A Cool 1936 Plymouth Pickup From Bits And Pieces

Mark Mercury spotted a rusty old truck body and chassis while doing his inspection rounds, lying on vacant land in Grassy Park. The owner of the property had asked him to remove it and dump it in the scrap yard. Virtually all that remained of the wreck was the chassis, cab and half of the bin, with no doors or windows. Mark didnt know what it was until he found the original owner; who wanted to strip and restore the 1936 Plymouth Pickup. But, over time, some parts and bits got stolen and he abandoned the project. To the bemusement of his friends, he resolved to take the pieces home and revive the vehicle.

By Ray Butters 

Mark is nothing if not resourceful. So, together with help from assorted family members, Mark got stuck into the project with a vengeance. Mark had no idea what a 36 Plymouth looked like and he and his family decided to do this assignment together. So, they surfed the internet for photos and ideas and started to work from there.  After having the Plymouth for approximately two years, the build took 5 weekends to complete and has been licensed since 2010.

With all work done by hand and in his home garage, Mark made use of a piece of old scaffolding as a workbench. He fashioned new floors, mudguards, doors, the bonnet and tailgate with remarkable accuracy. To mould the fenders, Mark used the outline of the old fenders and shaped it from there. Whilst the rear fenders have been fabricated from Beetle fenders. Furthermore, the doors are also made from scratch but to get the curve in the windows, fibreglass was used for the top part of the doors. Then, the fibreglass was raised to approximately 50mm to give the appearance of a chopped roof.

The doors have been customised to open with remote control. The bonnet was shaped from sheet metal, but the steel would be straight again the next morning. So, it is now moulded with fibreglass. The floor on the load bed was non-existent and replaced with wood. The tailgate was also made from scratch. The grill was thought to be stolen but after clearing out the load bin they found the grill and headlights, all of which have been restored and used in the restoration. 

A Jaguar suspension and diff were fitted in the front and rear and a brake booster from a Ford Courier, while a BMW master cylinder, takes care of the stopping power. A five-litre Fairlane 500 V8 was installed under the bonnet mated to a C4 automatic gearbox. The 17-inch five-spoke mags are shod with 225x40x17 rubber. The exhaust is handmade and the petrol tank is from a Toyota Hi-Lux and the cap is from a Chrysler. 

The sparkling metallic maroon paint job was also laid down by this man of many talents himself. Mark liked this colour since his school days when he saw a GMC in the same colour. Furthermore, the roof is silver and the rest has an underlay of black with one overlay layer of crimson pearl; when the Pickup is in the sun one can see the two-tone colour coming through. Also, the whole body was sanded by hand. The seats are Corsa bakkie seats which he found at the council dump site.

The roof lining has been done by himself, stitched together with an old manual sewing machine. Marks sweet daughter Michelle (youngest of three), is his chief mechanic and the two of them plus wife Beryl and father-in-law Edgar are members and regular participants in the Cape Town Street Rod Clubs runs and functions. A more delightful family you could not hope to meet.

Much later after completing the Plymouth, Mark also became the proud owner of another totally complete and original barn find, a 1936 Plymouth Pickup, which is much admired and lusted after by fellow petrolheads.  It had been purchased on auction some twenty years earlier by the previous owner but never put back into service and it still carries the logo of Grootmoddergat Estate in Hout Bay where it originally came from. As if this is not enough, he is also working on a further project in the form of a 1934 Dodge sedan.