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39 Plymouth coupe build thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by c-w-a, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    My 39 Plymouth coupe had a carbed V6 from a Dakota. My 48 has a fi v6 from a Dakota. Think I might like to try turbo charging one. its a nice compromise between the stock flat head and a V8. I just don't open my hood at most shows. It isn't pretty under there anyway.

    My car IS traditional. Its built with what I had on hand or I could scrounge up, and most of it is over 20 years old. Gene
     
  2. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    I have reread the "Read this First" post, regarding the "traditional" nature of this forum. And, admittedly, I apparently did not know what was meant by the word "traditional". It is becoming clear now, that certain parts of my build might not fall into the "traditional" category.

    Why I came here, and made me post up here, instead of somewhere else, is that it seems like a place with a lot of knowledge to share. And when I was browsing the builds, I liked the looks of the cars. I guess I didn't take note of the lack of EFI, really didn't even notice.

    I'm here to build a car myself, not to have a car built to my specs, by someone else. It will be all steel, very original looking, and I want it to run and handle well, and be safe and reliable to drive anywhere. I live at 7700' above sea level, and any trip from my home involves major elevation changes, mountain passes, and remote- no cell reception- driving. Also, the town of Gunnison has no salvage yards, the nearest one would be a 2 hour drive. I have to do most my knowledge gathering & parts shopping via the internet. There is no car "scene", and I'm a bit of a slave to the internet to find information and ideas. These are all things that will play into my build. If I'm in the wrong spot, I'll kindly move on. If I can keep getting valuable info here, I'm happy to keep posting up.

    Chad
     
  3. 4woody
    Joined: Sep 4, 2002
    Posts: 2,108

    4woody
    Member

  4. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    Thanks that's a great thread, really helps me.

    Chad
     
  5. BettyBlue
    Joined: Dec 21, 2008
    Posts: 377

    BettyBlue
    Member

  6. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    Those are cool looking shock mounts.

    Thanks
    Chad
     
  7. BettyBlue
    Joined: Dec 21, 2008
    Posts: 377

    BettyBlue
    Member

    Bolt on, weld on... Fixes your shocks in the front. Mine go on with new springs next weekend...
     
  8. Modeljunkie
    Joined: Sep 25, 2011
    Posts: 279

    Modeljunkie
    Member

    Three things-
    1- cool car!..my uncle had a 39 plymouth touring{4 door}...which leads me to the next one..
    2- "coupes" had a 1 piece rear window...sedans had the 2 piece set up.
    3- There's a 40 plymouth social group here that your welcome to cruise thru..even join as we have some other years added to it too.


    BTW...you don't want to know what the front trim strip lil badge goes for usually...$250-$300 in ok shape.
     
  9. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    I'll check out the social group. I think I've been lucky, I just picked up an emblem off ebay in really good shape for $100.00. It should arrive any day now. I saw a company that re-enamels emblems and it looks like they sell for $250+

    On Saturday I get my storage locker and plan on moving my car into it. Once my car is stored, I'm going to get the "pile" of '39 stuff from Crested Butte, bring it home and clean it all up and get it into storage.

    I worked at a bodyshop for 4 years, today I stopped by and asked them to do spray out cards for a few of the original paint colors. The paint rep happened to be there, and he's going to look up the old codes and get the new mixtures to the shop.

    I like the Amphibian Green, Gunmetal, Silverwing Gray, and the Beige Metallic. But I'm just looking at a paint chip sheet, on my computer screen. I can't wait to see the real paint samples.
     
  10. Modeljunkie
    Joined: Sep 25, 2011
    Posts: 279

    Modeljunkie
    Member

  11. You have lots of options re drivetrain. The MOPAR flat sixes are very reliable and parts are easy to find. Tho you won't have the horsepower, you will have the cool factor. I have hopped-up flatties in my '39 and '46 Plymouth coupes. Maybe a flat6 with a T5 trans?
     
  12. Hi. Welcome. Looks like a good solid starting place. You might go over
    to the P15-D24 Forum (for 40s-50s Mopars)......many stock, but some
    are not. You can lurk, or join, but I think you may need to be a member
    to use the search feature. Look for back posts by Don Coatney, who has a DeSoto six
    and T5, plus later model Mopar rear end in his 48 Plymouth.

