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Thread: '37 Dodge sedan
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: '37 Dodge sedan
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    '37 Dodge sedan

     



    Alright, here's the story:

    In March of this year, I decided I wanted another hot rod. I talked it over with the wife and we decided we'd like to buy a driver that needed some finish work. I looked at a few of Craigslist's finest offerings in person, but the value just never seemed to match the price. I stumbled on an ad one day for a 1937 Plymouth sedan. The pictures showed the car in pieces, but it looked to be all there, and in good shape.

    It wasn't really what I was looking for, and I knew the wife would be less than pleased, but I decided to call anyways. The guy answers the phone and spends the next 45 minutes explaining the condition and history of the car. He's a hot rod guy too, and admitted that he just didn't have the heart to cut up a car this nice and it has to go before he does something to it that he just won't feel right about. I understand the sentiment, but we're not talking about a rare old Packard, or some one off car that there were only ever 4 made: it's a '37 Plymouth 4 door sedan, and I have no issue with modifying it to fit my tastes.

    I arrived to find the car every bit as nice as he had claimed it to be, which was refreshing, given my experience with Craigslist sellers in the past, but found that it was in fact NOT a Plymouth, but a Dodge instead. No bother, that just makes it less of a "belly button car", as my grandpa would have put it. A deal was struck and I came back a week later with a buddy, a trailer and two trucks to collect my prize. My wife was less than impressed with my purchase, and I put up with some verbal harassment about it in the months that followed, but she's taken a liking to it since then.

    I'll continue the story in the next post, but here's a couple pictures of the car before the work started.

    17807232_10206888870500870_948369120513585522_o by Ryan Mazingo, on Flickr

    17814563_10206888479731101_2277014667208448396_o by Ryan Mazingo, on Flickr
    Last edited by PNW Rodder; 01-15-2018 at 02:06 PM.
    Mike P and NTFDAY like this.

  2. #2
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: '37 Dodge sedan
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    Continuing with the story.......

    Dino, the guy I bought it from, is a retired butcher. He's built some amazing rods over the years, and very graciously gave me the tour of his shop and a run down of all the cars he was working on at the time. His '57 Chevy pickup is a work of art, and was a monstrous undertaking to bring back to life. Seeing his work, and the quality of his projects was more than enough for me to make sure I kept in contact with him.

    The story Dino gave me is that he received a call about a year earlier from another car guy he knows that had a neighbor lady that was retiring and moving out of the country. She had the sedan and was looking for someone to buy it. The car was originally purchased by her grandfather. He had driven it until sometime in the early 60's, when he gave it to his grandson. The grandson drove it while in college in British Columbia and maintained it in running condition until some time in the 80's. He gifted the car to his sister, who kept logs while it was in her care. The logs seem to indicate she was trying to restore it piece by piece but keep it in drivable condition. She had the wheels blasted and repainted and had new whitewalls and tubes installed at the same time. The brakes were all replaced, including all new soft lines and master cylinder. The radiator was boiled and pressure tested. The bumpers we're re-chromed at Seattle plating. She drove the car to and from every appointment, and even documented her trips; down to where she stopped to eat and how the meal and service were at the restaurant.

    This is where it all went down hill for the old Dodge. Best I can figure from the logs is that she went on an extended vacation in 1991. The last entry in the log indicates she dropped the car off at a local shop "to get freshened up" just prior to leaving for her trip. From her on out I can only repeat what Dino told me she had told him. According to Dino, she returned from vacation and went to pick up her car. She had told them to freshen it up (I assume she had given specific instructions, but freshen it up is what the log says. The shop took "freshen it up" to mean "disassemble every removable part for a ground up restoration". Her car was in pieces, and she wasn't happy about it. She loaded it up on a trailer and took it home, where it sat until late 2015 when Dino purchased it. It sat in his garage until March of this year when I brought it home.

    So, after being disassembled for 25+ years, the car is slowly being reborn again. What I found really cool about all of this is that Dino gave me a box of papers and photos he had received with it when he bought it. I have the original owner's manual that was with the car from new. It has all of the services logged down in it: new pistons in '47, the exact date it rolled over 100k miles (it says they pulled over and added a quart of oil). I also have the dealership window sticker for it, and many many photos of it all over the country throughout the years. Even though I'm not doing a stock restoration, having all of this history is an added bonus that few of us ever get to have with a project this old. I like knowing a little about it's history, and the idea of me being the one to put this old girl back on the road is a big part of my motivation to see it through.
    Mike P, NTFDAY, randyr and 2 others like this.

