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Old 07-08-2006, 02:52 PM
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Retro-rod - 1939 Plymouth Business Coupe

I have a 39 Plymouth P8 Business Coupe that was restored several years ago (all stock). Real nice car, however I want to make it more driveable. I want to keep the outside appearance stock, however want to install a V8 (crate engine). Would appreciate any help: Should I use the existing front end and modify to use disk brakes or go to a suv frame (Macgyvers has one for the car) and Mustang front? I believe rack and pinion steering would be preferred over a Vega stearing box etc, do you agree? If at all possible I do not want to cut the firewall. Which engine and transmisssion do you recommend? What rear do you recommend? If one were to be custon made any criteria such as width etc? What tires / wheels do you recommend? I would like to keep the original brass top of the radiatior and have a new core attached, any thoughts? Has any one had any good / bad experience with AC units.

I have an extra frame that could be modified. I had the body off of the frame once, not that difficult.

I would appreciate any help. Photos of how the engine fits into the engine compartment would be a great help. This is a first time for a rod project for me.

Thanks,

Richard
rich.c@att.net

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Old 07-08-2006, 05:35 PM
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Fatman makes a MustangII conversion, Volare clips are decent too....
Depends on personal preference I guess..? Either could be used with a stockish front frame stub.

I have a 1940 Plymouth, so the engine compartment is different than your 1939, but I have had a 392 Hemi, a 440 and a new style Hemi in mine. I ran the 440 for a dozen or so years, it was a strong runner.

Here's a 1980's pic when it had the 440.......

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Old 07-08-2006, 09:27 PM
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I'm a Chevy guy, but I would stick a Hemi crate engine in that ride in a heartbeat, no pun intended. I would also go with the Mustang II front end.

Vince
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Old 07-09-2006, 12:55 AM
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39 PLy.

I recommend that you contact Chassis Engineering about the suspension, motor mounts, trans mount and rear end set up. I just installed a MII in my 39 Chevy and I could not believe how easy it was to install. The car sits right and rides so much better. I recommend that you put in the larger brakes, measure and record everything before you get started and talk with Chassis Engineering if you have any questions. They were very patient with me and answered any questions I had. The were great to me.
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Old 07-09-2006, 07:53 AM
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I am a big fan of the Rest O Rods. You are in luck having the extra frame to build and then move the body onto. I personally would go with the "upgraded" original frame because MOPAR was the frame/running gear leaders of old. Definitely go with rack and pinion steering. M II fronts have lived as long as they have because they just work great on the 30/40s vehicles and will continue to live until something better comes along. As far as power goes, you have room for about anything you want. For a dependable and semi fuel efficient machine, I would go with any small block with EFI. There are so many to choose from, so go with whatever meets your fancy. For the rear end, decide on leaf springs, coil overs, air or independant suspension. Unless you are going to be a habitual visitor to the drag strip, I would stay away from the ever popular Ford 9 inch and go with a quieter, enegery saving rears. If I were doing another car, I would look hard at the Heidts independant suspension or a 84/85 Vette adaptation. My tranny selection would definitely be an overdrive version. I was totally impressed with the computer controlled six speed auto in a 2006 Mustang GT. The shifting thru 4th gear was awesome and 5th and 6th are both overdrive gears which makes for a great cruiser on the open road and just plain fun on the street where you would live in the first 4 gears.

When it comes to air conditioning, I think Vintage Air is still setting the standard while all the others are trying hard to catch up. Since most use the same compressors, dryers, and condensors, it really gets down to the inside units, controls and bracketry. Vintage Air seems to have the best installation instructions, dealer networks, tech support and widest range of custom and generic units. All we have installed have been trouble free and cooled great. Can't say the same for some of the other competitors.

Good luck on your project. Take lots of pictures of before, during and after for future references and memory jogging. Keep a journal for your HR.com buds as well as when you need to make changes/repairs down the road. It also would be extremely beneficial to any follow on owners if you someday decide to pass the car along.

Trees
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Old 07-09-2006, 01:27 PM
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Trees is right on the money. I would add only one thing. Do yourself a BIG favor and DON'T PUT A SMALL BLOCK CHEVY in that thing. Keep it MOPAR. With a SBC you'll have just another "cookie cutter" street rod, but a small block MOPAR will put you in a much higher class.
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Old 07-09-2006, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centerline
Trees is right on the money. I would add only one thing. Do yourself a BIG favor and DON'T PUT A SMALL BLOCK CHEVY in that thing. Keep it MOPAR. With a SBC you'll have just another "cookie cutter" street rod, but a small block MOPAR will put you in a much higher class.
I agree, now if the Hemi is too hard on gas for you, you might consider a 340, but they are getting fairly scarce.

Vince
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Old 07-09-2006, 07:16 PM
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Or you could do what I did and graft it on a late model chassis. I made mine uni-body on a Mid 80s T-bird /Cougar chassis. Put probably 10,000 miles on it as a rat rod and am finishing it up for it's new owner in Texas. I have a few pics in my photo gallery and the whole deal on our website. Everything underneath is Fox chassis parts, so it can be upgraded as desired and repaired with parts from your local parts store without having to reseach what came from where. It's a '40 Desoto. If you don't go that way,I'd upgrade the original suspension with disc kit and install a late rearend. The front end is already IFS and with some discs will be more than enough.
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Old 07-09-2006, 10:40 PM
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39 Plymouth

Thanks for all of the info. Really appreciate it. Lot of good ideas.

Rich
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Old 07-09-2006, 10:41 PM
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don't know how much $$$ you want to spend, but we put a 5.7 hemi in a 1934 dodge sedan w/ mustang II front, fit real nice, got 23 MPG. on hotrod power tour.
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Old 07-09-2006, 10:57 PM
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When you installed the Hemi, do you recal if the firewall had to be modified?

Thanks,

Rich
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Old 07-09-2006, 11:09 PM
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there were no modifications to the firewall, however there was a modification to the trans tunnel to fit the hemi automatic trans. I think there are still pictures of this project on s&p website. www.hotrodlane.cc under the install section. check it out and see. if they are not still there i have plenty picts.
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