    He posted lots of pictures of his build....the deal with the DeSoto and
    Chrysler flat sixes is, they are 2 inches longer than a Plymouth motor....
    therefore require some minor surgery to install. Sounds like you already
    have the skills to do that. He can drive his car, which also has dual
    carbs, split manifold, and a little lumpier cam....anywhere he wants to go.
    At highway speeds. Link to the forum.......

    http://www430.pair.com/p15d24/mopar_forum/forumdisplay.php?f=2
     
  13. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    I spent some time last night and read through a thread here that involved a flat 6 & S-10 -T-5. I think it was anythinggm's thread. I also got 1/2 way through another 30 page Plymouth build thread. I'm defiantly in the "search" mode of my build. Building up a flat six would be cool.

    I love reading through the build threads. It really helps me visualize the changes/problems I'm going to face. Since I've never taken one of these cars apart, I don't really know anything about them. On the other hand, describe an Early Bronco part or repair, and I can tell you just how to do it without running out and staring at my truck.
     
  14. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    I've been reading up on build threads of some of the guys who have posted up here. They have been great help getting ideas of what I'm up against.

    I've got all the 39 Plymouth parts down from Crested Butte. I've got a coupe body, in poor shape, a sedan body with the roof cut off. There are some parts from a 4 door, but the body went to scrap years ago. There is also an extra chassis. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the bodys if they don't sell quickly. I really don't have space for them, I'd hate to scrap them but I may have too. The coupe body may be too far gone, but there are a few salvageable parts.

    I've got a few real nice body panels & trim pieces I'll save for my build, and I got the center grill trim, but its kinda banged up. I was glad to read that they can be reshaped & fixed. I kind of feel like hording the nicest pieces even if I don't need them. You never know...... I do have too much now and will have to sell off some of the pieces I won't be using.

    The last 2 pics are of a chrome cap of some sorts with a Plymouth ship, I can't figure out what it is. Any help?
     

    Attached Files:

  15. haul'n ash
    Joined: Aug 24, 2008
    Posts: 38

    haul'n ash
    Member

    Congrats on your '39 finds. A few answers that I can help with. In most cities long ago, it was against the law to exit from the "street" side of a car because that is considered jaywalking. Also many cities had street cars and the tracks are usually close to parked cars. So no need to put a lock on the drivers side.
    I have a '39 coupe that I rebuilt with a 318 and 904 auto trans thirty years ago. A few years ago I switched to an 833 overdrive 4spd trans from an 80's pickup, which I like a lot.
    When I rebuilt mine I wanted to keep things simple and "unmodified" appearing. Some things that I did were:
    Use a '67 & up Dart/Valiant left exhaust manifold as it wraps around the steering column.
    Locate the engine one inch to the passenger side (Darts/Valiants did at factory).
    Cut the column cover off below the firewall for clearance of the exhaust.
    Moved the radiator forward one inch in it's brackets for more engine room. There is room in the nose.
    Use a truck oil pan and pickup screen as it is a rear sump.
    I used a 273 water pump and pulleys for another one inch of room in the engine bay.
    An "E" body (cuda/challenger) rear will sit on the stock springs.
    The '39 speedo cable connects to the transmissions I've mentioned.
    I mounted a '68 mustang/cougar steering box with some fabrication. Also here, the '39 pitman arm fits on the mustang box with slight modification. I installed a Cavalier rack kit on another '39 a sedan, with pretty good results. The downfalls were mounting the pump higher on the engine. Also the turning circle is a bit smaller.
    Also on the sedan I slit the inner corners of the toe bulges on the firewall, and pushed them in, trimmed the excess and welded them back up for engine room on that car (the engine was already mounted when I got that car). That enabled the use of the standard 318-360 waterpump and pulleys.

    P.S. I know some mopar guys who made their own EFI, and they run great with good mileage. And have an air cleaner just like a carb does.;)
    Plenty of folks here bend the rules. And plenty of good folks here have good advice.
    This is your car to build the way you want! Enjoy it and good luck!
     
  16. haul'n ash
    Joined: Aug 24, 2008
    Posts: 38

    haul'n ash
    Member

    If you have a pair of front inner fender to radiator panels to sell (the curved ones behind the grilles) I am interested.
     
