Register now to get rid of these ads!

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

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

  1. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,681

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    My opinion on what to do with the car...we almost built a clone of that car also, for a customer who already had a 54 2 door sedan, wouldn't have been a true clone, just an "inspired copy".
    If you are going to build it to impress people at the big car shows, make a statement, or recreate a piece of history.....do it as exactly as you possible can, like we did with the Kopper Kart. We went through a lot of pains (AND EXPENSE!) to replicate the Corvette 6 and the side draft carbs, the "unborn calfskin" interior panels, and the special perforated metal used behind the grill, tailights, and side trim (they don't mass produce those patterns now) But our purpose was to bring it back as close as the original as humanly possible, mistakes, bad styling, and not so great treatmant of the glass, included.

    On the other hand, if you just have an attraction for the car, and want to copy it's style, but still USE it, DRIVE it, ENJOY taking it places, build it close as you can to the exterior, interior, but make it easier to drive, if you like, or if parts to duplicate the engine are too hard to find. I wouldn't be very critical if you used an older V-8, even if it was newer than Sloan's era car. Esp. if dressed up in nice period fashion.
    If it's hot where you are (is it hot in Texas?) and you plan on driving it distances, I'd put in AC, probably upgrade or replace the suspension, disc brakes, maybe steering.
    Just don't open the hood at car shows, esp. where the more rigid minded tradition guys would be! Customs look better with it all closed up anyway!
    Good luck with your build, whichever way you go with it! I know how hard it it building a clone, if you have any questions, either PM me, or I'll give you my phone #, if you'd rather talk.
     
  2. welder good luck with the build, the car will be awesome. I don' think it'd be that big of a deal to add a couple modern things. Disc brakes, overdrive would be nice and easily hidden
     
  3. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,870

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE 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.>>
    ******************************************************************
    The green 'velvet-like material is what they called "Frieze", (fri-zay) I think a trademark name of the day...Barris used lots of that in his earlier kustoms.
    Chuck Porter did some of those interiors, using a combination of naugahyde and fabric.
     
  4. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,780

    Rikster
    Member


    The Sam Barris 1950 Buick used a "similar" combination. R&C called in Mohair.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,870

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The magic here is that you have become friends with the original owner/builder. Any 'nod' that he gives you is his approval on how the 'clone' should be done, or at least that it's O.K. to do so.
    Be sure to take him with you for the photo shoot. That really ties it up.
     
  6. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    1. no
    2. no
    3. no
    Rationalize all you want, but if you do it different, it ain't a 'Barris clone'.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  7. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,870

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The Sam Barris 1950 Buick used a "similar" combination. R&C called in Mohair.
    ******************************************************************

    Yes, Mohair; That was an available material in upholstery shops then, as it was what the original standard cars used for headliners, seats, and door panels, up to 1955.
    Vinyl came into use after that, and the Frieze I mentioned was more 'plush' than Mohair.
    Larger luxury cars had options of leather and other niceties since the late '20s...
     
  8. glassguy
    Joined: Feb 12, 2003
    Posts: 2,261

    glassguy
    Member

    ill chime in here too.. myself i would try to make it "look" as close as possible ive always loved that car too. i personnally couldnt live with the flathead six! i know the 6 banger guys will jump on me , but i cant stand that annoying buzzbomb sound that comes from them. or the lack of power. to me one of the most important parts of a custom is the deep rumbling,snapping glasspacked exhaust note! a sound you can rarely even get out of a hot rod due to the length of tailpipes.. i can appreciate the work and dilligence it takes to truelly clone a custom, but if the jr conway clone looked just as it does, and had a period dressed sbc with airconditioning i would like it better because its something that just seems more useable to me, and i dont open my hood. nor could i ever afford to rebiuld or obtain all the vintage accesories. maybe im just lazy,impatient, and cheap, but real close is close enough for me. oh and if you lexan for the back window and use lite polish and a microfiber cloth instead of widex and paper towells it will last quite a while without scratching to bad so dont worry bout that..
     
  9. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,833

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well... Since you've asked for input, I'll give you mine: There's a big difference between "clone" and "tribute".

    The difference is days, weeks and months of hard work searching for just the right pieces instead of just using whatever's handy. Ask Jivin' Jer about how much work it has been to recreate Junior Conway's shoebox. There's a lot of aggrivation that he's left out of his build thread.

    But... Before you make any big decisions, do some soul searching when you do your homework on clone-building. See how you feel inside when you see a "tribute" of a famous car compared to how you feel inside when you see a faithful clone. Different, isn't it.

    It's a human trait for the eye to look for the incongruous. And to be disappointed and think less of the object when you find it. That's just human nature.

    Jerry's goal, as I understand it, is to build an exact copy of Junior's car...warts and all...with no consideration of driveability. Not that it could not be driven as it was originally, because it could. It appeared in the movie, "T-Bird Gang" and was driven quite roughly with no apparent damage.

    What some who have already posted on this thread may not understand is that cars of this era were driven all over the country on a regular basis. Customs were not trailered then, but were driven to shows - even distant ones.

