1949 Dodge Wayfarer: Gangster Style - BIG MUSCLE

Uploaded by drive on 18.10.2012

MIKE MUSTO: Today on "Big Muscle," we're going to bring
you something that we wouldn't normally show.
You see, for the most part, we stick to cars from the '60s
and the '70s--
muscle cars like a GTX or a Charger or Chevelle.
But a couple of weeks ago I was at Hot August Nights in
Reno, and I happened upon this.
This is a 1949 Dodge Wayfarer.
And as you can see, it looks like something out of the
Prohibition era.
I mean, it looks like a moonshine car.
From the lacquer black paint to the big fricking four-inch
white walls, to the poverty caps on wheels, the car just
has a presence and a stance to it that's not only aggressive,
but gorgeous at the same time.
Dan Zuccaro, the owner, kind enough to let us use this
thing today to take it out to road test it
and bring it to you.
So hang on for a good time.
It's going to be a good episode of "Big Muscle."
DAN ZUCCARO: Right here we have a '49 Dodge Wayfarer.
It was the business coupe of its era.
And it was one of the cheaper models that Dodge put out.
And you won't see very many of them today and that's what
really got me interested in the car.
I originally got the car about four years ago.
I looked at it, and I knew that I could make a nice
looking hot rod out of it.
So I put together some sketches and I got together
with the guys at Rods R Us.
And in collaboration with them, put together a 383/425
horsepower engine and FatMan suspension on the front.
Modernized the whole car.
It's got disc brakes, rack and pinion steering and it just
rides beautifully.
And it adapted to the car perfect and it's just
been a great car.

MIKE MUSTO: So this week on "Big Muscle" we're bringing
you something that, well, you've never seen before.
It's a 1949 Dodge Wayfarer.
And it's a car that--
it's kind of fallen off the radar.
Generally on this show we'll talk about cars like Chargers,
and GTOs and things of that nature.
I mean, it's a big muscle show which kind of says, well,
we're going to talk about muscle cars all the time.
But a couple of weeks ago, I went to Hot August Nights in
Reno, Nevada.
I spent three days at that show looking
for things to shoot.
Trying to find the perfect car that I thought would be great
for you guys at home.
This was the first one I saw, and it blew me away.
It's a short wheelbase car.
It was built at the time after World War II when guys would
come home from the war.
And they wanted something that was inexpensive that looked
great, and that could take them anywhere
they wanted to go.

DAN ZUCCARO: Originally I called some of my buddies over
the phone and said listen, I found this '49 Dodge.
I think it's going to be a cool hot rod.
And they thought did you hit your head?
Did you lose your mind?
Because why would you buy a Dodge like that?
I says well, be patient.
You need to wait and see this car.
So I didn't really show any of my buddies the car until I had
fixed it up.
And they all changed their mind.
They all thought it was a really nice looking hot rod
and it really grew on them.
MIKE MUSTO: Now for the hot rod guys, we all kind of know
that Dodge has always been like the redheaded stepchild
of the hot rod world.
So Dan, being Dan, didn't give a [BLEEP].
He could care less.
He bought this car because it's what he liked.
And not only that, he changed it and made it into something
that, in my opinion, is really, really breathtaking.
Lowered the car about three inches, did FatMan suspension,
rack and pinion steering.
These beautiful, beautiful steel wheels with the white
walls with the dog dish hubcaps really
finished off the look.
But then he did something that's going to
kill every Dodge guy.
He dropped in a 383 Chevy small block.
Now what's the reasoning for that?
Well, I'm going to tell you.
The Chevy small block fits in everything--
You could put it in a Fiat, you could put it in a Mustang,
you could put it in absolutely everything.
They're lightweight.
They don't take a lot of money to make gobs and gobs of
power, and they're extremely reliable.
Plus, the aftermarket is fantastic.
You can buy anything for these motors.
So the motor we have in here makes about 425 horsepower,
and about 400 pound feet of torque.
I mean, you jump on this thing, it's not
going to blow you away.
But it's got a great exhaust [INAUDIBLE] and it's going to
get the car moving.
And the thing that people don't understand is, they
don't expect the car to handle.
I mean, it handles just as good as any new Hyundai or any
new fricking Toyota Camry that you're going to buy.
It's actually pretty impressive.

