Figuring out what to build next is a challenge for any custom guy looking to make a change. For Dean Jodry, the issue was decided when he opened the classified section of a local newspaper and saw an ad for an early 49 Plymouth five-passenger coupe. As a kid, Dean learned to drive in an identical car, and he didnt want to pass up the chance to own one again.
Dean was already driving a really cool customa 50 Merc that he and his wife Pat drove all over the place, getting a load of attention wherever they showed up. But after 10 years, Dean was feeling the itch to get into something differentnot just different from his Merc, but different from most of the stuff hed seen on the street and at custom shows. Different like a 49 Plymouth.
As it turns out, the 49 was beyond what Dean had expected. It was a one-owner stocker, complete with the original drivetrain. Although it had been garaged behind the owners house for a few years, it ran like a fresh car during Deans testdriveand the drive home.
The Plymouth was so together that, for a while, Dean was tempted to do a complete restoration. In the end, his customizing instincts prevailed, and he knew the car would benefit from some tasty modifications. Before laying a hand on the car, he sat down with M.K. John, a local pinstriper and graphic artist who created a concept drawing of a subtlybut extensivelycustomized 49. From there, the car went to The Body Shop in Grand Island, Nebraska, where Gary Gerberding got busy turning the car into a real-world application of Johns illustration. John called Gerberding to remind him that the work in metal would be a helluva lot harder than it was with a pencil. He was right, but the guys at The Body Shop came extremely close to the concept.
Deans Plymouth is an early 49 model that retains the styling of the 46-48 carsbut by the time it was done, the styling was definitely one-off. The chrome-heavy body was cleaned of most external pieces with the exception of the beltline trim. The completely reworked body was painted PPG Custom Copper and dropped over airbag suspension with a Mustang II frontend. A dressed-up GM crate small-block makes the car a reliable driver.
The Jodrys make the rounds with the car. We first ran across it in Lincoln, Nebraska, during Americruise 01, where we tagged it for a Top 25 award and ultimately picked it as one of R&Cs 100 Best for the year. Former editor David Freiburger spotted the Plymouth again at this years Americruise, took it out, and got these shots. Good thing, too. This incredible custom definitely deserves a closer look.