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1946 Plymouth Sedan- Truck? Car? Both: The Trar

A Plymouth for the Rocks, Sand & Trail

Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

If you want to take your “car” out in the dirt for wheeling or off-roading we are all for it. Want to add knobby tires, fabricate a “lift kit,” or shove a T-case between the framerails and/or a front axle under them? Yes, you had us at knobby tires! While you’re at it, add a custom bumper, a winch, locker(s), and lights. So long as the modification actually helps that “car” off-road, do it. Having said that, one area where almost everyone, even the most skilled fabricators, should proceed with caution is the oft misunderstood and frequently horribly constructed trar.

Trar, as defined by us here at Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road, is an occasionally unholy union between a car body and a truck chassis, ideally exhibiting some of the qualities of a car melded with the ruggedness of a truck. What we are trying to say here is that a truck chassis with a car body grafted on top does not necessarily a good trar make. A good trar must be constructed well with a relatively low center of gravity (usually they are comically tall), plenty of clearance for tires (usually the tires rub), and a general concern for actual function over form (usually a trar is broken already). Booger welds are acceptable only if they hold.

As it turns out we bumped into one of the more appropriately constructed trars we’ve seen in a while in Moab during Easter Jeep Safari 2018. This 1946 Plymouth sedan melded with a K5 Blazer exemplifies almost everything that can go right with a trar and none of the things that usually goes wrong. The best part is that the owner and builder of this trar, the head fabricator at Gordon Custom Fabrication, Joshua Gordon of Camarillo, California, isn’t afraid to wheel the black beauty. His Plymouth is a rare combination of actual functionality combined with an owner/builder ready to get dirty—in Moab. Perfect.

Also, the old-school black paint on a 1940s Plymouth screams out panache that could well fit on a trail in Moab or in a 1950s mafia movie. So we jumped out of our rig, camera in hand, at Moab’s Area BFE to shoot these photos (and a videos) of the Plymouth and Joshua, along with his welding intern, Justin Molino of Camarillo High School. The rig made light work of the off-road park’s obstacles thanks to the guys’ hard work. Check it out!

Technical Specifications

1946 Plymouth Sedan
>Drivetrain
Engine: 5.3l GMC V-8
Transmission: GM Th350 3-speed auto
Transfer Case: GM Np205
Front Axle: GM CUCV Dana 60 with 4.56 gears and limited slip
Rear Axle: GM CUCV 14-bolt full-floater with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker
>Suspension
Springs & Such: Custom 3-link front, triangulated 4-link and Arctec truss rear, both with 2 1/2-inch, 14-inch-travel King coilover shocks
Tires & Wheels: 37X12.50R17 Federal Couragia M/Ts on 17x9 Method 105 beadlock wheels
Steering: Ballistic Fab steering arms and Heims, Ruffstuff Specialty weld bungs
Lighting: Trucklite LED headlights
Other Stuff: Dual Warn Zeon 12s winches, Optima YellowTop batteries, Dolphin digital gauges, Gordon Fab rock sliders, TCI fast-gate shifter, PRP suspension seats, Energy Suspension transmission and transfer case mounts, ASI Pro performance radiator, Jegs firewall mount booster and master with swing pedal assembly