It’s hard to believe that Spring Festival just completed its 10-year anniversary — with its greatest event to date this past March. Spring Festival was created to bring owners together to share their passion for the LX platform, and continues to do so through multiple social channels. What started out as a meet and greet with just four Chrysler 300 owners back in late 2004 has grown to a mega meet with just over 1,000 owners of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, Challenger and Magnum (no longer in production). It was early 2005 when I met Scott Brown of FCA (Chrysler Communications), who was astonished by what we were doing with our meets, and the rest is history. We have partnered with the FCA California Business Center and FCA Corporate every year since to bring the owners and our passion together at the premier Chrysler enthusiast event in the country.
Today the essence of Spring Festival is still the same: bringing owners together to share their passion for the brand. It doesn’t matter if their cars are stock or wild, they are all here to meet each other, check out the cars and meet FCA leadership. Most of our core group of organizers has been with us since the beginning. We have Jon Welfringer (JonW), the only member who has been to every Spring Fest including the very first meet of just four owners. Tom Gifford (TMagnum), who along with Jon started our host club SoCalLX, and is an instrumental part of the group. We added Pedro Murillo, President of Dallas/Fort Worth LX (DFWLX), who assists with or social channels and keeps our information current. Lastly there is myself, John Fortuno (fatchance), and I coordinate with the FCA California Business Center, FCA Corporate, aftermarket vendors and the hotels.
This year’s 10-year anniversary Spring Fest was held in Irvine, CA, and brought together enthusiasts from 28 states, Canada and as far as Europe. Surprisingly, while not all drive their cars to the event, about 90 percent drive or ship them from all over the country. Spring Fest is a one-day event, but has grown into more of a vacation for most, with activities beginning on Thursday prior to the event. We have grown to a point that we now have a host hotel and a secondary hotel, and occupy nearly 400 rooms for the weekend. There is a gathering on Thursday night, a kickoff party Friday at the host hotel and the main event on Saturday. For many this is that one time a year that we get to catch up with old friends and make new friends.
We had a mix of FCA product on display, and Dodge had a ride-along in the Viper and SRT® Hellcat for the attendees. We also had roundtable discussions with members of FCA’s Design, Engineering, Brand and Communication teams talking one-on-one with the owners. The roundtables and Spring Fest in general have influenced future models, and that influence is evident in today’s models. There were also over 30 aftermarket vendors displaying products for the platform.
This year the Chrysler brand showcased select 2015 models with product specialists on site to provide relevant feature information. The display was crowded with enthusiasts all day as they saw the new 300 firsthand and learned about the new car. We had a Chrysler VIP area for owners of modified Chrysler 300s to display their passion and the endless possibilities to customize the 300. Chrysler had a film crew on hand to interview selected owners to find out what it is about the 300 that drives their passion for the brand. These 300s, which included both first- and second-gen models, were a reflection of their owners’ unique personalities.
We kept one surprise for our official welcoming announcements. We revealed the first modified 2015 Chrysler 300S: fatchance 3 (FC3). The reaction of the crowd was awesome as it was rolled out from under the main stage between fatchance1.0, a heavily modified 2005 Chrysler 300C, and fatchance2.0 (FC2.0) — the only 2011 Chrysler 300C with a supercharged 426 (7.0L) HEMI® V8 in existence.
My build partner Brett Graves and I collaborated with Chrysler to push the limits with the newest 300 as our new canvas. With just a week and half to work with, we called in some great friends to help us get FC3 completed. We did basic modifications with window tint, an air management system that raises and lowers the car, and custom wheels and tires. Our friends at Mopar® supplied us with some great performance parts, coil-overs, cold air intake, sway bars and a strut tower brace. We pushed it down to the wire to complete FC3 in time for Spring Fest 10, but our goals were exceeded. We will now prepare FC3 for SEMA 2015.
The best way to describe Spring Festival: It’s an experience. The cars, the people and the passion are what continue to drive its success.
See you at Spring Festival 11