Up front a Dodge R5 water pump was used (along with a six-blade mechanical fan) and, since the R5 block has no provisions for an internal oil pump, Rick designed a dry sump system to be used with an external pump. The pump itself is a Daily Engineering five-stage unit while the scavenger filter is located behind the left fenderwell and the pressure side filter is behind the right fenderwell. The system incorporates a cooler, mounted in front of the radiator, and a Moroso 3-quart oil accumulator is activated by solenoid with the car’s ignition system to pre-charge the oil system before the engine is started.

Up top, Dodge NASCAR P7 heads are fed by a 750-cfm Demon annular-discharge carb bolted to a Dodge R5 manifold. Rick utilized an MSD distributor with a Crane NASCAR ignition system, and he used Elston stainless steel Craftsman Truck Tri-Y stepped headers with a satin coating from Calico Coatings. The motor mates to a Tremec TKO600 transmission from Keisler Engineering (equipped with a Zoom dual-disc setup) that connects to a Denny’s Driveshafts “Nitrous Ready” 1350 series driveshaft. Original dyno testing showed this motor put out 628 hp and 550 ft-lb of torque, but the cam they used was too aggressive for the street, so a milder profile was called for, which Rick Jr. estimates shaved 30 hp off the peak dyno numbers.

For the car’s exterior, Rick simplified and customized certain sections of the car, but left the overall look intact. The vent windows and most of the car’s “bumps” (door and trunk handles, gas filler, emblems, etc.) were shaved and the front splash apron was lowered a little over an inch. The rear splash apron was eliminated and the bumper was shortened and moved closer to the body. The grille was also fabricated from two stock grilles to lengthen the vertical portion where it meets the lower apron. Once the car was driveable, Rick drove it around for about a year in metal and aluminum before completing the required body and paintwork. Once satisfied with how everything worked, Rick then prepped and painted the car at home with a PPG base and clear Mercedes-Benz Brilliant Silver with Chrysler Cool Vanilla panels.

The car’s interior showcases Rick’s first attempt at sewing and doing an entire upholstery job, from adding the red leather to the SCAT Procar Rally seats (he made his own rear seat) to laying out the Flame Red GM Daytona square-weave carpet. RAAMmat sound deadening material was used throughout and Rick handled his own wiring, too. The dash now houses a Racepak UDX Extreme digital gauge and a Sony Xplod head unit and a 10-disc CD changer (mounted in the trunk) is controlled by a marine-type remote control in the hand-fabbed aluminum center console. The console also locates the handmade shifter and the controls for the A/C system Rick designed and fabricated (including the homemade brackets and pulleys).

Some of the factory design elements stayed on the car, such as the rearview mirror, while some were removed (such as the dash-mounted shift lever) and others created (the milled sill plates with the Plymouth logo).

By one account, Plymouth produced more than 700,000 vehicles in 1955, but it would be safe to say there isn’t another one around today quite like Rick Talbot’s. A perfect mix of race car ingenuity and home-grown talent, Rick’s Belvedere shows how someone can take a car that most folks wouldn’t think twice about, hop up the drivetrain and suspension, street rod the interior and exterior, with the end result being a car unlike any other that you’d find at the local rod run—a shining example of what a hot rod could be if you put your mind to it.