Road Rules! Jim McCurry is Closing in on a Quarter Million Miles in his Pro Street Mopar
“It’s 230,000 miles to the moon, so I’ve driven to the moon and now I’m on my way back.”
That’s the way Jim McCurry describes the distance he has logged on his ’33 Plymouth coupe since he got it on the road as a street rod back in 1990. Total mileage on the pro street Plymouth was 242,669 as we were writing this feature, and you can bet the odometer has ticked up since then. “I had a lot of people tell me when I was building this car that you can’t drive a pro street car anywhere,” Jim says. “I think I have proven you can. Ha!”
Jim bought the original coupe back in 1985 and started a five-year build on it. “Plymouth made two coupes in ’33,” he says. “My car is the rarest of the two cars; the other is four inches longer and it was called the PD. My car is the PC model.”
Jim wanted to keep the Plymouth all-Mopar, so he installed a 340c.i. small block with a Six Pack intake and a Mopar 518 overdrive transmission. The narrowed rearend came out of a ’76 Imperial and has 3.55:1 gears. “The car has power disc brakes on all wheels,” Jim says. “It has Vintage Air and heat, satellite radio, tilt steering, Magnum 4-inch drop axle, Vega-style cross steering, old-style Stewart Warner gauges, and Weld wheels – 29-18.5-15 on the back, 14-inch on the front.”
A longtime Goodguys member, Jim has been venturing from his home in Chico, California, to events across the country since getting his Plymouth completed. “The first place I drove out of town was to Pleasanton, California, to the West Coast Nats in August 1990,” Jim says. “I drove the car in black primer for the first 50,000 miles, then had it painted in 1994. I had the same guy (Craig Wallace in Nevada City, California) repaint the car at 200,000 miles in 2016. I repaint the front fenders about every other year because of all the road rash. I am not a bra fan.”
The driving shots of the car on these pages are from last year’s Hall of Fame Road Tour West, but many of the other photos come from the wide range of travels Jim has made through the decades. “I have driven the car across the [United States] to car events 10 times,” Jim says. “I have driven it to different events in Canada a total of four times. I did a lot of Americruises, a [Goodguys] Indy happening in 2006, a lot of Street Rodder Road Tours, some Goodguys Road tours, as well as just car guys going to different events. I also am a member of the P-Town Pushrods.”
Naturally, there have been a few setbacks during all those miles. Jim carries an extensive care kit to help with roadside repairs, but a few problems have gone beyond quick fixes. “The worst breakdown I’ve had was last year on the Hall of Fame Road Tour; I lost a transmission in Arizona,” Jim says. Fortunately, a transmission shop in the Phoenix area was able to get him back on the road with only one day of downtime.
Another mishap happened in St. Paul, Minnesota. “I was eating dinner in a cafe and came out and found my rear fender smashed from a pickup that was also at the cafe,” Jim says. Ouch! The other driver fessed up and his insurance coverage helped get the fender fixed when Jim got home. “These old cars have so much good steel in them,” Jim says.
Jim is quick to point out that most things can be repaired; you can’t let the potential for problems keep you from enjoying the open road. “The most important thing to remember for all car guys is, ya gotta drive ’em!” Jim says, echoing the famous catchphrase of Goodguys founder Gary Meadors.
With three decades of road trips in his rearview mirror, Jim avoids pinpointing specific highlights. For him, it’s more about the experience as a whole. “I think the most memorable things from all the road trips is all the great friends you make around the great United States,” Jim says. “I am a veteran and really enjoy all the military museums and Civil War battlegrounds that our forefathers fought on so we can have the freedom to enjoy our life.”
Photos by Jim McCurry & Steven Bunker