Nothing in the world gives you a better sense of the passion that drives Dodge more than the annual Spring Festival of LXs held in Southern California.
The event started in 2005 with a little more than 40 Chrysler and Dodge cars that share the same basic platform, most notably the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger.
Now drawing visitors from as far away as Australia, the festival has evolved into a powerful celebration of the quintessentially American brand. Roughly 80 percent of the 1,100 or so cars displayed at the 2016 event, held at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim, were badged with the performance nameplate.
Featuring everything from heavily souped-up Chargers to stock models of the new 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat, the Spring Festival is basically a high-revved, three-day tribute to Dodge. But it’s as much about the people who attend the event as the sheet metal.
“There’s something unique about these cars that really draws people together,” explains John Fortuno, the event’s founder and organizer. “You would think that after 11 years a show like this would have grown stagnant, but is hasn’t. It’s a bond that people share for the cars that continues to draw more owners together.”
Frank Valilar, who attended Spring Fest with his 2015 Challenger Hellcat, summed the event’s appeal up in three short words: “It’s like family.”
The festival is also frequented by top Dodge execs, who draw inspiration when designing productions cars like the special-edition Dodge Charger and Challenger SXT Blacktop models.
Mark Trostle, head of Dodge and SRT Design, says Spring Fest has become a hotbed of ideas for the Detroit-based carmaker.
“There’s this visceral, infectious thing that goes on here that just kind of feeds the Dodge brand and we really connect to it,” says Trostle, who has attended Spring Fest for seven years. “I take a tons of photos and show them to every single guy that is working on our products. Not everything we see we can use. But it’s that love and creativity that I try to convey to the guys… so they can feel that passion.”
Even if you aren’t a fan of Dodge or car shows, Spring Fest is still something to behold. And while nothing compares to taking it in first-hand, the photos here provide a good sense of the innovative ideas that help shape the brand. Enjoy.