Rod & Custom Feature Car
J.F. Launier
Osoyoos, BC, Canada
1955 Chrysler two-door wagon

A custom Chrysler deserves a Chrysler Hemi; in this case, a new 5.7L crate engine was dropped in and accented to appear vintage, thanks to early finned valve covers mounted with custom adapters and a Hilborn stack injection running electronic fuel injectors with a custom ECM programmed by Stephen Macor. J.F. built the headers, which direct the burnt gas through a tight tucked exhaust system featuring Flowmaster mufflers. A Bowler 4L60E was adapted to the Mopar block and is shifted with an electronic pushbutton control.

An Art Morrison chassis provides a solid foundation for the wagon and has been welded together with the custom floor to provide an incredibly smooth undercarriage. Morrison's IFS has been fitted with coilovers and 15-inch Baer brakes. A custom three-link rear suspension with a Watts link and coilovers allowed for room in the interior to retain two rear bucket seats. A 4.56-geared 9-inch third member and Dutchman axles reside in a custom housing.

Wheels & Tires
J.F. took the big-wheel trend to the extreme and squeezed one-off Foose-designed, MHT-built wheels under the wagon. Up front, you'll find 22x8.5s wrapped in Pirelli 235/35 rubber, and even bigger 24x14s with monstrous Pirelli 404/25s reside in back.

Body & Paint
It's hard to tell the wagon started as a '55 DeSoto hardtop, but it looks like something Chrysler should have built after getting shortened 8 inches, chopped 2, and having the back portion of a wagon added, with the quarters wedge-cut.

The body has been completely double-skinned (hood, roof, fenders, floors, and quarters). J.F. squirted the DuPont Hot Hues custom-mixed Revolutionary Yellow paint once he was happy with the final shape of the sheetmetal. The grille was designed and built from a solid chunk of billet by Curtis Speed Equipment. The front bumper was made up from pieces of three original DeSoto bumpers, and the rear started as a '52 Chevy front bumper, which has been narrowed, recurved, and tucked in tight. Once they were fit, the bumpers and the rest of the chrome were sent off to Pacific Plating in Vancouver for a trip through the chrome tank.

There's not a lot inside that is reminiscent of the original Chrysler styling. The dash retains some of the stock lines but has been reworked and extended to flow into the custom center console, which flows the entire length of the interior into the tailgate. The new gauge cluster, built by J.F., features four pods fitted with custom-faced gauges. The stock bench seats have been replaced with four '07 Subaru buckets covered in bisque-color Rome leather by Lee Baxter at Baxter's Custom Upholstery in Kelowna, British Columbia. Beige German square weave carpet covers the floor, the lower portions of the custom console, and the door panels. A Hot Rod Air A/C unit keeps the expansive cabin cool. In case the bark of the Hemi gets boring, a Blaupunkt stereo and a host of JBL amps and speakers are there, ready to entertain.

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