37 Plymouth


Willie's plan for the Coupe is to have a drag, track and street race car all rolled into one, keeping its old Patina look. Mean as, cool as, this is going to be fun!

Power will be a Chevy NASCAR-type engine, with a manual gearbox, fabricated rear end and Eagle independent front end -- all done in-house at Eagle.

With the Coupe body basically falling apart, we had to get it back into shape before removing if from the chassis.  The floor and bottom 12" of the body had disappeared, the door hinges had rotted off and half of the roof and one quarter panel had been gas-axed out!  Fortunately, the original roof and quarter panel came with the car, so they were knocked into shape and tack-welded back in. A frame was made to hold things together, then it was all sent to the sandblasters.  We only wanted the inside and firewall blasted, as the exterior body finish will be Patina.  Next, we needed some door hinges.  Hen's teeth would be the best way to describe these; Mike drew up some plans which were sent away to be water cut out of aluminium billet. He then machined them -- just like the real thing, but shiny.

Next, we're onto rebuilding the doors.  Part of the grand Coupe plan is to teach some of the Eagle staff skills us old boys can pass down.  Lucy has been repairing door frames, making door skins on the English Wheel, welding ahd hammering and, before you know it, we have two good doors.

It's looking pretty obvious that the repairs are going to use up a fair amount of that old Patina, so some bare metal may be thrown into the mix too.  Now that the doors are done, we are rebuilding.  A Pillars, roof drip rails, inner roof, pillar panels and the front screen opening.  With this all done, the top half of the body is now solid enough to hang the doors and we can square the body up. Next up is the lower body; it's time to get it sitting on the chassis.

Well, after a bit of head scratching, we've rebuilt the lower front chassis mounts, which set us up for the floor and body mounting position. We folded up some tophat floor bracing panels and folded up sill panels with a curve to them to match the body shape -- `Boy, this things fat!' We then welded both sides together and bolted it down to the chassis, as well as also rebuilding the lower B Pillars, inner rear quarter panels and right-hand outer lower quarter panel. Lastly, we've taken it off the chassis and made a frame to sit the body on.  The chassis can now go on the chassis jig to fabricate front and rear suspension, mount engine, transmission, roll cage, steering etc.

Well now we have the body and chassis work happening at the same time! We'll start with boxing the frame, cleaning off any unwanted bracketry and filling some holes, as well as designing a front suspension and steering set-up.

We water-cut material, machined uprights, sorted shocks and wheel-bearing hubs and also found a steering rack to suit.  The engine and gearbox were sat in the desired spot, and we made mounts as well.

The body is coming along and is really more of the same -- `cut out the rot, put fresh steel in'. We did a mock-up with guards and wheels to get measurements. This also gives us some idea of how the coupe will look! The left rear quarter panel was `toast', so we made another one! `Damn, lost some more old patina', but bare metal looks good too, right?!

Ok, so we'll look at chassis fabrication for a bit now.  The rear end will be a fabricated nine-inch housing with floating hubs, disk brakes, a four-link set-up, and also a three point top link. With the Coupe doing both drag racing and road and track racing, designing it took a bit of thinking out, but we got there in the end!

We'v'e got plenty of adjustment options. We can play with -- shock mounting, watts linkage and ride height etc. We cut the rear chassis off and fabricated a new tube design.  All tubing will be chrome-moly. The running gear is coming together, so next we plan to sort out the fuel cell and exhaust systems.