The Truth About Cars » 1941 Plymouth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 03 Aug 2014 13:00:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 1941 Plymouth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com ’41 Plymouth Hell Project Puzzle Piece Scored Via Craigslist: Corvette ZR-1 6-Speed! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/41-plymouth-hell-project-puzzle-piece-scored-via-craigslist-corvette-zr-1-6-speed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/41-plymouth-hell-project-puzzle-piece-scored-via-craigslist-corvette-zr-1-6-speed/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=495712 The 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan Junkyard Find that I bought from the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard last fall now has the body off the frame and is awaiting a Lexus SC400 suspension subframe swap. After much debate about what engine/transmission combo to use in this Hell Project (the plan is to build it to Pikes […]

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02 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan Junkyard Find that I bought from the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard last fall now has the body off the frame and is awaiting a Lexus SC400 suspension subframe swap. After much debate about what engine/transmission combo to use in this Hell Project (the plan is to build it to Pikes Peak International Hill Climb specs, while retaining a grimy-looking rat-roddish character), I decided to go with the GM Vortec 4200 aka LL8 L6 engine, with turbocharging added, and that meant that I’d need to find a manual transmission that can withstand at least 400 ft-lbs of torque. Since the Vortec 4200 never came with a manual transmission, and the pseudo-bolt-on Aisin-based 5-speed out of the Solstice and Colorado can’t take the sort of power I’m hoping to get (thus forcing me to go the machine-shop bellhousing-adapter/custome-flywheel route), I was looking for a Borg-Warner T-56 out of a fourth-gen GM F-body, or maybe a Tremec TKO out of a fourth-gen Mustang. Then, an ad for a ZF S6-40 6-speed showed up on Denver Craigslist, with a very reasonable asking price.
14 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinKnown as the “Black Tag” ZF transmission, this rugged German 6-speed was used in C4 Corvette ZR-1s and is rated for up to 450 ft-lbs of torque. Thanks to its square-cut gear teeth, this transmission made more noise than many Corvette buyers could tolerate, and so GM went to a quieter gears and (if you believe the rants of detail-obsessed Corvette freaks) less strength for the 1994 model year.
03 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe seller of this transmission had purchased it out of a wrecked ’93 ZR-1 for use in this beautiful ’57 Chevy project, which is getting an LS swap, but the ZF turned out to be too big to fit in the Chevy without major transmission-tunnel hackage.
06 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI brought along Rich, the guy I’ve hired to do the engineering and fabrication work on the ’41 Plymouth project, to check out this transmission and say yea or nay on the possibility of using the ZF. He’s the captain of the Index of Effluency-winning Rocket Surgery Racing Checker Marathon 24 Hours of LeMons team, and he managed to get a small-block Chevy engine to bolt up to a Ford Toploader transmission and then stick the resulting mess into the Checker using all manner of garage-expedient cheap technology The ZF transmission came with all the little bits and pieces that make a Frankensteinian swap like this a lot easier, including the shifter, clutch master/slave cylinders, bellhousing, flywheel, even a bag full of fasteners. Looks good!
08 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, into the hatch of my cargo-hauling, thief-magnet ’92 Civic with all the goodies.
07 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinDid I mention that the transmission seller owns the nicest Jeepster Commando I’ve ever seen?
13 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI haven’t bought the Vortec 4200 yet (the plan is to buy a wrecked Trailblazer or Envoy donor vehicle, so I can get all the harnesses, computers, and maddening little bits needed for the planned swap), but we’ve got this block and pan to enable Rich to move forward on the necessary fabrication on the Plymouth’s frame.
IMG_3240For now, the Plymouth’s body sits on wood blocks in the yard, awaiting its modernized frame.

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Question: What Engine/Transmission Swap Belongs In the ’41 Plymouth? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/question-what-enginetransmission-swap-belongs-in-the-41-plymouth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/question-what-enginetransmission-swap-belongs-in-the-41-plymouth/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2012 19:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=468464 Since my brain threw a code and made me buy the 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Junkyard Find yesterday, I need to choose a suitable modern engine and transmission combo for the thing. I’ve hired a rocket scientist and weirdo hot-rodder (the lunatic who built the Rocket Surgery Racing mid-engined Renault 4CV) to execute a chassis […]