DAN ZUCCARO: Well, the interior I pretty much kept
all-original the way I purchased it.
I did add the stereo system and speakers, front and back.
The third light in the back, because this car only has one
tail light in the back that's a brake light.
And that was part of the era that made it stand out.
So it's right in the center of the trunk, the tail light.
And that's the only brake light, so I
kept that all original.
This car has square gauges, and kept those and added some
other gauges for the modern engine down below that are a
little less noticeable.
And built a little console, because these never had coffee
cup holders, something like that.
You couldn't go to Starbucks in this car back in the day,
you had nowhere to put your cup.
So I made sure that I got that all dialed in.
And the air conditioning is something that
these cars never had.
So it's a real enjoyable car, comfortable.
And, matter of fact, the guys at Rods R Us, when they put it
together, said it's one of the nicest riding hot
rods they'd ever done.

MIKE MUSTO: Things that you want to take
notice of this car.
The windshield has this beautiful split glass in it.
Something that I can't even tell you the last time I saw
that on a car.
I remember the old Volkswagen buses had it back in the day,
but that was about it.
The gauges are these beautiful art deco square gauges.
The dash panel, beautiful chrome with a radio inlaid
really, really, really nicely done.
Again, not overly ornate, but something that you look at and
you go I don't understand why they can't do that today.
So for instance, down here we have a little lever that when
you push it down it pops this vent open on the hood.
And it just lets air in and it cools your feet.
What does that cost?
It costs next to nothing.
It's not electrical, it's a simple mechanical lever that
just makes the car great.
Why ruin stuff like that with electronics?
I don't know, I don't get it, man.
Today, what do we get?
We get cars that are full of plastic, full of rubber.
Full of materials that when you touch them they just feel
cheap and manufactured.
This feels like an automobile.
And it rides, because of the modifications
that Dan made, fantastic.
We've got air conditioning on, we're totally comfortable,
we've got power steering, power brakes.
And from a handling component, it's not a heavy car.
You see this thing and it's all steel and it
looks big and burly.
It's only 3,300 pounds.
It's lighter than most Hyundais out there.
So from a driving perspective, could you
drive this every day?
Could you be comfortable in it every day?
Well, with the A/C on, yeah, you could.
As a muscle car guy, I never really looked at cars from the
'30s, '40s and '50s.
They really weren't my thing.
But the more that I see these cars, the more
I'm drawn to them.
The more I see cars like Dan's Wayfarer, the more I go,
Jesus, I really like that.
And it starts to give me ideas.
And it starts to generate emotions about cars that I
didn't really realize that I had.
And I'm going, I'm kind of digging that.
I think I want that in my garage.
So, I don't know, we might see one of these things, or a '30s
or '40s hot rod, in my garage in the near future.
We're going to have to wait and see on that one.
It really is a great car, man.
So lucky to have found this, and we can't thank Dan enough.

DAN ZUCCARO: No, I don't think I ever would sell this car.
This is one of those cars that I found that I think is a very
unusual car in the fact that you just
don't see them anymore.
And I like the idea when I go to a car show that I've never
seen another one.
And it's a great feeling to know you have something that
people enjoy, and they like, and it's different.

MIKE MUSTO: We spent the entire day running around the
canyons with this awesome '49 Wayfarer.
And when we came back, Dan the owner said well,
did you jump on it?
Did you run it?
We said yeah, we run it.
He goes, did you do a burnout?
I said, well no, it's not our car.
He goes, well, it's my car, so have at it.
So with that I want to say thanks for tuning in to "Big
Muscle." and we will absolutely see you.

Now how is it for safety?
Well, that's a whole other ballgame entirely.
Obviously we don't have air bags.
If we crashed, we're finished.
I mean, my face is going to get separated between the
slots on this steering wheel.
And then everybody's going to be upset because "Big Muscle"
is going to be canceled.
I won't have a show.
And Dan's going to be traumatized because he's got
to clean my face off the dash.
But otherwise, I would pimp this thing out everyday.
I mean, look at this.
Yeah, I feel like a pimp.
This is awesome.