    I drove a 6-cylinder '48 Plymouth with stock drivetrain for a couple of years before updating the power train and it was just fine, so you can do the same with yours. You don't need modern pieces like air conditioning, disc brakes, etc. etc. to drive your hardtop...even long distances.

    You will need to go through all the systems (especially the funky brakes which work great when they are working right) and be sure they are up to snuff in terms of condition, and do maintenance every few hundred miles or so. You will also need to stock up on service parts and work out a system where they can be shipped to you quickly whenever you travel away from home.

    Dropped uprights and relocated front shocks were modifications which appeared back when the car you are cloning was on the road, so you can do these without deviating from the authenticity. (And I'd suggest that you do both to get the car down where it belongs and add to the safety/driveability at the same time).

    The little flathead 6, even in stock form, will haul the car around just fine. And even if the original engine was just paint-detailed they look very good, are very reliable and trouble-free. Same goes for the rest of the drivetrain.

    As you can probably tell, I'm a big supporter of building accurate clones like Jerry's version of Junior's shoebox. There is absolutely no reason that stock running gear cannot be retained...as long as you don't expect it to drive like a modern car.

    My vote is to do your car as spot-on authentic as you can. It's a lot more work, as Jerry will testify, but the final result will give you so much more satisfaction than if you were to do it "half-fast."

    I've subscribed to this thread, so keep us up to date on your thinking as well as your actual progress on the car. It's a wonderful project that is long overdue.

    Good luck!
     
  10. call it a "tribute car" that should quiet any critics. it is great fun to chase down and identify parts of these old customs. stay true to your dreams.

    I had those same feelings for George Cerney's Plymouth Wagon, I still have my worn April 1956 Magazine with it on the cover. I chased down parts for years. till I found and bought 3 Wagons 49, 50 and 52 plus a 52 Belvedere Hard Top parts car. that's when I went astray
    George's car was lost and gone forever (by all reports) but I felt certain it would show up about the time I hit the road. and it did. I'm really glad it's alive and well, even with a stock front clip.
    I had made the decision to step it up a few notches and keep the style and trim. the 52 front clip will accept the Merc grill shell much easier than the 49-50 but the hood is wrong. I couldn't waste the Belevedere so I built that Hard top roof into the wagon also. the whole vision of Cerny's car is gone but not forgotten. I still have a stock 49 wagon.
    I guess what I'm saying is keep your focus and stay true to your goal. it's a great car and should be rebuilt...........Jim
     
  11. pimpin paint
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 4,940

    pimpin paint
    Member
    from so cal

    Hey,

    Whata great project! You don't see many mid century Mopar kustoms @ any of the shows or cruze nights.

    On the subject of Kustoms and clone building here's my take: A kustom build that features a late model V8, discs, bags, frame clips, air conditioning, radial tyres & overcleared urethane paint isn't anything more than a streetrod without door handles! If your idea is that you need all that extra equipment to truly enjoy the vehicle, cut to the chase and build a fucking streetrod- start shopping now for the flowered shirt, gold chains & folding chair. I quit reading "Custom Rodder" magazine a good two years before it became toast because most of the "customs" it featured were ugly streetrods without door handles.

    You may have a very tough time remaining faithful to the original build, but anyone can build a vehicle from a catalog, and they usually look like it. The building of kustoms was traditionaly about personal expression, and I'm guessin you want to honor the original builders expression?

    The light green vinyl used in the interior may well have been used in some 70's OEM vehicles. Some from that era featured "interesting'' interior colours. If you wind up going with urethane BB/CC for the finish, go very light on the clear. Cleared urethane and polished lacquer, the type of finish probably used by Barris in '55, don't look anything alike! To care for your Plexi-glass backlight, only wipe it down when wet, and polish it with cotton cloth and "Lemon Pledge" furnture wax.

    Good luck with the build,

    " Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of social intercourse "
     
  12. I have started to see what parts I have and what parts I am going to need. Before I get my hands dirty I want to research who will do the chrome, paint, interior and engine work. If this was taking place in NJ i would know where to go, but I am in Texas and its a whole new world. So anyone with recommendations would be a great help.


    I absolutely agree.

    I have decided, against my wifes wishes, that I am going to build this car as an exact clone of Ed Sloan's car. I tried calling Ed today and he is playing golf. I have to get him on the same page as me and send me pictures and stop playing around. ;)

    Im not going to update anything on the car. Everything will be exactly as it was in 1955. I will keep a regular posting regiment on the process.

    I look forward to any and all words of encouragement.

    chopolds...It is great you chimed in here. I was actually going to to contact you. I remember seeing the the Kopper Kart in the middle stages and thinking how awesome it was that you were doing this. If you can PM me your number and email it would be great. I think I will definitely be picking your brain.
     
