Mopar is part of Chrysler, supplying components and aftermarket equipment for vehicles that come under the company’s umbrella. In the past, Mopar has been associated with many forms of traditional American car culture, like drag racing and muscle machines. But the 2011 Detroit auto show saw it embracing the new wave.
As the 2012 Fiat 500 moves ever closer to Chrysler showroom floors (Fiat took over the reins of Chrysler last year), Mopar has performed its own take on this retro-styled subcompact. Buyers wanting to customize the outside of their new Italian rides can choose from a chromed exhaust tip, a chrome-effect fuel flap, chrome-effect covers for the side mirrors, black wheels, offset body stripes, even a snowboard rack. To help accessorize the interior are door kick-plates with the 500 logo, black/blue leather trim, plus gearshift and handbrake levers made of carbon fiber and with leather gaiters.
Mopar has also turned its attention to the 2011 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan (successor to the Sebring). This Super S example is finished in two-tone black and tungsten, with 19-inch alloy wheels, a deeper front lip and rear valance, aerodynamic sill cladding, rear spoiler, a suspension dropped by three inches and a front strut tower brace (for extra rigidity). It was prepared especially for the Detroit show to illustrate just some of the possible personalization options. The grille has also been swapped for a gloss back mesh unit, while the interior is re-upholstered in black and blue leather.
“With our company’s launch of 16 new vehicles, Mopar is coming to the party with a truck-load of accessories,” said Pietro Gorlier, president and CEO of Mopar. He really means it, since Chrysler’s Detroit stand also plays host to the 2011 Jeep Wrangler “Call of Duty: Black Ops” edition, inspired by the video game of the same name; a 2011 Ram Outdoorsman with equipment designed to appeal to the hunting, fishing and camping crowd; a 2011 Dodge Durango with bike and kayak carriers, plus internet access, and the Mopar Ram Runner -- an all-wheel-drive, Baja-style, desert racer. And just to underline the fact that the Ram Runner is an actual competition machine, Chrysler decided not to clean it for the Detroit show stand, but leave it in all its muddy glory.
COLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.