  3. #3
    johnboy is online now CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Car Year, Make, Model: `47 Ford, sedan, A.C.Cobra replica.
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    I hear you on that.
    A great buzz for us was to be able to trace our bus back to the school it serviced in the early fifties in Billings Oklahoma.
    We were also able to meet with some of the (then) kids that rode in it.

    That provenance is without price.

    If you're interested; here's the link:

    Need help on bus origins.

    Be warned: there's a fair bit of reading there!
    johnboy
    Mountain man.
    Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

    '47 Ford sedan.
    '49 Morris Minor.
    '51 Ford school bus.
    '64 A.C. Cobra replica.

  4. #4
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: '37 Dodge sedan
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    So what are my plans for the car? I want to make a (fare weather) daily driver out of it, and I do mean DAILY! My commute is about 70 round trip, so it will need to ride nice and have enough power and gearing to handle highway speeds, and still be somewhat economical to drive.

    Enter my totalled 1999 Silverado. A month after dragging all the bits and pieces of the car home, I was on my way to work at 4am. I was in the passing lane and saw a car coming up quickly behind me, so I moved to the center lane. Just as I got the truck settled into it's new path, the car began to pass me on the left, easily going 15-20mph faster than me. He lost control and slammed into my driver side rear wheel, effectively pit manuevering​ and sending us both down I-5 backwards. We both ended up in the median, stopped by the 3 cables separating north and south bound lane's. The passenger side was completely wiped out and the truck was considered a total loss. The accident itself wasn't exactly enjoyable, and it did a real number on my back that I will probably be dealing with for the rest of my life. But, if there is a silver lining to every unfortunate event, the silver lining to this one is I got a free donar vehicle out of it. How is it free, you ask? I bought the truck from a family friend for $4k, drove it for 2 years and put about 30k miles on it. When the insurance totalled it out, they gave me $6500 for it and wanted $1k to buy it back, so I'm still up $1500 in this deal.

    So the car will have 5.3l/4L60e engine/tranny combo, front suspension is Mustang 2 that's already been installed, and I'm currently looking for a Ford Explorer 8.8 disc brake rearend to finish out the drivetrain. I plan on running parallel leafs for suspension out back, but I do have a triangulated 4 link kit that I have considered using if I can find the right coilovers at a reasonable price, though I don't think it will be necessary to achieve the desired ride quality.

    For paint, I'm leaning towards a metallic ruby red, with whitewalls and steel wheels with chrome caps and rings to finish out the look.
    Mike P and NTFDAY like this.

  5. #5
    Mike P's Avatar
    Mike P is online now CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 57 Plymouth, 37 Dodge PU, 83 El Camino
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    Sounds like a plan!!!

    I'm not seeing the pictures by the way, just photo buckets "we've taken your pictures hostage" announcement.

    .
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  6. #6
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Yeah, I noticed that. Currently investigating other options for posting pictures without paying the ransom. Any suggestions?

  7. #7
    firebird77clone's Avatar
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    I wish I had a kid to will my Chief, similar story. I'm the second owner, purchased at 5K miles. Immaculate documentation to about 40K miles. Not so much since then, but still keeping it up. I've got nearly every original part that I've ever taken off, plus some spares.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

  8. #8
    Mike P's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 57 Plymouth, 37 Dodge PU, 83 El Camino
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    I shifted over to flickr

    https://www.flickr.com/

    and am pretty happy with it. It seems a bit easier to use than photo bucket. Hopefully it will not go the same way as photo bucket any time soon.

    I "finished" my 37 Dodge pickup a couple of months back so I'm really looking forward to see how your 37 Dodge turns out.

    If your Mustang II suspension doesn't already have them, the one suggestion I think I'd make is to add ride height adjusters to the front springs. My experience is that new springs tend to drop a bit over the first couple of years of driving and being able to have a bit adjustment is a nice feature.


