I have books, magazines, and articles on about everything that has to do with anything Mopar. It is amazing how I started this journey only 8 years ago knowing very little, to now being able to take an entrie car apart and put back together, having people come to me and ask my advice, and being able to confidently tell them the correct way to restore their Mopar. I cannot seem to drive by any old car lot, junk yard, or even old cars parked out in front of peoples houses without stopping and seeing if by chance there is that certain piece of Mopar history that I could salvage. People ask me how in the world I have come to love Mopars so much, the only thing I can tell them is "if you have to ask that question then you have never had a Mopar" that seems like such a dumb answer, but it is the truth. When a piece of history; Mopar, Chevy, Ford, etc. sits in your garage and you had a hand in bringing it back to its original glory, there is no other feeling in the world that can compare; when you fire that V-8 up and rumble down the road. Well I have gotten myself all hot and bothered writing this so I am going to the garage to fire one of these Mopars up and do a burn out down the street. Please keep the car hobby alive whatever brand you prefer, because as long as I have the money and am able I will keep on buying and restoring these Mopars!!!!!!!