When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.
Originally used in the 1920s, Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It was also widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s – the muscle car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "Special Parts" for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.
Mopar has passed into broader usage among car enthusiasts as an unambiguous reference to the Chrysler parent company, as the Chrysler name also refers to a company brand. The term has thus become an inclusive word for any Chrysler-owned brand, but generally any Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, Imperial, or DeSoto, and later American Motors (AMC) or Jeep, vehicle. Thus, for example, a car club for owners of any Chrysler Corporation vehicle might describe itself as a club for "Mopar enthusiasts."
The term Mopar is most closely associated with the muscle cars produced by Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth during the 1960s and into the early 1970s. They were famous for the wide selection of engines and carburetor combinations available for their cars. Class "LA" engines included the 273, 318, 340, and 360, and were predominantly used in the base model cars. Class "B" and "RB" included the high performance engines including the 383, 400, 413, 426 wedge, 440, and 426 Hemi. The 440 engine was available with a single four-barrel carburetor (magnum) or three two-barrel carburetors (six pack). The Hemi (named for its hemispherical combustion chambers) still serves as the pinnacle of power in Mopar automobiles.
Mopar being Sold?
Cerberus Capitol Management is now engaged in contract talks with the United Auto Workers as it looks for ways to cut costs. Cerberus my close Chrysler's Mopar Performance Division and Chrysler Transport. The union is reportedly opposed to the sales for fear of job losses; the units employ roughly 1,300 unionized workers. Chrysler's four-year contract with the UAW expires on September 14. Analysts are saying that the sale of the units would allow Cerberus to focus on Chrysler's core business of making cars and trucks, and help raise much-needed cash.