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Cloning the "Pioneering Plymouth" ...a Barris Kustom 1953 Plymouth

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by xxwelderxx, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Little back story.....

    The year is 1954. A young man named Ed Sloan hands over his 1953 Plymouth 2dr Hardtop to Sam and George Barris. Several weeks later this car is delivered to Ed Sloan......

    [​IMG]

    Ed will eventually meet his future wife with this car and in 1961 he will sell the car to a man named Del-Rio in East LA. A year later Del-Rio is shot and killed. The car disappears. Ed doesn't see it around his neighborhood anymore.

    2006 I purchase a 1953 Plymouth 2dr hardtop. Like many of you, dreams of what I could do to this car run through my mind. I come across the July 1955 issue of R&C while searching for parts online. I purcahse the issue as it has a kustom 53 Plymouth in its pages. I need to see what it looks like. See what I could possibly do to my car to make it stand out from the rest. I needed IDEAS!!! So I get the little book and I fall in love with the car. The look, the stance, the way it just sits there and says "Im not just any old early 50s Plymouth!!!!!". I now have to find out what happened to this car. Over the past two years I have searched Plymouth clubs, Mopar clubs, the Barris Museum. And this week I was going to try the CA DMV.
    Now none of my searching turned up anything. Unitl one fateful night when I stumbled upon Ed Sloan's number. I called and left a message. 10 mins later....Ed returned my call. We talked about his car, what he did with it, where he drove it, what was done to it. We talked about life and good times. It was one of the more exciting moments of life. Mainly due to the fact that you could hear how happy he was to talk about the car.
    I have spoken to Ed in the last few years. To no avail we have not been able to locate the car.

    So here I am. I have a 53 Plymouth 2dr hardtop. I am in love with Ed's Kustom he once owned. I want to build a clone of his 53 Plymouth.

    I have seen other build clones of other kustoms. Are any liberties taken? Is the car built exactly how it was built then? Does one add things such as disc brakes to be able to cruise with modern traffic?

    I really would like to hear from people about this. I have questions about things such as. The rear windshield is plexiglass. I know it is very easy to scratch. Are there other options besides a one-off piece of glass?

    Thanks for reading and I look forward to your feedback.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  2. screwball
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,766

    screwball
    Member

    It will be your car so its up to you if Ed built the car today would he have used todays drive train and brakes. As for the rear window I would use a 49-52 chev or some thing smaller that could be fit into the rear. But if you want an exact clone then you are stuck with what he used or it will not be a clone.
     
  3. kustomsrule
    Joined: Sep 18, 2009
    Posts: 301

    kustomsrule
    Member
    from L A

    It's your car - do whatever you want with it. As a courtesy, I would never build an exact visual duplicate of another car, particularly if it was constructed by a well known builder. It sounds to me as if this car is no longer around and that you have attempted to verify this - so do what you want, it's your car.
     
  4. You may already have this pic, i grabbed it from another HAMB post.
    Good luck with it, i think that it would be a worthy project, nice looking car.
    Kyle
     

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  5. plodge55aqua
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,711

    plodge55aqua
    Member
    from Alberta

    That would be a cool project... make it work.. Thats a Nice car to choose doing as well..
     
  6. I think the colors are great on this car. Its pretty cool that in later pictures of this car its pin stripped.

    Also its pretty cool that the spot lights arent dummies
     
  7. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,388

    JeffreyJames
    Member
    from SUGAR CITY

    Definitely a car that stood out to me and I normally don't get into oddball shit. That car is so perfect the way it is that I don't think I would take any liberties. Do it exactly like he did it or as much as you possibly can stand...you'll be much much happier knowing that you were faithful to the original design. Much like restoring a Muscle car, Model A or a Historical Race car. It's not really right unless it's right....but with a custom, a few exception can be made but why change?

    PM Bloodyknuckles if you have any doubts about the abilities on a early 50's Plymouth. I believe there is two Wheel Cylinders in each drum or something like that. Anyways Boobie aka (Bloodyknuckles) has his shit pretty dialed in and I would trust my baby in that car. It stops like and champ and drives in the worst of traffic and never overheats and always keeps up especially with an electric overdrive tranny (which might be the only deviation from the original that I would contemplate if it didn't have one).

    I think you truly would be much happier with the exact copy of what the car was then taking liberties especially on aesthetics. Shoot for your car looking exactly as it does in that photo you posted and you'll know it'll be a stunner. Takes some of the guess work out of building a custom which is nice sometimes. Plus there's nothing worse then building something that you are proud of at first and then end up making excuses why you deviated here and there. Next thing you know you'll be tearing it back apart to do it 'right'.
     
  8. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,693

    Rikster
    Member

    Personally I would go for the first version with out the pinstriping. Like usual in the 1950's the new show season "demanded" some new updates and Pinstriping was a "cheap" way to "update" your car. But most of the time - and this is a good sample - it takes away from the real beauty of the car. I know its just my opinion. It looks like Ed changed the fender skirts as well on the striped version.

    As for the clone... yes please go for it. And get the outside and interior as close as you can get using all the photos from back in the days. But personally I would update the frame and possibly the engine to make it more reliable, or call it updated to safety standards of today. But not to much though. You don't want a Modern car!