    .
    PNW Rodder likes this.
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  9. #9
    Bob Parmenter's Avatar
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    Sounds like a neat find and story that will add to the interest and enjoyment of the car going forward. The O/D trans will help a lot with the "daily driver" use. If it were me I'd go with the rear leaf spring config rather than coil overs, primarily for the potential of additional weight in the rear seat when carrying passengers (four doors makes that a potentially more frequent occurrence). A second thing on the four bar rear, albeit not a biggie, triangulated configuration makes it a bit more challenging to route the exhaust cleanly.
    PNW Rodder likes this.
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

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  10. #10
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 48 Plymouth, 48,54 Heap
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    Sounds like a cool project; those 5.3 are great motors. I was really impressed by how much power they make with just a cam change and set of headers.
    PNW Rodder likes this.
    1 Corinthians 1:27

  11. #11
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Last edited by PNW Rodder; 12-20-2017 at 01:06 PM.
    Mike P, ted dehaan, NTFDAY and 3 others like this.

  12. #12
    PNW Rodder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P View Post
    I shifted over to flickr

    https://www.flickr.com/

    and am pretty happy with it. It seems a bit easier to use than photo bucket. Hopefully it will not go the same way as photo bucket any time soon.

    I "finished" my 37 Dodge pickup a couple of months back so I'm really looking forward to see how your 37 Dodge turns out.

    If your Mustang II suspension doesn't already have them, the one suggestion I think I'd make is to add ride height adjusters to the front springs. My experience is that new springs tend to drop a bit over the first couple of years of driving and being able to have a bit adjustment is a nice feature.


    .
    Alright, I think I've got the picture situation handled.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconvan View Post
    Sounds like a cool project; those 5.3 are great motors. I was really impressed by how much power they make with just a cam change and set of headers.
    Headers O.K., but be very, very conservative with the cam when running an overdrive transmission. You can easily ruin the whole combination with too much cam. Stay at 204 degrees or less on the intake, such as 204/214 on a 114 degree lobe separation angle.
    .
    Last edited by techinspector1; 12-20-2017 at 05:40 PM.
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  14. #14
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    That's a great story on the car, you have a great start going. Your drive train sounds a lot like mine in my 53 3100. I have a stock 5.3 tuned to 300 hp with a 4l60 trans, and 3.73 8.8. I have a mustang II rack and had leafs on the rear for just a bit before I went to a four link coil over set up. I highly recommend going to the coil overs in the rear right away, just for adjusting the ride height alone the're worth the extra money. With the 300 horse tune on my 140K 5.3, it has more than enough power and I'm averaging around 20-22 mpg. Yours is going to be a sweet right and I'm going to love seeing it come together!
    PNW Rodder likes this.
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  15. #15
    johnboy is online now CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNW Rodder View Post
    Alright, here's the story:

    In March of this year, I decided I wanted another hot rod. I talked it over with the wife and we decided we'd like to buy a driver that needed some finish work. I looked at a few of Craigslist's finest offerings in person, but the value just never seemed to match the price. I stumbled upon an ad one day for a 1937 Plymouth sedan. The pictures showed the car in pieces, but it looked to be all there, and in good shape.

    It wasn't really what I was looking for, and I knew the wife would be less than pleased, but I decided to call anyways. The guy answers the phone and spends the next 45 minutes explaining the condition and history of the car. He's a hot rod guy too, and admitted that he just doesn't have the heart to cut up a car this nice and it has to go before he does something to it that he just won't feel right about. I understand the sentiment, but we're not talking about a rare old Packard, or some one off car that there were only ever 4 made: it's a '37 Plymouth 4 door sedan, and I have no issue with modifying it to fit my tastes.

    I arrived to find the car every bit as nice as he had claimed it to be, which was refreshing, given my experience with Craigslist sellers in the past, but found that it was in fact NOT a Plymouth, but in fact a Dodge. No bother, that just makes it less of a "belly button car", as my grandpa would have put it. A deal was struck and I came back a week later with a buddy, a trailer and two trucks to collect my prize. My wife was less than impressed with my purchase, and I put up with some verbal harassment about it in the months that followed, but she's taken a liking to it since then.

    I'll continue the story in the next post, but here's a couple pictures of the car before the work started.

    17807232_10206888870500870_948369120513585522_o by Ryan Mazingo, on Flickr

    17814563_10206888479731101_2277014667208448396_o by Ryan Mazingo, on Flickr
    The pics worked!
    Thanks for that; it's a skill I've not yet managed to master. (Dumb Kiwi is my excuse.)
    If the pics do it justice it's an extremely straight car.
    Good one you; good score!
    PNW Rodder likes this.
    johnboy
    Mountain man.
    Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

    '47 Ford sedan.
    '49 Morris Minor.
    '51 Ford school bus.
    '64 A.C. Cobra replica.

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