Hot rodders are dreamers. Who else could possibly look at pile of rusty metal and imagine a show-winning vehicle could be built from it? Eternally optimistic, there are no limits to the lengths rodders will go to see their dream become a reality.
Dick wanted a reliable powerplant so he could spend more time driving than fine-tuning. St
In that sense Dick Stevens is a visionary. Who else could see that by taking a squarish ’47 Plymouth and adding ’55 Buick wheel openings to the rear fenders would create such a pleasant-looking car? Of course it didn’t start out that way. As Dick describes it, he found this ride “in a pile of cars,” so he bought the whole lot and salvaged what he could.
“Plain” and “boxy” are two words that accurately point out what late-’40s Plymouths looked like, though they were dressed up with a little bit of stainless steel trim running down the body line as well as on the front fender and rocker panels.
Dick had owned the car for a couple of years while he was deciding on what to do with it, but it wasn’t until he was at an event in Nashville when he noticed a ’55 Buick at a distance, and took in how the rear wheelwell opening made the Buick more modern, and he thought it was exactly what his Plymouth needed.
Work on the car began with a Camaro independent front suspension system as well as a GM rearend with leaf springs, and the car was lowered 2 inches. Though the car came with a small-block Chevy, Dick turned to Stan Acey of Acey High Performance Machine Works to assemble a 355 with a SCAT crank and a COMP Cams camshaft. Up top an Edelbrock carb feeds an Edebrock manifold, and spent gases exit through a set of Sanderson headers and Flowmaster mufflers. Spark comes from a PerTronix system while engine cooling is handled by a Walker radiator. The V-8 backs to a TH350 trans that was prepped by Larry Farmer.
The pure white vinyl upholstery, expertly laid out by Anthony Wylie over the Wise Guys ben
Dick also worked with the brothers Poe (Wayne and Kevin) who are experts in paint and bodywork and work at Wayne’s Body Shop in Jackson, Mississippi. Floor pans were replaced, as were lower quarters, and custom rocker panels were fabbed and welded smooth to the body (as were the fenders). Most of the stainless trim was removed, except for the piece running down the body line but, since the door handles were removed, the trim was extended in that area. After removing the wind wings, one-piece glass went in each door, and a one-piece windshield also went in, as did taillights from an early ’50s Pontiac.
Inside the vehicle Dick had a dash from Wabbits Wood Works in Cleveland, Texas, installed. The dash is fiberglass with inlaid walnut burl, to which Dolphin gauges were mounted along with controls for the Vintage Air A/C system. A tilt column from ididit was installed, too, and was topped with a color-matched Lecarra steering wheel. But the first thing you notice when looking inside Dick’s Plymouth is the white vinyl covering the door panels and the custom split bench seat from Wise Guys. It’s a perfect contrast to the Matrix-based custom paintjob sprayed by the Poe brothers, and it was stitched up by Anthony Wylie.
Dick has already rolled up a few thousand miles in his ride and everywhere he stops people ask him why his Plymouth looks different than the ones they’re used to. They can’t put their finger on it, but they know his is different, and he’s happy to tell them why. You just have to use your imagination.