Sunday 16th October, Museum of Fire, Penrith
Photos by Bruce Rayne
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve probably been to the All Chrysler Day at least once. And if you’re a Chrysler die hard, you probably go every year. Prior to this year’s event, my last visit was back in 2013, and even then it was only as a spectator. And I don’t think I was the only one who had started to lose interest in the All Chrysler Day. I don’t have official numbers, but all you needed to do was look around to see that attendance had dwindled over the last few years.
This is just one man’s opinion, but the event had very limited appeal. Even if you walked around at a very leisurely pace, you could take in pretty much all it had to offer in about an hour, and then what? Grab a bite to eat, catch up with some friends for a chat, and then head off. Pretty much the same cars each year, and a trophy judging system that I’ve never been able to make sense of.
So when I heard that the event would be moving to the Museum of Fire at Penrith for 2016, I was keen to have a look. It showed that the event organisers were looking for a way to make improvements, so I decided to show my support by participating.
The Regals had a solid turnout at this year’s event, meeting at the westbound Caltex service station on the M4 at 8am. After about 20 minutes of chatting, we departed for the Museum. It was a quick drive to Penrith, only to arrive at a long, snaking queue of cars waiting at the Museum entrance, and not much in the way of urgency from those who greeted us at the gate. With room for two lanes of cars entering the premises, I was baffled by the way they kept us all in single file (keeping the exits clear for… no one).
I was initially greeted by someone who provided me with details of the event, and took my entry fee. Then after crawling a little closer to the gate, I was greeted by another person who gave me all of those details for a second time, then handed me my entry wristband. I couldn’t help but feel that this process was running way slower than needed. Especially when the traffic jam started spilling out onto Castlereagh Rd. A little later in the day we heard that it had got so bad, they were turning some entrants away and asking them to park in the Penrith Station parking lot.
We eventually got inside, drove into the main paddock of the museum where we were greeted by… no one. No parking marshals anywhere. We quickly asked around to see if the club was supposed to park somewhere specific, but nobody seemed concerned, so we parked wherever we wanted.
I quite like the Museum of Fire (especially given our club’s past association during the Mopar Rumble days), but if there were any people out there who thought that moving the event was a bad idea, the stinking hot weather and lack of shade would give them plenty of ammunition. I’m sure the covered area at Fairfield would have been a lot cooler. But there was no denying that the change was a very positive one, with numbers noticeably up on previous years.
There were a couple of food vans set up, and an ice cream truck (that provided me with one of the most disgusting ice creams I have ever eaten. Thanks for the empty calories you arsehole!). Pinky was there with his bloody awful music, piped through the loudspeakers at an intolerably high volume. The event entry fee included a free visit to the Museum, and I saw many people taking advantage of this added bonus. It’s a great museum, but I suspect many were just trying to escape the heat.
A few of us headed out the back entrance of the museum grounds and took a short walk to the local Thornton Artisan and Farmers Market a few blocks away on Aviator’s Way. The markets are only on once a month, but they just happened to coincide with the All Chrysler Day. We grabbed some lunch and some fresh produce and then walked back to the museum.
All in all, I think the All Chrysler Day 2016 was definitely an improvement on previous years. Having said that though, the processing of entrants was unnecessarily inefficient, and despite the added appeal of the new venue and a huge selection of fantastic cars on show, I was still ready to go home half way through the day. I think the event needs a bit more substance to try and keep people entertained for a full day.
The 2017 All Chrysler Day has already been announced for the 15th of October, and will be at the Museum of Fire again.
Here is a small selection of photos from the day.