Top Eliminator

New Jersey Man Wins Honor

Larry Jewett - July 18, 2012 09:11 AM


Rich Gengo's 1951 Dodge will be at SEMA this fall.


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Rich Gengo of Piscataway, New Jersey, was named the third of four 2012 Mopar® “Top Eliminator” winners for his 1951 Dodge pickup truck at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Gengo was recognized in the Dodge Showcase display area during the three-day event.
The long-running Mopar “Top Eliminator” program shines a light on passionate and dedicated Mopar enthusiasts who display unmatched skill in modifying or preserving a classic or modern-day Mopar vehicle. Gengo will be honored by having his 1951 Dodge pickup showcased in the Mopar display area at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, Oct. 30–Nov. 2, 2012.
“Congratulations to Rich Gengo for being named the third Mopar ‘Top Eliminator’ winner of 2012,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Rich’s pickup will be a great addition to the Mopar display at SEMA, and adds variety to the muscle cars from our other two winners.”
Tom Ledoux of Pearland, Texas, was chosen as the first 2012 Mopar “Top Eliminator” winner for his modified 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8® during the Seventh Annual Spring Festival of LXs in Irvine, Calif. Neil Wedeking of Marble Rock, Iowa, was named the second 2012 Mopar “Top Eliminator” winner for his 1970 Plymouth AAR ‘Cuda during the 28th Annual Midwest Mopars in the Park car show in Farmington, Minn. The final Mopar “Top Eliminator” winner of 2012 will be selected via an online competition, with details released at a later date.
Gengo devoted five years to restoring the 1951 Dodge pickup, which he purchased for $75, from an ad in the newspaper. One of the major modifications he made to the truck was to shorten the bed in order to put longer fenders on the frame. The truck, painted in Intense Blue, has a butterfly hood, which is the feature of the truck that originally caught Gengo’s attention when he was a teenager. On the interior of the truck, Gengo rearranged the original gauges, in addition to adding air conditioning.
“I’m ecstatic to be named the Mopar ‘Top Eliminator’ winner at Carlisle,” said Gengo. “The best of the best were on display at the event. My wife asked me what’s next and I told her that there is no next. This is the top. There is no going up from here, and you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
While working on his 1951 Dodge pickup, Gengo found many of the parts and pieces he was looking for at swap meets. He utilized numerous Mopar parts when completing the Dodge truck, including a Mopar 400-engine, a Mopar 727-transmission, Mopar electronic ignition, valve covers and air cleaner.
The Mopar “Top Eliminator” program, now in its sixth year, shines a light on passionate Mopar enthusiasts who display unmatched skill in modifying or customizing a classic or modern-day Mopar vehicle. Mopar “Top Eliminator” candidates are judged on a number of criteria, including Mopar content, overall appearance and additional benchmarks.
Further details of the online competition will be revealed later in the year on Mopar’s Facebook page,, and on Mopar’s Twitter handle, @OfficialMopar. Twitter users can follow the hashtag #TopElim for program updates.