Dave's restoration business is a one-man shop, and he's fortunate enough to have the skills and clientele that allow him to set his own pace. "As soon as you start rushing, things start to get screwed up," Dave says, although he admits that his Plymouth's two-decade journey from parts car to cool custom was a bit excessive. We prefer to take a cue from the car's wine-colored hue and declare that the passing of time merely allowed this sweet coupe to age to perfection.

Rod & Custom Feature Car
Dave McLaughlin
San Juan Capistrano, California
1948 Plymouth Business Coupe

The Plymouth rides on its original frame, which was C-notched to provide extra clearance for the 3:1-geared Currie 9-inch rearend. A modified Total Cost Involved triangulated four-bar setup with RideTech air springs locates the axle assembly, while an antiroll bar minimizes sway. The stock front suspension was rebuilt and updated with Fatman dropped uprights, RideTech airsprings, an '89 Cavalier rack-and-pinion setup, plus disc brakes.

What better way to motivate a vintage Mopar than with a vintage Hemi? Bob McCray from Mission Viejo, CA, rebuilt the '55 Chrysler mill, which had previously been punched from 331 to 354 ci. It features Venolia forged pistons, a mild cam, and a vintage Weiand intake supporting twin Edelbrock carbs. An MSD ignition lights the fuse and stock manifolds guide fumes to a stainless exhaust with Bassani mufflers. A custom radiator from Mattson's keeps things cool. Luke's Custom Machine made the adapter to mate the Hemi to an '84 TorqueFlite, which was rebuilt by Westminster Transmission.

Wheels & Tires
Chrysler 15x6 wheels are shod in 185/70 and 205/75 BFGoodrich wide whitewall radials, with '57 Cadillac hubcaps and three-bar knock-offs topping things off.

Body & Paint
There's plenty of custom business on this business coupe, starting with the tasteful 3-inch top chop. Dave also integrated in a set of '58 Chevy quad headlights, peaked the hood and cowl to match the windshield, filled the cowl vent, and had Sir Michaels vent the hood with louvers. After filling the trim and door handle holes, Dave extended the beltline crease into the cowl and hood, frenched an antenna into the right front fender, and eliminated the vent windows on the doors. Around back, the rear fenders were molded to the body and fitted with a quartet of '59 Cad taillight bullets. The rear license plate was frenched into the shaved decklid, and shaved front bumpers were employed both fore and aft. Dave not only gets credit for the fine metalwork, but also the rich House of Kolor Candy Brandywine paint.

Cadillac goodies fill the eclectic cabin, ranging from a '78 Seville speedometer, to an '84 Eldorado seat, to a '60s-era tilt column and wheel. Dave built the rear seat and armrests before having Pacific Coast Mobile Upholstery stitch up taupe leather for all the soft surfaces. Dave wired the car with an EZ Wiring kit, cooled it with Vintage Air, and added Pioneer tunes with Sony speakers. Striper Jimmy C. provided the finishing touch by wood graining the dash and garnish moldings.