For many people, particularly those of us back at Chrysler headquarters in Metro Detroit, the spring season is most often associated with the transition from cold, winter weather to warmer days and sunshine. For certain car enthusiasts in Southern California, where it seems the sun is always shining, spring has come to signify the return of something much cooler than warmer temps: the annual Spring Festival of LXs, aka Spring Fest, a car show in Irvine, California, celebrating the Chrysler Group’s LX rear-wheel-drive platform (think Chrysler 300) and the culture of customization that surrounds it.
This year marked the festival’s eighth year in existence, and one of its most successful. At Friday night’s kick-off party hosted at a local hotel, LX owners from as far away as British Columbia parked their cars, popped their hoods and set up camp chairs, creating a friendly, inviting atmosphere that facilitated conversation among the many car fans milling about the hotel parking lot. The good food, palm trees and calypso music (overwhelmed occasionally by the roar of a HEMI® engine) only added to the stellar vibe of the party.
On Saturday, March 23—the day of the main event—more than 1,000 car owners and countless other mod enthusiasts gathered at the Great Park in Orange County to revel in the custom Chrysler 300s and other modified vehicles on display, namely, Dodge Chargers, Challengers and Magnums.
The event started early, with an impressive (and patient) lineup forming on the road outside the park. As event organizers directed traffic, moving first a 300C, then a 300 SRT8, then a Dodge Challenger R/T into place, row upon row began to fill up with incredible-looking cars, until finally, at around 10 a.m., Spring Fest 8 was in full swing. Disregarding LAX and maybe the closest military base, there was at that point probably no greater collection of pure engine power amassed in one place in all of Southern California.
Chrysler Brand President and CEO Saad Chehab and SRT President Ralph Gilles were in attendance, and both spoke to the enthusiastic crowd, thanking them for their fervent support of LX platform and Chrysler Group vehicles in general. Beyond these speeches, however, and not counting the pulled-pork lunch provided to all by the Chrysler Group, there was relatively little in the way of set programming. The focus here was on the cars, and it seems that everybody from casual fan to Chrysler Brand CEO was eager to walk aisle after aisle of custom vehicles, admiring the time, innovation and love that so clearly went into every one.
Keep an eye on the Chrysler Forward Look blog for more on Spring Fest 8. In coming days, we will post a Forward Look Photo Album featuring more photos from the event.