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Thread: 1937 Dodge coupe
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    Easyrider's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 37 Dodge Coupe
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    Red face 1937 Dodge coupe

     



    Hi, folks. I'm new here, and to rodding, so be gentle...
    I just bought a real nice 37 Dodge coupe, and I'm looking for input. It has been suggested that a volare clip would be a fast and easy way to do suspension, steering, etc. My plan is to find a 383 or 440, for power plant.
    Some questions:
    Is the volare clip compatible with my frame? Is there a data base somewhere that lists frame dimensions and such?
    Is it heavy enough to hold up a big block?
    Was that clip only used in volare and aspen, or were there others, such as Cordoba, or fury?
    What alternatives are out there. I would like the look of some of the custom ifs kits out there, but I'm trying to control costs.
    Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
    Glen

  2. #2
    jerry clayton's Avatar
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    lots of Mopar stuff was torsion bar suspended

  3. #3
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    I am a Mopar guy thru and thru............I can't tell you about what suspension will work under that car. But I will tell you to think about going with a 360 motor either an older LA or the newer magnum. Parts are lots cheaper as will be the motor. Also fitting things like steering and headers are much easier with a small block. Just giving you food for thought.

  4. #4
    rspears's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: '33 HiBoy Coupe
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    Welcome to the forum! Hope you find it to your liking, and that you stick around for a build thread.

    You might check FatMan Fabrications or Heidt's and see if they have a package, or can make up a package that works for your Dodge, then shop for the driveline. I agree with chopt50wgn that a 360 would probably be a better choice for you to make it a little easier, but it's 100% your decision. Consider that if you choose to change out the front half frame all of your front body/fender/grille mounts will go away with the old, and fabricating new mounts with all of the required adjustments while still looking good may be challenging.
    Last edited by rspears; 06-11-2015 at 08:32 AM.
    Roger
    Enjoy the little things in life, and you may look back one day and realize that they were really the BIG things.

  5. #5
    jerry clayton's Avatar
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    If your going to transplant a front frame and want a 440-get a front half of a 440 car-the steering/headers, etc will clear nicely and mounts will be where they should
    NTFDAY likes this.

  6. #6
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    Car Year, Make, Model: '32 Henway
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    If you're going to hot rod the front half of the car, you'll also need to hot rod the rear half of the car or risk continually breaking stuff. If I had a '37 Dodge coupe, I'd separate the body from the chassis, hang the body from the rafters and install a complete chassis from a '91-'96 Dakota pickup. Those years came with an available 318, which can be changed out for a 360 and enlarged to a 408 with a stroker kit. Mopar Performance P5153849 aluminum heads and Edelbrock Performer 7176 intake manifold would lighten up the package considerably. I'd mount a 750 carb and 14" x 4" open air cleaner assembly so the motor could breathe. '97-up was a wider track and would be more difficult to fit under the Dodge body. I wouldn't be a fan of trying to fit a big block into the coupe, I foresee too much cutting up of body pieces to fit cooling system, headers, etc. and far too much weight on the front end. If you use everything from the Dakota, you'll have factory cooling, factory power disc brakes, factory R&P steering and factory suspension front and rear. If I were doing it, I'd use all the electrical (including all the wiring) from the Dakota and all the interior, seats, dash, steering column, etc.

    I agree with Roger that body/fender/grille mounts can be challenging, but if you carefully measure everything and make locating fixtures before you begin, you should be able to complete the task successfully. You should know however, that a frame swap is not for the faint of heart, it takes considerable forethought, patience and a lot of simple math.

    Here's an article started by Jon that I finished years ago, it should give you some insight......
    http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/Frame_Swap

    There are only 2 shops that I would trust to make a driveshaft for such a rod, Denny's on the east coast and Inland Empire on the west coast.
    http://www.dennysdriveshaft.com/
    http://www.iedls.com/

    You didn't give details on the specific model of coupe you have, so I'm thinkin' it could be either 113" or 115" wheelbase, so a Dakota Club Cab would be the donor, with its 123.9" wheelbase and a section whacked out of the frame rails behind the cab and re-welded back together to fit the coupe wheelbase and center the tires in the wheel wells so the car would have good "eyeball".
    .
    Last edited by techinspector1; 06-11-2015 at 12:44 PM.
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    Something tells me that the short bed version would be your best bet.
    Ken Thomas
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    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

  8. #8
    techinspector1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NTFDAY View Post
    Something tells me that the short bed version would be your best bet.
    Not sure what that wheelbase would be, but wikipedia says that there were 3 wheelbases available '91-'96, 111.9 in, 123.9 in and 130.9 in (ext. cab). Of course, a guy could use the short wheelbase and weld in a piece of Dakota frame rail from the boneyard to extend the wheelbase to the coupe dimension. Of course, you'd want to fish-plate it for strength, same as you would with any frame modifications.

