Dale Gilmore, a firefighter from Fort Pierce, Florida, purchased his '63 Plymouth Savoy from Dan Cook of nearby Jupiter. It seems Dan found the car at an estate sale in Virginia, where it sat in storage for over 25 years. Shortly after Dan's acquisition, Dale found out about the car and pried Dan's fingers from the title. Dale tells his story:
"When I purchased it from Dan, the odometer was showing only 24,000 miles, and the body was sporting the 40-year-old original paint and interior. For power, it had a Slant Six, with a push-button automatic tranny. The cloth seats were faded and a little thin in places, but the floor mat, door panels, dash, headliner, dash panel, and gauges looked very nice. It still had factory markings on the firewall, OK stamps on the cowling, and a red "X" marked in the trunk. The car was rust-free, with only a need for paint and seat covers, but it would have been fine as-is for a daily driver."
Since Dale wanted more than a daily driver, the body was given to Gaspar Body and Paint in Fort Pierce, where Dave Gaspar added the Max Wedge hoodscoop and re-covered the said scoop and the rust-free sheetmetal with the original shade of white. It was a simple task of old paint off, new paint on, and it was done. All exterior stainless steel and chrome parts were nice, thus left original. With the body ready for reassembly, it was taken home, and the hard work began.
To better support the powerhouse, the original six-cylinder engine and transmission (pulled before painting) were replaced with a '67 440 supported by a correct wedge K-frame. The brake system was upgraded to a dual master cylinder unit from Mopar Performance, and underneath, the suspension parts were detailed with POR-15 chassis paint.
To make this cool ride hot, Gary Cooper, also of Fort Piece, spent some time prepping the block. Prepping consisted of boring it .030 over and giving it a good cleaning. Dale decided to handle the assembly himself, so a stock Mopar crank and rods slam the Keith Black pistons up and down in those newly-bored cylinders, while a .509 Mopar Performance cam and lifters actuate the stainless steel 2.14-inch intake and 1.81-inch exhaust valves installed in the 915 heads. On top of the heads is a Six Pack setup with Holley carbs that are given a nostalgic flare with a trio of air-cleaner assemblies. A Milodon 7-quart oil pan gives the engine the necessary slippery stuff, and a complete TTI exhaust system sends the fumes out the back. The tranny was given to Naster's Transmissions in Fort Pierce for the requisite rebuilding. The transmission is a '65 unit, which does away with the '63 trunion-style driveshaft. A 3,800-stall converter from JW Transmissions and a Turbo Action rebuild kit send the power to the 3.54-filled Dana 60 rear.
When it was time to start the interior, Dale couldn't believe how well the pieces cleaned up. Sure, Phillip Martin of Fort Pierce replaced the seat covers, but the floor mat, headliner, door panels, and even the trunk mat are factory original. Dale would like to thank all of his friends and family, especially his wife Carmen.
Firefighters like it hot-our guess is that's why Dale lives in Florida. But, isn't it nice to know that when he comes out of a burning inferno, a cool ride is close at hand?