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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys and gals! This is where i'll post progress on my new project, the 1939 Plymouth Coupe Gasser. The story begins only a few weeks ago when my brother's father-in-law insisted that we drag home the old car. The Plymouth seems to have been an 80's era hotorod, currently sporting a Ford 289 or 302 (not sure which, not a Ford buff), a Ford Ranger front suspension, and a rear axle that could be out of the same truck. Everything is wasted, motor is locked up, front suspension is worn and rusty, rear axle looks scary, and the body has quite a bit of rust buried in bondo. My brother and I have been kicking the idea around lately of putting together a purpose built drag car just to play around at the local track on the weekends, I mean why let all those guys have all the fun? The first thing on my mind was getting rid of the crusty old front suspension and replacing it with a simple straight axle. Then ideas really started flowing, "Let's build a Gasser!" A long time friend had been converting his race truck into a street machine, and had a serious 454 just sitting in the corner of his shop. We picked it up for a great deal, and learned that it was a low compression motor that was set up for a blower. So, naturally I had to order a 6-71 blower :cool:. All this is happening very fast, and the next thing we know, we are picking up a super great deal on a narrowed Ford 9" complete with a full set of drag wheels and tires. The axle already has Mosier 31 spline axles, full spool, and 6:43 gears to turn the 34" tall by 17" wide Hoosier slicks. The front runners are matching spindle mount wheels with holes drilled for brake rotors, complete with Hoosier tires. Now we are really getting excited with this pile of parts in the garage, but there's still a lot to learn and many more parts to find. I'll share my experience here, and hope to learn as much as I can from you all. Plans are pretty much to swap a straight axle into the front, re-build the back half of the frame to go 4-link and use these meathooks, reinforce the frame wherever necessary, build a full roll cage (at least 8 point), and just patch the old body up and set it on the eventually killer chassis. Tonight we will get started tearing the front cap off, getting the interior out, maybe welding up something across the door openings to hold the body in shape once we pull that off. Any advice will be much appreciated, we are just kinda building this thing around deals we find.
Without further ado, here's some pics!

















 

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She's a solid place to start! I'm sure you have seen Vaughn's 38 build on here, I love it. Good to see some more Mopars on here. Keep posting
 

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Fun stuff. Getting the project started can be hard when you're not sure to start. You guys seem to have a handle on though, and there's two of you ! I love tearing something apart, I just wish building would go as fast. I'm thinking you guys are going to knock this thing out fairly quick. Looking foreword to seeing your progress.
 

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I'm really going to dig this build!!!! Nice to see someone else from the valley awesome you are going to like it here. I want to see mucho mas......
 

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Looks like you have some serious equipment to start this project with. Welcome to the forum and have a great time. We love to see the progress so keep posting pics.
 

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Great start! Building from a body off frame will make fabrication easier, but be sure to measure all your existing axle and tire locations prior to lifting the body! You might decide the rear tires need to move forward or back with the new axle to center the tires, and that should be determined before the body is off. Might also jack up the front and remove the wheels. Block it at whatever ride height you plan for, and then sit the new wheels in the opening, and determine where they look best at that stance. Working it all out before removing the body will save you from trips on and off with the body during fabrication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks 1946Austin, I was thinking about making some kind of reference marks, but I wasn't thinking about some of that. I appreciate all of the warm words, and i'll be sure to share the progress.
Last night we put together our new 1500lb rated stand and hung the 454 on it. Unfortunately, our buddy that we got the motor from couldn't tell us anything about the specs except that it was a "low compression" motor set up for a blower, hmmm. I couldn't wait to dig in, so we drained the fluids, flipped it over and pulled the oil pan. The oil was still honey gold, and the inside of the engine was beautiful. No slack in any of the rod bearings that I could feel, and it appears to be a forged crank. The rods look like a stock type of rod, but they are machined on the bottoms and really look like forged steel where it's cut.. I'm no expert in identifying cast or forged however, so I need to investigate further into that. The casting numbers on the block, 14015445, from what I can tell is a GM LS7 crate engine. I see triple valve springs in the heads, and heads are casting #836781. We'll pull the intake and heads next time and see if there any evidence of porting what the pistons look like.

Picture of the Crank and Rods.. I see no seam in the counterweights, which makes me believe the crank is forged.. Rods, not so sure? If it is in fact a old school LS7 crate engine, I found that they came with forged crank and rods. No telling what's been done over the years however.



 

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Yeah it is! Mikes 38 is amazing. Left that one off my checklist yesterday. I love all of them equally though
 

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The first thing I would do is tear it down to the bare block n have a look at the parts and how they are wearing. These engines had reasonably good internal pieces. A set of light, skinny ring pistons, balancing n a well camshaft should provide a good foundation for making serious power. I think those are dimple rods from your pic. Sounds like a lot of fun.
 

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Looks like a good block, and not sure I'd tear it down if you know the seller and he says it ran well. The 781 heads are a pretty good head, and I'd look in the ports to see if they're still as cast, or have had any port work done to improve them more. They're a desirable head for street performance, but might not be considered a race performance head without some work. Sounds like the triple springs are an indication something was done. Might put dial calipers on the valves too, to see if they've increased the valve size also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks guys! We've been going over the parts we have, and hit our first snag. The front runners we acquired are spindle mounts, which I thought was really cool, but they are for Anglia spindles. After a little research I learned that these are not the wheels for me. Some folks have machined the Ford spindles down to fit the Anglia bearings, but I don't like the size of the Anglia spindles for what I'm doing anyway. We are going to have a big 7.4 sitting on top of these, scary thoughts. So it looks like i'll be buying two more front runners that will work better for my build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Right now we are just gathering parts and making a plan.. Well, the plan seems to change on the fly right now, but that's how it goes right? Originally we were just going to throw a motor in this thing and run, then the straight axle swap, wait we need tires, too much power, let's reinforce the frame and build a cage... And now we find ourselves dragging home a pretty complete chassis that trumps anything we could do to the original frame. I did a ton of measuring and it looks like this new chassis is going to work great with minor modification. We couldn't help but start mocking things up as soon as we set the frame down...







So now we have a pile of parts, a pile of new sheetmetal, angle, round and square tube, and full torch and mig bottles. Stay tuned, things are about to get down and dirty!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Going to try and mock up a ride height tonight, or at least see what it would look like with either the straight-straight axle or the 4" drop straight axle. Our new chassis has a little "Z" in the front, so that may allow me to go straight-straight. There is plenty of info about the available axle widths, but I can't seem to find what the measurement from frame to axle will be... Seems like it would be the same no matter the 4" drop or not, given the same springs and perches and whatnot that are included in the Speedway kits. If anyone has a quick measurement it'd be much appreciated. From bottom of front frame rail, to top of the axle tube near the spring u-bolts.
 
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