Open Menu
Open Menu

’50s Mopar wagons shoot it out in the desert

Published in

Rick and Laura Griffin’s ’52 Dodge Sierra in the far lane versus Larry Underwood’s ’51 Plymouth Suburban in the near lane. Photos by Laura Ball Griffin

Inspired by our piece “Suburban Simplicity” (Hemmings Classic Car 143, August 2016), Laura Griffin, of Reno, Nevada sent these photos of her husband Rick racing their 1952 Dodge Coronet Sierra station wagon (as seen in “Grabbing Life by the Horns,” Hemmings Classic Car 122, November 2014) against fellow Battle Born Mopar Club member Larry Underwood in his 1951 Plymouth Suburban.


Each year the Top Gun Raceway in Fallon, Nevada hosts the Mopar Invitational, which includes an all-Mopar show. Each car entered has the opportunity to make a pass down the race track. This year, the club and track promoted this “Battle of the Wagons” race between the two similar cars.


The pictures and the timing slip tell the tale: The Dodge’s semi-automatic Gyro-Matic transmission was no match for the good, old-fashioned “three on the tree” in the Plymouth. Certainly the Dodge’s 6 hp and power advantage didn’t sufficiently offset its 611-pound weight penalty either.

Timing Ticket

A re-match has already been announced, with the Griffins taking a five-second handicap when these two Mopar haulers return to the track August 27.

Thanks for sharing with us!