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Since my brain threw a code and made me buy the 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Junkyard Find yesterday, I need to choose a suitable modern engine and transmission combo for the thing. I’ve hired a rocket scientist and weirdo hot-rodder (the lunatic who built the Rocket Surgery Racing mid-engined Renault 4CV) to execute a chassis modernization program on the old Mopar, and I need to make my drivetrain choice ASAP. Suggestions?
Much as I’d like to go with a 2,500-horse Chrysler IV-2220 engine for this project, I need to stay on a fairly strict budget, say $2500 for engine and transmission. Most likely I’ll buy a complete donor car and truck, grab the engine, transmission, driveshaft, computers, and any other goodies needed for the swap, then sell everything I can on eBay and feed the rest to The Crusher at $250/ton. It would be (slightly) nice to stay within marque and go with a Chrysler engine, but I also like the idea of enraging the purists— you know, the guys who have those creepy Time Out Kid dolls leaning on their numbers-matching Road Runners at car shows. So, before everyone starts yelling about how I should get a 440 and Torqueflite 727, problem solved, let’s go over some of my requirements and preferences for this swap:

1. This car must have a manual transmission. Sure, I’m going to drive it on the street and take it to the drag strip, but this car is going to be set up for road racing and taken to track days at my local track. You don’t need a manual transmission for that, and I’m not a sufficiently fast driver to get the extra couple of seconds per lap a manual transmission might give you, but you’ll have a lot more fun with a stick. Long-term, I plan to enter it at Pikes Peak and, if I get really crazy, the Carrera Panamericana. I’m willing to contemplate the idea of swap bellhousings, weird adapters, and the like, but the easiest solution is to get an engine/transmission combination that came together from the factory.

2. The engine must fit a narrow prewar engine compartment. There’s not enough room under the ’41 Plymouth’s hood for a typical 90-degree overhead-cam V6 or V8 engine to fit without fabrication hassles beyond what I am willing to contemplate. That means the excellent Ford Modular V8 is out, which eliminates the tempting Lincoln Mark VIII DOHC engine/Tremec 3550 transmission idea. The fairly narrow Toyota UZ engine might fit (barely), but bolting a manual transmission to one— as done by many drifters already— requires the application of cubic dollars. The BMW S62 V8 is also fairly compact, and manual transmissions are readily available in crashed E39s, but the computer nightmares with these engines are legendary to put it mildly. The most likely candidates at this point are Detroit pushrod V8s and screaming Japanese or German L6s, though the idea of a hopped-up GMC 292 L6 lurks at the edges of this discussion.

3. The engine must have potential for non-insanely-expensive bolt-on power upgrades later on. This could mean that the engine has a vast aftermarket of quasi-affordable performance add-ons (e.g., turbocharger/supercharger kits, better heads, stronger rods, and so on), or it could mean that related engines can be swapped in without cutting anything. I don’t plan to go above 400 horsepower or pound-feet (the point at which the differential I’ll be using— that’s a secret to be revealed later— becomes the weak link), and 250 horses will be fine to start with.

4. The engine must have electronic fuel injection. Even though I’ve been on this planet as long as my ’41 Plymouth has been sitting in a Colorado field, I don’t subscribe to the curmudgeonly view that carburetors are good. That means the best engine candidates come from vehicles built in the early 1990s or later. If absolutely necessary, I’m willing to apply Megasquirt to an engine, but my very strong preference is to use all the factory computers, sensors, wiring, everything. Buying a complete donor vehicle makes the most sense for this approach, which means that I need to take into account the resale value of the donor vehicle’s leftover parts.

5. No Hemis. No LS engines. The going rate for an LS with T-56 or TR-6060 transmission, yanked from a GTO, CTS-V, or Corvette, is $5000-$8000 and up. Way up. You can get early 5.7 Hemi engines out of Dodge Rams for much cheaper, but they came with slushboxes exclusively and you’ll spend your louie in a hurry getting a sufficiently beefy manual transmission attached to one.

6. I really want an overdrive transmission. I’m going to be running a fairly wild (4:1 or shorter) differential gear and I plan to take this car on highway road trips, which means screaming along at four grand at 60 MPH isn’t going to cut it. Thus, no 833, Muncie, or Toploader 4-speeds. No, I don’t want an overdrive 833 4-speed.

At this point, my top choice is the Chrysler Magnum 5.9 (aka 360) engine, descendent of the venerable LA family of small-block V8s and available in Dodge Ram 1500s and 2500s with the NV3500 5-speed manual transmission. The 360 is a great engine, it’s within marque for the Plymouth, and performance parts are cheap. The problem here is that it is virtually impossible to find a two-wheel-drive Dodge truck with a manual transmission (I’ve been beating my face against an online-search brick wall for weeks, and that’s with a willingness to bring a donor vehicle back to Denver from two-wheel-drive places like Omaha or Lubbock). NV3500s are commonplace in junked V6 Dakotas, so I could do the wrecked Ram Van + junkyard transmission + 360 flywheel + ECM from a manual-equipped 5.9 truck equation, but that’s a lot of hassle for a truck transmission that starts to get explode-y at 350 ft-lbs.