    This is a sample of how you DON'T want to do it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  9. I actually dig cloned cars. Have fun with it!
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  10. I guess I need to see if Ed has pictures of the car he took himself. Im trying to figure out the interior. The yellow(i think its yellow) looks like leatherette and the green material is??????

    [​IMG]
     
  11. plymouth1952
    Joined: Jun 30, 2008
    Posts: 2,152

    plymouth1952
    Member

    the top looks like a post top with a nice chop I say this due to the B piller is so wide and the hardtop was around three inchs wide due to the three part window.
     
  12. Very cool Mopar, what city was that Drive-in Theater located?
     
  13. I believe that drive-in was located in Compton
     
  14. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,693

    Rikster
    Member

    Compton Drive-In Theater... Very Popular Barris Photo shoot location.

    THIS will be a good Hamb thread for you to look at... Junior Conway Clone being built.
     
  15. Rik...the link you posted is unbelievable!!! That guy has done an awesome job. That is exactly the major giddy up I need for my car. One thing Im not selling mine when im done. ha
     
  16. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,693

    Rikster
    Member

    This is the front of the theater (shown a bit in the Barris Photo) Only this photo is taken in 1977.. different colors!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. RPW
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 945

    RPW
    Member

    This is a very interesting subject and I guess there will be as many opinions as there are members of HAMB. My opinion? Use the very same combination of parts as the original custom did use. Even the same kind of paint and material for the interior, if possible. A modern frontclip and a smallblock chevy will give a different feeling than original frontend and the flathead six. Reliability is often mentioned as a reason, but were the original parts unreliable? I would say no. Its a matter of keeping the parts in good shape. I've driven many miles with 50's cars, and I had a few as daily drivers some years ago. No more unreliable than the new ones, and as a matter of fact I'm going to get my (unreliable) 2001 car replaced by a 1948 as daily driver...
    Parts may be rare but the search itself is part of the journey. You can build a custom using a modern drivetrain, brakes, electronics, modern tires and modern materials, and I'm sure it will look good anyway. But will it give the same feeling? No. Saying this I know a few historic customs that have been "updated" with sbc's and clips, I would never have done that. To me they have lost some due to that.
     
  18. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,693

    Rikster
    Member

    Very good points
     
  19. banditomerc
    Joined: Dec 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,637

    banditomerc
    Member

    yes,that drive in WAS in compton.long gone now.as far as doing your car as a clone,i am doing a " tribute "car to Ayala bros. by doing Gil ayalas '42(actually '46).I have taken liberties as far as suspension and drive train,but am try'n to keep the body and interior as close as possible to the original cars design.In the end,you have to feel it or it will be meaningless,Just my 2 cents.good luck.:cool:
     
  20. RPW...

    I am 110% sure that I am going to make this car as close if not exactly how it was built in 1954. Right down to the stock flathead 6. As per Ed...the car for for cruising, not for speed.
     
  21. banditomerc
    Joined: Dec 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,637

    banditomerc
    Member

    oh ya,there's a hambr currently selling a set of those tailights you need/better getum
     
  22. GEBHARD
    Joined: Nov 10, 2007
    Posts: 825

    GEBHARD
    Member

    Do it.............
     
  23. OK thanks Rik & banditomerc. Drive-in artwork, another piece of lost Americana!
     
  24. radio_king
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 395

    radio_king
    Member
    from Finland

    1953 Plymouths came with 218 flathead six,transmission options were three speed manual,overdrive or semi-automatic.I bet he kept the very reliable mopar flattie,maybe hopped it up some?What trans did he run??
    There`s nothing wrong with the original drivetrain,brakes or frame.I wouldn`t change a thing if it was there in the original version.Beautiful car!!
     
  25. Radio King....

    He did keep the flathead 6. And he sold it that way too. It also had the standard 3 speed. He never mentioned an overdrive.

    I could always punch out a 218 a tad bit.

    In 1953 Mopar had a 4:11 or a 3:73 rear in the cars as well. So I could always put the 3.73 in.

    He never hopped up the flatty though.
     
  26. radio_king
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 395

    radio_king
    Member
    from Finland

    Oh boy,I should learn to type faster!!:D
     
  27. radio_king
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 395

    radio_king
    Member
    from Finland

    You could use 230 flattie instead,the same block,just longer stroke.
     
  28. Very true. Very true.

    Hell I guess I would trade my 1954 Dodge Poly V8 for running flathead 230.
     
  29. SuperFleye
    Joined: Jul 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,758

    SuperFleye
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Kool project! When will you start it?

    And as RPW said, as long as the parts you are using are in a good shape they should do their job just as good as a newer part. The rearend is important though, it should be geared so you could drive normal on todays highways.
     
  30. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,693

    Rikster
    Member

    Here is a nice interior photo of the car. It looks like the bottom par (dark green is velvet or something similar. The top yellow, or perhaps yellowish green? is leatherette according to the article.

    This photo is s till from the excelent Barris Kustom Photography DVD made by Mad Fabricators Society.

    [​IMG]

    Photo taken at the Barris Shop
    And when it comes to how to built the clone... better listen to the others, and not to me... what do I know... I never built a real car!
     

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