    .
    Last edited by techinspector1; 06-11-2015 at 10:46 AM.
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  9. #9
    Easyrider's Avatar
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 37 Dodge Coupe
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    Thanx for the great responses, guys. That's all stuff I want to hear. My thinking on the 383/440 power plant is mostly based on cost. Up here where I live (Canada), it's pretty easy to buy an old New Yorker, or the like, for around a grand. That's a lot less than doing any performance mods to a smaller engine. I could be all wet on that. A real good alternative would be a 340, but they're hard to find.
    I pick up my coupe tomorrow morning, so I can start measuring track and wheel base soon. Hmmm, Dakota, eh?

  10. #10
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    You sure the price of a Dakota is not under a grand? As for small blocks, any Dusters or the like laying around? Bet you need to look a bit more. It is nice when you can use a bunch of stuff from your donor vehicle, saves you a bunch in the overall build.

  11. #11
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    While I totally understand the engineering benefits of a total chassis swap I'm not a fan of the method. To me, once you're all done you've got a '91 Dakota with a '37 Dodge body grafted on vs having a '37 Dodge with a new driveline. I can't really say why it carries that stigma for me, because no one seems to be bothered by a resto-mod '55 Chevy sitting on an Art Morrison chassis, but that chassis is custom made to fit that body and is much cleaner than the OEM frame. There's a big following of S10 chassis grafted under vehicles of all shapes and sizes, but it's just not for me. The method (late model chassis, old body) is very popular in New Zealand, but there it gets one past a ton of the regulations, inspections and approvals of a one-off chassis build, unless you're a retired dairy farmer from Rahotu

    If the original chassis is good I'd look at grafting on a front and rear suspension of choice along with a new power train, but to each his own. Either way you'll have an unusual car not often seen re-done. Looking forward to watching the build, no matter how you go with it.
    Roger
    Enjoy the little things in life, and you may look back one day and realize that they were really the BIG things.

  12. #12
    Easyrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooting View Post
    You sure the price of a Dakota is not under a grand? As for small blocks, any Dusters or the like laying around? Bet you need to look a bit more. It is nice when you can use a bunch of stuff from your donor vehicle, saves you a bunch in the overall build.
    I had a look at old Dakota's online last night, and , Ya there is the odd one under a grand. I had just never thought of the idea of using one. I have sort of been focused on using as much of the original frame as possible, and grafting on the bits I need, like suspension, etc. I guess I have been sort of thinking along the same lines as rspears, keeping it at least partly original. As I mentioned above, I am new to all of this, and itt turns out the possibilities are endless. Another issue for me, is that I am not a molar guy, so I was blissfully unaware that Dakota's came with a 318. I have been a gm guy, but fell rright in love with the Dodge coupe. They sure knew how to make a nice looking car!

  13. #13
    rspears's Avatar
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    You might want to check with your DMV, or whatever term is right for Canada, to see how a combined old body, newer frame vehicle would be registered. Often it follows the chassis, with a notation about the appearance. Just a thought, and it may not matter to you.
    Roger
    Enjoy the little things in life, and you may look back one day and realize that they were really the BIG things.

  14. #14
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    I'm not a fan of frame swaps though there are advantages, modern suspension with r&p steering, cruise control and some others. The disadvantages using a Dakota frame are body mounts, gas tank location, 6 lug wheels, the truck has a higher stance and the wheelbase has to be spot on for the wheels to be centered properly.
    If it were mine I'd probably update the original frame and drive line. The 318/340/360 would be an option though rebuilding one will be more expensive than a small block chevy, but a 318 build with 340 heads, mild cam, headers, and 600/650 4 barrel of your choice will make decent power for the street. If you go fuel injection I would stay away from 91 to 93 Dakotas as they were OBD-1. Keeping the build all Mopar, IMHO, is a plus though more expensive.
    Ken Thomas
    NoT FaDe AwaY and the music didn't die
    The simplest road is usually the last one sought
    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

  15. #15
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    There’s a guy over on Moparts on the Web - Main Index (user name high impact) that has a 37 Dodge coupe with a 383/4 speed combination that might have some good information for you.

    He used a Mustang II front suspension which in my opinion would definitely be something worth looking into provided your original frame is solid. I think you may find the downside to doing a Volare swap will be the track width being too wide for 37 Dodge body and something to look at also if contemplating a Dakota swap.

    Just my 2 cents.


    .
    NTFDAY and rspears like this.
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

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