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Hillbilly Hot Rod: 1936 Plymouth Business Coupe

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 2012
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This car is a ghost. We saw it at the Moab Easter Safari in Utah, but every time we tried to catch it for photos it would up and disappear. So we started asking our friends to keep an eye out for it. Every time they saw it going the other way—poof! It disappeared. We almost didn’t believe our eyes when we finally caught up with this Plymouth for some wheeling.

Jeff and Theresa Mayfield call it their hillbilly hot rod, built by a farm boy (Jeff) and a blacksmith (their neighbor Wayne Rasmussen). It all started when Jeff spied the carcass of a ’36 Plymouth Business Coup on its side in a buddy’s uncle’s junkyard, bullet holes and all. Now Jeff is no stranger to 4x4s, having had mud trucks, trail trucks, and backwoods beaters before, but when the Plymouth came home and he started imagining a proper hot rod. As happens, the plans went sideways and out of the shed rolled this Frankenstein dirt rod.

Summit seats with Corbeau retractable belts hold Jeff and Theresa in place under the Lexan sunroof. A full cage, floors, and frame were all built by Jeff and neighbor Wayne. The little red square on the roof is an LED light for the interior dome and matches others on the frame for rock lights.

The finished product is unique, to say the least. It is made of many used parts, but also a fine rationing of quality bits like chromoly axleshafts and a NP203/205 doulbler. Yes, there are tractor parts, car parts, and many parts the off-road elitists may turn their nose up at, but that’s too bad because we think it’s splendid, and it’s on the trail. After wheeling with it we can say it works well in the rocks of Moab, and that has nothing to do with Jeff’s promise to take us to a great barbecue joint the next time we’re in Kansas City.

The dash is filled with aluminum panels housing AutoMeter gauges, Vintage air heater and defroster controls, and ARB switches. The ididit column and B&M shifter control the point and go while Lokar pedals control the stop and go. There is a stereo, a CB radio, and an exterior camera that feeds an LCD screen up top for additional eyes on the trail.

Tech Specs
1936 Plymouth Business Coupe
Engine: 327ci Chevy V-8, Holley Truck Avenger
Transmission: TH350
Transfer case: Offroad Design NP203/205 doubler Front Axle: ’78 Blazer 10-bolt Reid Racing knuckles, Branik steering arms, Yukon 30-spline chromoly shafts and 4.88 gears, Blue Torch Fab diff cover, ARB Air Locker, Branki arms
Rear Axle: ’79 Bronco Ford 9-inch, Yukon nodular iron dropout with 4.86 gears, ARB Air Locker, 35-spline shafts, Dayton pinion bearing support, Blue Torch Fab pinion guard
Springs & Such: 16-inch-travel Ballistic coilover shocks, 4-link rear, 3-link with wishbone front
Tires & Wheels: 15/38.5-15 Boggers on 15-inch Summit Racing Equipment wheels
Steering: PSC Chevy steering box and ram assist, Bronco pitman arm
Other Stuff: Flowmaster muffler, ididit column, AutoMeter gauges, Summit seats, Corbeau retractable harnesses, Haywire wiring harness, Lightforce off-road lights, Red LED rock lights, Summit/RCI 16-gallon fuel cell, Drake Off Road Jeep hood tie-downs for trunk, Vintage Air heater and defrost

Out in front is a GM Corporate 10-bolt from a Blazer. It is home to chromoly shafts, an ARB Air Locker, and 4.88 Yukon gears. The over-axle truss attaches to a wishbone upper link, while lower links control fore and aft movement. The headlights are from So-Cal Speed Shop and are assisted by Lightforce off-road beams. The budget winch up front is temporary till Jeff comes across a deal on an American-made cable puller.

Why It’s Cool
This trail rig isn’t a million-dollar machine, it isn’t TIG welded and race prepped, but that doesn’t make it any less deserving in our book. Take the tractor joints on Jeff Mayfield’s suspension links. He knows they’re not the best, but they work and he’s out wheeling rather than waiting for high-dollar Heims to clear the budget. Jeff is just a normal guy, albeit with five daughters and six grandbabies, so you can imagine he was looking for an excuse to go play in the shed every now and then. In comparison, many of the features this month are built by pro fabricators, which are great to showcase the skills at some top shops, but we’re also always looking for your homegrown grime-buggies like Jeff’s. Be it cab trucks, cars on truck frames, or that barn find you just had to stuff some muddies under to go wheel, send us pics, or better yet, take it wheeling. We’ll be looking for you.

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