Sometimes the car hobby is full of compromise because the Rolling Stones were right.
You can’t always get what you want.
Nevertheless, car guys are an undaunted breed so they’ll look for the next best thing—or the next best thing after that because the car average car project isn’t an exact science.
Gary Morrison knows about compromise more than most people because he wanted a ’34 Plymouth three- window coupe (his uncle had one) and ended up with a ’34 Dodge. He found this car back in ’99 when it was just a shell. Gary thought it was originally a hot rod but it was light years away from complete when he uncovered it.
Gary likes to drive his cars hard and he believes you can pound on a Mopar “as hard as you want” so that was also a pretty big factor in this all-Mopar build. This was an extensive project and Gary’s philosophy is to “keep working on it ‘til it works”. Gary took 12 years to build this classic rod but it was clearly a labor of love and he said he “never learned so much in my life”.
This ’34 Dodge is a 440 big block car and Gary has his fingerprints all over this engine because he custom built things like the intake manifold. The transmission is out of a 90s Dodge so the modern setup runs 2200 RPM at 70 miles per hour. Gary admits, “It’s a hoot to drive” and he has no trouble logging hours behind the wheel of his vintage rod. He shuts the fuel off 4850 rpm because this Dodge is a moving violation waiting to happen. He drove the car without new paint for a period of time and he admitted he liked the freedom it gave him because he didn’t have to “worry about paint—it was a lot more fun” so he was fearless. The threat of bad weather or kinky parking spots was never a factor during those carefree days.
He confessed he “chased a Charger across Saskatchewan” because this car can easily run “at highway speeds or better”.There are a few reasons why this car was born to run: Gary explained how the car came with a Mustang II front end but he had to modify it to fit the A518 transmission. The car has a lower stance now thanks to stretched and re-tempered rear springs.
There are many personal touches on the car thanks to Gary’s hard work and vision for his ’34 Dodge but the biggest decision was made by his wife. She wanted to go bright red but Gary thought it was like “waving a red flag at a cop” so he went for a more sedate 2004 Jaguar Radiance Red color. The hood emblems came from a Hershey, PA swap meet; the seats are from an ’85 Toyota and the Ford-like headlight buckets were cut and modified to fit. Gary built the brass knuckle bumper guards and the signal lights came from a motorcycle shop. The wheels “just fit the look”.
There are many lessons to be found in this classic ’34 Dodge project: Things like patience, hard work and compromise but perhaps the biggest lesson is found in one sentence.
3-window ’34 Plymouths are pretty hard to find.
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