  17. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    Thanks for all the info & detail.

    I think an auto OD is the way to go too. I was offered a fairly fresh 440 but would have to sell off some of this before I could afford it. I'll keep my eyes open for a 318, probably much easier to fit.

    Can the stock radiator be used with a bigger V8? Can it be cored with a thicker core? The tank is huge, compared to the honeycomb. I have 2 originals I'm wondering if I should keep them.

    I'm going to go through the fenders and decide what I'm keeping. I know I have a couple of those shields. I'll send you pics when I decide what to sell, in the next day or two probably.
     
  18. 4woody
    Joined: Sep 4, 2002
    Posts: 2,108

    4woody
    Member

    I believe that chrome cap in post #44 is your horn button.
     
  19. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    Oh yeah, I figured out its a horn button from a 49-50, not my 39.
     
  20. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,713

    n847
    Member

    I'd be interested in that horn button if you decide to get rid of it! If not I don't blame you!
     
  21. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,777

    RodStRace
    Member

    Sounds like you are going through the learning process a lot of us have on these ol' Plymouths.
    I'd post links to specific threads here, but you should read them all and get all the info, good (most of them) and bad ( a couple threads wander off into nothing).
    I will mention that the hard parts and the new seals can wait until you find a deal or are ready for them. I've got seals still wrapped up that are 15 years old!
    Unless you are going to really hustle on this build, just do the research and figure out what your plans are. While the supply of trim and other stuff is small, there isn't the demand like a Willys so you should be able to get everything at some point.
     
  22. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    I have a lot to learn. I don't know anything about cars this old, and I don't know much about Mopar. So I have to learn about motor & trans choices too. Going through this pile of cars & parts has really been good to learn how everything is built. I get to see how body panels & the frame looks, and compare it to my "complete" car. I've figured out that I'm missing some parts.

    I think with the parts cars I bought, I have most everything "Plymouth" I could need and more. I'm going to keep an extra of every part I can, and sell off everything else. My pile of "keepers" is coming together, looks like I have a full set of extra horizontal grill trim, and hood trim, plus some extras. Also have a beautiful hood, a nice set of fenders, engine side panels & trim, decent rear fenders, extra dash, misc underhood panels, floor panels, bumpers & brackets, gas tank, column shift steering column, and a nose cone. I also have a full chassis, and an extra front end suspension & frame crossmember.

    I'm working on getting everything stripped and put into storage. I won't start on much till next spring at the earliest. Gotta put my time into my house remodel. I'd love to get to work on the car, but I have to finish my house projects. I'll be reading up on threads in the meantime.
     
  23. Jim-Bob
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 129

    Jim-Bob
    Member

    Haul'n Ash, you beat me to it about the door lock! Thanks for all the info about the 318, thats going to be my choice! Question...Did you box in the frame as well? I'm not sure I can trust 70 some year old steel...
    C-w-a you have one of the COOLEST cars out there! Of course, I'm kinda partial, I have one as well! Here's what I have discovered about '39's...It was the year Mopar transitioned to sealed beam headlights, so buckets, bezels, etc are like HEN'S TEETH to find. I'm in the same boat as you, that center strip is missing... There are also three little lights on the speedometer, green yellow and red, Green is lit till like 30mph, then yellow till like 50, then the red goes on...That car, as you discovered, has IFS, please, DO NOT change it! That was sooo far ahead of it's time, as was the fact that it has an OPEN DRIVELINE. How long did it take the rest of the auto industry to catch up?

    Now, the coolest thing...You could have ordered that car from the factory, with TWENTY INCH WHEELS. All these kids rollin around on DUBS ain't got NOTHING on us! They called it the "Country Driving Package" bigger wheels, probably stiffer shocks and springs as well.

    What about the trunk? 20 cubic feet baby! I have plans when mine is redone to fab up a slide-out platform and snap in screen and canvas to make a sort of camper out of it.

    The lady I bought mine from gave me a stack of Plymouth sales brochures, mechanics tune-up cheat sheets, DuPont color choices, etc. The stuff is amazing!

    BTW, I am missing ONE PIECE of horiz trim...PM me if you might want to sell it!!

