JP’s interest peaked when Hannes brought home a 1948 Plymouth 2-door Coupe. The car was originally found in Queenstown Eastern Cape.
Owners: JP Jonker. Builder : Danie Van Der Merwe
JP Jonker always had an interest in cars. But It was only when he was 16 and in High school, that his interest in Hot-Rods started. In his sixteenth year, some interesting neighbours moved in next door.
JP explains that his new neighbour turned out to be Hannes Meyer (who is well known for his love of hotrods and classic cars in PE). I always admired his beautiful cars and dreamed of owning one, one day. I visited next door quite frequently (Hannes has beautiful cars and a beautiful daughter) and so my liking and interest in hotrods grew. Today I have a beautiful Hotrod of my own and I am also married to his daughter.
JP’s interest peaked when Hannes brought home a 1949 Plymouth 2-door Coupe. The car was originally found in Queenstown Eastern Cape. It was brought to Uitenhage by the previous owner, Oom Louis Gericke who owned it for a couple of years. He made a couple of adjustments ie. gauges, a new carburettor, a new paint job etc. The car was then sold to Hannes Meyer. In my opinion, a 1948 Plymouth Coupe has one of the most beautiful rear ends around. I love the “Coupe Look” even though there is more than enough space inside for 4 people to sit comfortably.
The car was already what we call a “Hot Rod” as it had a V8 engine, upgraded suspensions, gauges and bright colour. But it still had all of its original chrome trims, moldings, taillights and handles. The original plan was to just take out the engine, strip the interior, redo the dash, repaint the car and put everything back together. The project stalled for a while due to other projects. The project recommenced in June 2018 with a whole lot of new Ideas. So the body was sent to Danie Van Der Merwe.
The body was in fair condition and most of the original chrome strips and mouldings were still in place. But it had some damage and scratches and the body definitely needed attention. The floor of the car had quite a bit of rust and so 50% of the floor was rebuilt using new sheet metal. Minor rust spots on the body were removed and taken care of. The most bodywork on this car was the dash and gearbox tunnel. One interesting feature is a custom-built tunnel in the firewall that accommodates the changing/setting of the distributor.
My father-in-law and I spent weeks looking through old SA Hotrod Magazines, US Hotrod Magazines and pictures on the Internet to find the right colour. He took out a new car book and showed me the new Audi A4 colour, VW Nano grey. I decided then and there that it was the colour. The paint was mixed according to the VW colour, but it was too dark at first. After 3 tries the colour looked great. It is slightly lighter than the original VW Color. City Paint and Tool in PE (Brent van Niekerk) supplied the paint.
The original chassis was strengthened, braced and reinforced where necessary. I have been told that a Plymouth has one of the most challenging chassis to fit aftermarket suspensions.
When I bought the car, it had Chev Deville front and rear suspensions already installed. The ride was a bit rough to my liking and I decided to leave the rear suspension and replace the front with a Jag suspension. Therefore the chassis had to be cut and reinforced for the Jag suspension to fit and achieve the proper “low” look and good stance.
I decided to leave the rear suspension in because the previous owner had the Diff and brakes completely reconditioned before it was sold to me. The front suspension, however, had to go as it did not have power steering and was a rough ride. I decided on Jag suspensions because I have driven a couple of rods with Jag suspensions and in my opinion, they are the smoothest ride for a Hotrod. Rear brakes were reconditioned, and the front brakes were skimmed, New pots and brake pads were installed thanks to Jag & Daimler Spares in JHB.
The motor was bought from an advert on Gumtree. The previous owner took the motor out of a running Impala with +- 20 000km on the clock. The motor came from Upington.
Neil Flannigan was the mechanic involved with the motor. He has built 3 motors for me and Approximately 6 for my father-in-law. The idea was to keep the motor internals standard as far as possible, due to it having such low mileage. So no cams, pistons etc were changed. Only a performance intake and Holley Carb Added.
The idea was to keep the motor internals standard as far as possible due to it having such low mileage. So no cams, pistons etc were changed. Only a performance intake and Holley Carb Added. Polished Tapped Covers, chrome power steering pump, air cleaner and alternator were added to give it a nice shine.
I went for the 327 Chevy due to the fact that they have “bulletproof” engines. Then I went with the 700r4 gearbox for the convenience of having an extra gear and better fuel consumption on long trips. I bought the gearbox from a local in Port Elizabeth about 4 years ago. I bought and stored it knowing that one day I would love to have this 4-speed gearbox in my Hotrod.
The interior was done by a local guy from Port Elizabeth. It was done from home. The seats came from a Ford Fiesta and were sourced from Merbida, a local company in Port Elizabeth. I wanted to make a statement with the interior and that is why I chose to go with the cream and red interior. The seats and panels are genuine Leather.
There is also a DVD Screen with a nice sound system. The steering wheel was replaced with a custom one from Autosport in PE . All new gauges came from Speedyquip in PE (Jerome). The dash was completely rebuilt and a “Cubby hole” was specially installed for my wife. For the wheels, JP went with American Racing wheels that he got from Concept Wheels PE (Wasim). Running 17” Rims with 235/55/17 on the rear and 225/50/17 in Front
New glass was used for the windows, except for the rear window which is original. The windows were tinted all around. Front quarter panel windows were removed and converted into one piece. Original headlights were recessed and original moulding was placed around. We upgraded the original headlights to Golf “Angel Eye” headlights. The original tail lights were removed, and a set of Pontiac taillights were recessed into the body. A large stop light was also added under the rear window. A bigger fuel tank with 70L capacity was added.
The car has a couple of unique features. The front and rear bumpers were removed. The rear end was formed to run along with the shape of the body. The front of the car received a custom scoop. Drip rails were totally removed and the body was finished off. The top of the door’s edges was rounded off instead of leaving them at an angle. Front fenders were slightly rolled out to accommodate the wider wheels. The colour scheme changed from a two-tone (maroon and green) to the colour that is on the car today. But it definitely came out better than what was originally anticipated.
Anybody you would like to thank?
- Hannes Meyer for most of the Ideas and for introducing and igniting my Passion for Hot Rods.
- Danie van Der Merwe for al of the work done on the car.
- Neil Flannigan for the Engine work
- All the Suppliers of Materials, Parts etc. (too many to mention)
Names of companies you used for parts and work done on the car.
- Motown Cape Town – Engine Parts
- RS Performance Johannesburg – Engine Parts
- Speedyquip Port Elizabeth – Gauges and General Parts
- City Paint & Tool Port Elizabeth – All Bodywork, Paint Etc
- Powerflow Exhausts Port Elizabeth – Exhaust
- Concept Wheels – Rims and Tyres