  13. this should be fun ! Like Rik said follow Jivin Jer's, build of clone of Jr. Conway's showbox Ford.. Now that is dedication to how the original car looked and the copy thats being built right now. most important thing "lot's of research" number one. Gather all the information you can. If I were to do a clone, it would be true to the original car for sure. Just my 2 cents worth on that... Good luck !
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,278

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm not a big fan of clones but if that is your thing, go for it. I'd probably go for a more modern drivetrain underneith just so that I could feel more comfortable heading off to distant events in it. And as most real custom fans will tell you they look like hell with the hoods open anyhow and should be displayed with the hood closed. Hard to beat he sound of a Mopar flathead six with the right pair of glasspacks though.
    It will be your car, do it your way but I do like version one without any of the extra frufru better myself.
     
  15. Jonnie King
    Joined: Aug 12, 2007
    Posts: 2,077

    Jonnie King
    Member
    from St. Louis

    xxwelderxx...

    I pretty much agree with the "build-it-like-it-was" concept, but as the Rikster & SuperFleye mentioned I'd go with the Original version, NOT the "updated" pinstriped, etc. redo.

    You can get most of the original suspesion rebuild parts from Kanter, I got all of mine from them for my '59 Plymouth Suburban...solid good stuff. And, split the manifold on that Six like Barris did on Ed's car and run 'em through the rear bumper.

    Am enclosing a pic of my Dad's '54 Plymouth that he bought in the Fall of '55. It's the car I learned to drive in, and that little Six got me, my buddies, and my girlfriends everywhere we need to go...and someplaces we didn't.:D

    And, if you really want to do an authentic visual clone, remember what my old friend, Jack Walker, did with the HIROHATA CLONE: He had Doug Thompson make an exact copy of the license plate !

    My Dad's '54 had the Hy-Drive tranmission in it, which made it great for Crusin' because you could leave your arm safe & snug around your girlfriends shoulder and not have to shift !

    Good luck with the build...and, above all: When you finish it DRIVE IT ! Ed did !!

    Jonnie King www.legends.thewwbc.net
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Jonnie, I have already started pricing out the parts I need for the suspension. I was going to take care of the suspension and frame first. I want to make sure the frame is straight and has all new hardware in it.

    Comment deleted....***Special Ed put me in my place***

    Ill keep ya up dated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  17. 53chevy
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,570

    53chevy
    Member

    Very Noble of you. This will be an awesome journey, with some headaches along the way, that goes without saying. It's good to see these type of Customs being built and staying true to the original.

    Ken
     
  18. Do you recommend a process that can be done to reuse said bolts and nuts? Because I will gladly do it. Hence is why I want a parts 53 to take parts off of.
     
  19. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

  20. pimpin paint
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 4,940

    pimpin paint
    Member
    from so cal

    hey,

    Nickle tumble them or use silca in a rock tumbler. You can glass bead them as well. Unlike the fasteners used in todays' vehicles, those from this era clean up well and for all but head, rod and critical suspension bolts are reusable, providing they're in good enough shape to begin with.

    " Meanwhyle, back aboard "The Tainted Pork"
     
  21. The stock king pins are great. go to my album and look at my 52 plymouth I kept the king pins used disks with stock rims I up dated to a datona master on the frame and had front and rear lines disk from a page vender and kept it stock looking stock no new foot print there. I also used a 318 due to my flat six was very tired, but I left the clutch peddel ther and made the stock shifter work by cutting down and a notched plate so I had a shifter lock. I dont know how to move the picks still computer challanged a bit.
     
  22. Everything has to be exactly how it was. Ed didnt update suspension except for lowering it. Im going to rebuild the dual cyl. drum brakes as well
     
  23. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,599

    JeffreyJames
    Member
    from SUGAR CITY

    Pg. 76 in the TRJ that the Pierson and So-Cal coupe were featured in shows a direct front shot of the Plymouth.
     
  24. This shot?

    [​IMG]
     
    Kage likes this.
  25. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,599

    JeffreyJames
    Member
    from SUGAR CITY

  26. The grill is all ford parts.
     
  27. FunnyCar65
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,069

    FunnyCar65
    Member
    from Colorado

    You got my vote I think this car is my favorite Barris kustom.I'd build a clone if I had the car myself.
     
  28. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,041

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    As stated in the Car Craft Feb 58--The combo of Green Mohair and Lime Naugahyde. Good luck with your build. Look forward to watching the build process.
     
  29. Im starting to look at the photos and between 1954 and 1958 the car had a few changes. In 1958 it has bumper guards, completely chromed grill, pin stripping and even the hub caps are different.

    Of course, the clone will be how it was first done. Interesting though.


    Started a list of things I am going to need for this build.....
    1) Understanding wife ;)
    2) 1953 Lincoln taillights
    3) 1949 Ford Upper Grill
    4) 1953 Ford Grill center bars
    5) 1953 Ford Truck Grill Teeth
    6) 1953 Chevy Bel-Air 4dr rear quarter trim(both sides)
    7) Functioning Spotlamps
    8) Four 1953 Plymouth hubcaps
    9) Complete Flathead 6 engine(found one 45 mins away from me)
    10)1953 Plymouth Parts car.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  30. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,780

    Rikster
    Member

    Could you.. or anybody else scan the Car Craft Feb 1958 Article on this car.
    I don't have this issue, and would love to see/read it.

    Thanks
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.