    I almost forgot...CHECK YOUR LUG STUDS! They used left and right hand threads! They came from the factory with the same threads on each side, but make sure you look at them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  24. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    The whole reason I bought the parts cars was the one nose cone with the vertical trim pieces (no crank hole cover). They are both a bit beat up, but hopefully repairable. I'm going to pay an expert to fix them, and not try it myself. That those are the 2 pieces of trim, that I only have one of. Out of 4 cars, my "complete" car, the coupe, the sedan, and the 4 door, only one partial set of banged up center trim survived. A couple weeks ago, I contacted a company that reproduces trim (but not those pieces), they said "if you find a set, buy them regardless of cost, and bitch about the price later".


    I have a good set of bezels that came with my complete car, the buckets are good too. I'm going to keep a good set of fenders w/buckets for myself, so I have back ups. The fenders I'll selling all have the buckets, and what looks like extra brackets for aftermarket sealed beam/round headlights. Is that correct? My unmolested headlights don't have the brackets inside the buckets, but maybe they were missing and belonged to the missing reflectors?

    edit: no, I'm wrong. My "unmolested" lights are missing these adjuster pieces. One more things to make sure I get a few of.

    Cool info about the dash. The one in my car is in the best shape, I'm keeping the dash from the 4 door (both P8 trim), so hopefully I'll have a good set of parts to choose from. But with your info, I may have to strip the gauges from the P7 dashes I have.

    I will be keeping the IFS, and just relocating the shocks. Rears, sounds like sticking with the springs is fine. I want to make it driveable, but keep it as original as possible. I wonder if the springs (front or rear) are stiffer from the 4 door than the other cars. It would seem possible, because they were longer & heavier.

    I have a mismatched set of wheels, so nothing as cool there. I did get one cool artillery wheel on the chassis I bought. Yesterday, I pulled the wheels off the cars, and I don't think they had different thread pitches, but I'll go back and check. I'm trying to get 8 wheels & tires that will hold air.

    I do have one wheel that won't come off my compete car, I've soaked it in PB Blaster, hit the wheel face/drum surface with a propane torch, and still it won't come off. Any advice?
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  25. haul'n ash
    Joined: Aug 24, 2008
    Posts: 38

    haul'n ash
    Member

    Jim-Bob, frame boxing does not seem needed on these cars unless you were to take out the "X" member or install a high horsepower engine and maybe race the car.
    I'd like to see some pics of the '39 that's on your avatar. Looks good!
     
  26. haul'n ash
    Joined: Aug 24, 2008
    Posts: 38

    haul'n ash
    Member

    I use the factory headlight lens and trim on my '39. But I made a rectangular housing/bucket to mount behind/inside the fender, utilizing rectangular headlight assy. pieces from an '80s Dodge P.U. This works but my headlights are not bright enough shining through the O.E. lens. This can probably be overcome with some higher powered replacement bulbs, which someday I'll do.
     
  27. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    Thanks for the info on the Dodge headlights, I want to keep the square headlights, but obviously want brighter than stock lights.
     
  28. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535

    50dodge4x4
    Member

    On my 39 Plymouth, I hacked up a set of the modern composite lights from a late 90s Mopar minivan to fit inside my 39 Plymouth buckets. I removed the front plastic lens and bonded adjusting tabs to the sides of the back 1/2 of the composite light. Then I modified the rear of the 39 buckets so the minivan light bulb could be installed into the back 1/2 of the composite light.

    What I ended up with was a late model back reflector that held the modern high power heolgen bulbs mounted inside my 39 Plymouth buckets with the 39 square glass lens. I even added another box to house the turn signal light inside the headlight, behind the glass lens. The headlights were very bright and so were the front turn lights. Best part was everything was adjustable and was very hard to distinguish from the original setup, and it worked so well.

    Wish I had pictures, but didn't take any. Too bad the rear didn't work as well. Gene
     
  29. c-w-a
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 53

    c-w-a

    Cool, I've been thinking about how to add front turn signals without bolting them to the fenders.
     
  30. haul'n ash
    Joined: Aug 24, 2008
    Posts: 38

    haul'n ash
    Member

    Gene, great idea! For turn signals I use motorcycle bullet shaped lights mounted to the front bumper brackets. Some bright ones are available, but I used old Harley Davidson type from a swap meet, as they fit the style.
     

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