Lee Hallquist, who owns five 1966 Dodge Chargers, plus a 2006 model, is a longtime member of the 10,000 Lakes Region chapter of the national Walter P. Chrysler Club because, he explains, "People in this club drive their cars. In some other clubs, many people talk about how fast their cars would be - if they drove them."
Three members of the national club, including Greg Biskey, launched the regional chapter 11 years ago so they could offer local events and enhance networking among enthusiasts of Chryslers and the many brands produced by Chrysler Corporation. Biskey, who collects Chryslers exclusively, certainly qualifies as an enthusiast. He not only owns one of the very first Chryslers, a 1924, but he also has a Chrysler for every year of the 1930s except 1935, as well as models from every decade through the 1970s. "I fell in love with the looks and mechanics of Chryslers and I stuck to them because," he notes, "there's only so much room in the barn."
Husband and wife Garry Yazell (president) and Mickey Dunning (secretary, newsletter editor) currently preside over the club's 65 or so member families, most in the metro area. Members are interested in Chryslers, Dodges, Plymouths, Jeeps, DeSotos, Hudsons, Nashes, Maxwells and AMC vehicles. Yazell describes the club as family oriented. "You can bring the kids and grandkids to events," he says.
The club's annual all-Chrysler and Chrysler products show, at Wagner's Drive-In in Brooklyn Park in early June, is free to spectators. Most proceeds from the fees paid by the vehicles that enter the show go to the Lee Iacocca Found-ation to help diabetes research. The club also puts on spring and fall cruises and various social events. It sponsored the national club's meet in 2003, which is when Yazell, owner of a 1957 DeSoto Firedome, which won awards at a recent national club meet, learned of the region.
Yazell, who says he got his car because he was "interested in fin cars," notes that his DeSoto has a Hemi and "can fit six people in its trunk." He likes the fact that it allowed him to get involved in the restoration process because his search for parts involved visiting a lot of what he calls "candy stores."
National membership isn't required but is encouraged. Most members of the local club own Chrysler products (some restored, some street rods, some new), but the group also includes "non-Chrysler" members.