We continue to inch closer the completion of the 1958 Plymouth.
After the publication of the Installing Fenders and Hood page in
February 2007, I received an email from a fellow 58 Plymouth restorer in
Sweden, informing me that the area on the fender behind the headlights and
grille should be painted black, instead of body color. I checked one of my
original California fenders that I was keeping as a spare and, sure enough, he
was right. As soon as the weather warmed up,
the area was masked off and sprayed black.
Above: Fender headlight area is now correctly painted black, thanks
to a Swedish fan of this website.
Despite its relatively clean appearance, lots of dirt was found inside the
carb. After a dip in carb cleaner, followed by a rebuild and reassembly, the
car runs and accelerates a lot better than before.
I then sent the car off to the body shop for final panel alignment. When the car returned,
the fender mouldings were buffed, attached and aligned. Headlights were also installed.
Above: Shim in foreground was fabricated from 1/4" steel to keep front bumper
from rubbing against lower grill panel. Reinforcement piece in background was
missing from car and had to be obtained from a salvage yard in California.
Right: After sandblasting, the Plymouth's wheels were sprayed with
a green zinc phosphate primer before the silver top coat was applied.
Below: It took almost nine months to get these nicely crafted door
panels from SMS Auto Interiors. Holes still need to be drilled for door
Starting problems continued to plague the car. So
in mid-Summer, the two barrel Stromberg was rebuilt and reinstalled. The car
starts and accelerates a lot better now.
The quarter window binding problem was solved this year with a set of
newly-available, flocked roof rail weather strips. Realignment of the glass and
lots of lubrication with WD-40 also helped.
In August, the door panels, ordered from SMS Auto Interiors in November 2006
finally arrived. They were high quality reproductions, despite the fact that
the pattern on the silver mylar patches was not entirely correct.
The larger 14 x 5½" wheels were sandblasted, sprayed with a zinc phosphate
primer then finished in silver, the correct wheel color for this car.
One problem that had always existed was with the top of the bumper rubbing
against the top of the lower grill panel, scratching the paint off. Our initial
attempt to mount the front bumper showed that this problem was still with us.
It was also discovered that a pair of bumper bracket reinforcements were
missing. Fortunately, a friend that sold me the quarter panel for this car many
years ago was able to supply me with a pair of these reinforcements from one of
his parts cars.
To solve the problem of the bumper being too close to the lower grille panel, I
had a sheet metal fabricator fashion a ¼" shim to fit between the frame
and the each of the bumper brackets. When I discussed this with a friend from
New Zealand, he mentioned that someone had also done this for his 57 Plymouth
Fury. So I guess I wasn’t the only one having this problem !