My second choice, but gaining ground in a hurry, is a GM LT V8 engine with Borg-Warner T-56 transmission. In other words, buy some hooptied-out-but-strong-running fourth-gen Camaro Z28 or Firebird Formula for $2500. This gets me a 275-horsepower motor with near-limitless hop-up capacity plus a very nice road-race transmission that can handle big power… but it also means I’ll be the 900,000,000th person to drop a small-block Chevy into this kind of project car, plus there’s the whole Optispark ignition headache. In terms of bang-per-buck, you just can’t beat this setup, and the logic of using it is the same one used by hot-rodders in 1948 who put flathead Ford V8s in everything, but I’d prefer to be a little oddball here.

I’m just beginning to research the idea of a Vortec 5300, 5700, or 6000 V8 with manual transmission, a combination theoretically— though probably not in practice— available in 2WD Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra trucks. The Vortec makes great power, but the manual-transmission options appear to be the pure-truck, granny-gear-equipped NV4500 and ZF-S6-650 and some 5-speed that I’m guessing is either the NV3500 or the even more fragile T-5. Anybody who knows more on this subject, or even anyone who has seen a two-wheel-drive/manual-trans/V8 Silverado on the street, please share your info with us in the comments.

The real wild card here is the idea of buying a bashed BMW 540i with factory 6-speed and facing the horror of turn-of-the-century BMW computers. You can find these cars in ugly-but-running condition for two or three grand, the engine is much lighter than Detroit iron-block V8s, the Getrag 6-speed is a joy, and I know the 282-horse M62 V8 engine will fit in a BMW E30 (there are two of them racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons and, yes, I hammer them with penalty laps despite being butt slow due to handling problems) and thus is quite narrow. On the downside, there is no cheap way to add power to this engine, and the hassles involved with making BMW computers behave are so severe that anecdotes about them are not mingled with ordinary stories of problems with automotive electronics.

What else? Turbo Buick V6 with absurd boost and hope-it-lives T-5 transmission? Big L6 out of a Detroit truck, equipped with centrifugal supercharger? Mercedes-Benz M104 six? Something I haven’t thought of? Rack your brains!

So, here we go! I will be reading your comments and advice closely as I prepare for a new round of donor-vehicle shopping. Mujahideen of the Mopar Jihad (I picture you driving your Oerlikon-equipped Ramchargers through the Khyber Pass while sneering at those fools in their weak-ass Toyota Hiluxes), feel free to inform me of the hair-raisingness of the fatwas to be issued on me by your warlords, should I choose to run a GM engine in a Plymouth.

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Junkyard Find: 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/junkyard-find-1941-plymouth-special-deluxe-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/junkyard-find-1941-plymouth-special-deluxe-sedan/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2012 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=468390 When I first visited the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard earlier this year, I was keeping my eyes open for early postwar Plymouth sedans. I’ve always liked the look of those cars, with their sailing-ship hood ornaments and suicide doors. This yard has endless 1946-1950 Dodges, plus lots of Frazers, Willys, Kaisers, but not much in the […]

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When I first visited the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard earlier this year, I was keeping my eyes open for early postwar Plymouth sedans. I’ve always liked the look of those cars, with their sailing-ship hood ornaments and suicide doors. This yard has endless 1946-1950 Dodges, plus lots of Frazers, Willys, Kaisers, but not much in the way of Plymouths. However, if I expanded my search there to include late prewar Plymouths, this car jumps right out.
This 1947 Plymouth sedan that I shot for the Down On The Street series in my former home of Alameda, California, would rumble around town on a regular basis and I thought it was the best-looking car I’d seen in a long time. Someday I’ll have one of my own, I thought.
This one is a bit rougher, having sat in a field in eastern Colorado for decades prior to showing up at the Brain-Melting Yard a few years back. As is typical for cars exposed to the elements in the high desert east of Pikes Peak, the interior is utterly nuked, but there’s not much serious rust.
It was last registered in Nebraska in 1966. 46 years of sitting, waiting to be rescued… or crushed.
All the emblems and most of the chrome are in good shape.
The Chrysler Flathead Six was built from 1929 through 1972 (in later years it was used for military trucks and then as a power source for pumps and farm equipment), a production run length surpassed by just a handful of engines (e.g., small-block Chevrolet, Ford Flathead V8, Volkswagen air-cooled). This one may be seized solid, but you never know on a car that kept its hood closed in the single-digit Colorado humidity.
I’ve been wanting to buy a postwar Plymouth sedan as a recipient for a modern drivetrain and suspension transplant, but this slightly older (yet nearly identical) car really tempted me.
So, what the hell, I went and bought it yesterday. Mine, all mine!

47_Plymouth_LH_Frt_2_1280 01 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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