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50 plymouth suburban - first attempt to join under $3k club

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  • 50 plymouth suburban - first attempt to join under $3k club

    Here's my new 1950 Plymouth Suburban with hopes to fonally join the legendary under 3k club.

    It spent the last 20 years in a field. Most sheet metal is gone, but the frame is great.

    Plan to get a donor drivetrain as this one is shot.
    thinking a v8 platform Dakota or Durango.

    Plymouth cost + $300
    Transport + $100
    60's era Honda found in cabin - $200
    Total = $200

  • #2
    Good luck! I think that $3,000 number needs to be inflation adjusted. $5,000 is a more realistic number, and you really need to watch what your spending your money on to do that. Gene


    • #3
      Massively cool 'Burb. Couldn't ask for a better patina. (Gene brings up a respectable point about adjusting the number.) Be sure and keep plenty of pics posted Mr. Chaos.
      Enjoy! 1930 Chevy truck build link:


      • #4
        Are you just planning on swapping the engine trans and possibly rear end?
        if so I guess measure the width, dont know how wide thise old Plymouths were compared to a Dakota.... but you may want to consider even looking at a full size truck... possibly something with a 360... as you'll need bottom end torque to get that brick moving 😁
        or as I tell everybody... put a diesel in it!... but realistically that probably couldn't be done for 3k.......
        cool project.
        My build thread:


        • #5
          The tracking width (wheel mounting surface to wheel mounting surface) on an 88-96 Dakota is about 60" if I remember correctly. but any Dakota after 1990 has the 6 bolt wheels until you get newer then 2005, when they went back to a bigger 5 bolt pattern wheels. Measure the width of your rear end, if your swapping out the rear end, replacing it with a Jeep or a Ford Explorer is about the cheapest rear ends out there.
          For the record, a few years ago, it was cheaper to put a disc brake conversion on the front then it was to rebuild the original front brakes. I got my disc brake conversions from Gene


          • #6
            Forty years ago I missed buying a 49 version of one of theses Plymouth wagons by 30 seconds. My wife and I was at a car show with a swap meet, some gut had one the was all sandblasted and looked pretty clean. body wise. I really liked it, and there was a good price on it. We walked away, and as we were walking, my could tell I really liked the old Plymouth. She told me that if i liked it, I should go back and buy it. As we were coming into the space where the car was, the guy that had just put money down on it was walking away. I had the full price in my pocket, but the guy wouldn't sell it to me. I went back 3 or 4 time during the day, but the guy stood his ground. The last time I went by, the new owner was loading it onto his truck. I've looked off and on over the years for one of these, whenever I had money, I couldn't find one, and when I found one, I didn't have enough money. These days, I'm not sure I have it in me to build another car, but if I stumbled across one in pretty good shape for a reasonably priced, who knows?

            i'm looking forward to watching your project. Gene


            • #7
              That hurts just to hear Gene. Would imagine most here have those grim pieces of history in the books.

              CR1 I'm genuinely excited for you on this build because to me that's the coolest 'Burb make/model example out there and I would own one of those in a heartbeat. Nice score! I'm sure the gears in your brain are spinning pretty good these days as ideas start to form.
     1930 Chevy truck build link:


              • #8
                Thanks for the info and inspiration so far.

                Gene i especially can relate to your story about a missed opportunity. I maybe young but i learned ago how ****ty that feeling of emptyness feels. I do believe that if you search hard enough you will find what your looking for to fill that void of your 49 plymouth dreams!

                The more i research about this project, the more inclined i am to salvage the stock frame and components as much as possbile.

                My plan as of now, find a complete v8 dakota 5 speed. Not sure where to go from there.... either swap the front clips to get clearance or swap the engine and mounts. Use the rear axle and use existing spring perches? Only time will tell.

                I will post some more pix this afternoon as i finally got it cleaned out 100%. Will need lots of rocker / floor work to ensure a safe ride.

                Click image for larger version

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                • #9
                  Based on my experiences with these old Mopars, if your frame is solid (or easily fixable), and the suspension is intact, the original stuff is pretty decent stuff and a lot easier then swapping the frame. The suspension design was light years ahead of the other makes at the time. The addition of disc brakes, upper shock location to the frame (if its still attached to the upper control arm in 1950), rebuild the front suspension if needed, and a sway bar if it doesn't have one, make them good drivers. A need for power steering gets a bit complicated, but can be done. Dealing with the rear brake drums is enough for me to swap out the rear axle without much thought. If your frame is really bad, or needs a lot of patching, and you decide a frame swap or clip is a better direction, I can help guide you. My 48 Plymouth business coupe is on a shortened Dakota frame, and I used a lot of the Dakota stuff on my car. Frame swaps are a lot of work, and not for the faint hearted.

                  I've probably had 6 or 7 of the Mopars from this era, every single one of them needed floor boards. The original floors were flat, and any bad window seals (which are most of them) allow rain water to soak into the carpet and rot out the 6" between the seat and the doors and the whole driver side floor pan. If you buy a parts truck, you will have a lot of fairly flat useful sheet metal, the hood skin, the roof skin, the top 3/4 of the door skins and much of the bed sides are probably usable sheet metal. The floors and needed patch panels won't care if the metal is new or rust free used stuff. You will just need to clean the paint off the area you are welding.

                  Window seals and other rubber stuff is expensive. I've had the best luck with stuff from They will have a lot of stuff to fit your car. You will need to watch prices, a lot of suspension stuff is still available at local parts houses. Gene


                  • #10
                    I plan on salvaging what i can of the original frame and suspension.

                    i will use square tubing to repair rockers. It maybe overkill but i have a lot of it on hand...

                    Im not going for a restoration by any means. I just want it to be structurally sound. Function over form.

                    That being said here are the rocker panels....

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	20200318_183830.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.16 MB ID:	726397


                    • #11
                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #12
                        Gene, thanks for the info! Any chance your near VA?


                        • #13
                          Sorry, I'm in the north west corner of IL, about 120 miles west of Chicago, 60 miles from Iowa, and 20 miles from WI.
                          You have more rockers then my 48 Plymouth had! Then someone along the way cut off the bottom 6" of the door and the panel behind the door. Gene
                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Hey gene, do you have any pictures of the repairs you made?


                            • #15
                              Howdy CR1. Might wanna try resizing the pic about 75% before uploading and then attaching in "large" mode. It's only showing up about 25% of the pic and the rest white screen. (On my connection anyways.)
                     1930 Chevy truck build link: