Video: Sticking A Radial Aircraft Engine Into a ‘39 Plymouth Pickup

If there is a single defining feature of a hot rod, it all has to go back to the engine swap. Whether it be a Chevy motor powering a five-window Ford, a HEMI motivating a Mercury lead sled, or a Camaro with the running gear of a Toyota Supra, your typical hot rod has an engine that is anything but stock. But there are so many motors beyond what’s available in the automotive sphere, as this next video demonstrates exceptionally well.

The radial engine is not the only aviation motif in this build. The cockpit looks like a vintage bomber cockpit as well.

The Plymouth Air Radial Truck, as it is simply called, is a 1939 Plymouth pickup that has had a 12.5 liter (!!) radial engine from an airplane stuffed into the engine bay. It’s a mad piece of machinery, and it runs with the aeronautical theme from front to back.

The centerpiece of this hot rod is obviously the massive airplane engine, a seven-cylinder 12.5 liter motor built by the Jacobs Aircraft Engine Company for the Cessna 195. Said to produce 300 horsepower, the engine obviously wasn’t chosen because it makes a ton of power. Rather it was an aesthetic and thematic choice, as the rest of the pickup has adopted a 30s-era airplane.

That look that includes riveted sheet metal, a pair of steering wheels for both pilot and co-pilot that appear as though they came straight out of the Spirit of St. Louis, along with the gauge cluster. Built by Gary Corns and his team for Colorado Auto and Parts, this build really steps up our expectations from the hot rod community. It’s time to open the floodgates and start bringing in drivetrains from outside the world of cars and trucks. What other powertrains can be borrowed for hot rodding?

About the author

Chris Demorro

Christopher DeMorro is a freelance writer and journalist from Connecticut with two passions in life; writing and anything with an engine.
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