Peters Hemirod

Say hot rod, and most people think of a - 32 Ford. But Peter Wallin, from Umeå in Sweden, had his own vision. His - 39 Plymouth with a cast iron Hemi is pretty pretty much spot on.

By. Ulf Forsberg

The ground trembles as Peter Wallin unleashes the power of his cast iron Hemi and starts spinning his cars rear tires. In an instant, thick smoke effectively rises above the cars rear fenders and covers the roaring car.

Peters arm is casually hanging out of the side window and a satisfied smile appears on his face, almost as if this was something he did every day.

- Yes, but I do that. At least during summer time, he explains.

The hot rod, wich Peter built it on a - 39 Plymouth Business Coupe, is matte black and just as saucy as unusual.

But let's go back to the early 2000s. Then the car was a rusting, washed up original, standing on a farm outside of El Mirage in California along with a considerable number of other cars in similar condition. The authorities wanted the owner to clean up his yard, before they ended up on a junk yard.

A bunch of Swedish guys on a roadtrip happened to see the roofline of the car and swung into the yard. One of them was renovating a -39 Plymouth and needed a car for spare parts.

The owner, who really had to get rid of the car, sold it and a few weeks later it ended up in Sweden where it ended up for sale after beeing looted for parts.

Peter saw the ad, discovered the possibilities and bought it in springtime 2003.

Once the deal was done Peter basically drove home the empty shell, sitting on an old worn out sofa.

- We drove there and back in one swoop, 1400 kilometres in total. According to the description, it was reasonable to assume that the six cylinder flathead would die on us in an hour os so.

Two walkie talkies were life savers during the trip and the speed was determined by the thermometer instead of at the speedometer.

- If i drove faster than 65 km/h the flathead was overheated. But strangely enough, the engine held all the way to Umeå.

Incidentally, the engine held together the rest of the summer, and while Peter drove around he made plans for the future. Big plans.

They included a Hemi and luckily enough, he found a real 392 cast-iron V8 just as the flathead six died on him for good. All parts in the big engine were renovated or replaced with new ones. The cylinder-block had been drilled 0.40 and was now the home of eight custom-made, forged Ross pistons.

- They are designed to withstand nitrous oxide. You never know what the future holds within, Peter says with a smile.

Furthermore, the engine had forged H-profile rods, a forged blueprinted original crankshaft and a hot Howard camshaft, while the oil supply was rebuilt for the modern oilfilter and got a baffled tray and a high pressure oil pump.

Original cylinder heads were ported and got stainless valves, a matching tunnelram intake with two Edelbrock Performer 600 ensure that the engine gets enough gasoline.

When it came to selecting gearbox, Peter was thinkin more reasonably. The car needed a gearbox that could withstand lots of power, and after having looked at all options, the most reliable choice was the GM TH400-box. A truck box that was renovated and prepped by his local transmisssionshop. It was fitted with a 3000 Holeshot turbine and to fit the engine it got a Hotheads-adapter mounted.

The rear axle is a diffed Chrysler 8 ¾ with 3:23, mounted in a four-link with coil overs and adjustable dampers.

The body was sanded and acid-treated before it was found painted matte black.

The car was finished in 2008 and the build up offered a variety of challenges since there are hardly any aftermarket hot rod-gadgets for a -39 Plymouth.

- No, you can not even google the knowledge. But to build after own ideas is a challenge that I like.

An example of this is the headers of Fenderwelltype with 2 "primary and 3.5" collectors, which had to be made from scratch. Another challenge was to even fit the engine. This was solved by clearing everything under the hood and move the bulkhead about four inches backward.

To get a nice working suspension, Peter built a custom front suspension based on the Volvo 164, and converted it to rack and pinion with servopower along with hard, lower springs and adjustable dampers.

- I put the car in the height I wanted, and built along it. It is 3 "lower than the original with a little rake.

Rear axles on certain American cars from the late 1930s are often a little too far forward and to get the rear wheels to center better in the wheel arches Peter moved the rear axle 10 mm backwards.

Peter, like many others, want the impossible combination of having a very powerful engine, but yet economical.

- I want to use it as a souped-up hot rod and still be able to go on longer journeys. Now the engine is built to have a really strong midrange and when utilized properly, the equation strong / economical, at least somewhat, works together.

So how consistent is this Plymouth to Peter's original vision? Real good apart from a few details.

- I was going to build on a - 40 or - 41 Plymouth Coupe. I simply had not checked in - 39 coupés, but when I saw the ad, I realized that this was what i wanted. The body would have been polished black and the interior tuck'n role, under the hood it would have been a cast iron Hemi engine with push button gearbox and an 8 ¾ axis. Later I realized that I really needed a hot rod and then did it became matt black with 400-box instead and I am very satisfied with the result, Peter says.

Possible quotas:

Rusty old junkyard-car

Empty shell

the speed was determined by the thermometer instead of at the speedometer

you can not even google the knowledge

very powerful engine, but yet economical