Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

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 McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

At the Goodguys 2019 Summit Racing Lone Star Nationals after completing the Hall of Fame Road Tour West.

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 McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

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.”

Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

Mopar fans will be happy to note that the Plymouth is powered by a 340c.i. small block topped with a Six Pack triple-carb setup. It has been freshened up a few times in the past three decades. An automatic overdrive transmission helps make the fat-tired Plymouth more highway friendly.


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.”

Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

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.”

Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

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.

Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

“This is what a veteran road dog has in his trunk on a long road trip,” Jim says. “I still have room for luggage for two people.” Among the items in Jim’s roadside emergency kit are new hoses and belts, jumper cables and a battery box, tow straps, bottle jacks, an alternator and starter, an electric fuel pump, and a roll of duct tape and baling wire. There are also an assortment of nuts and bolts and two canvas tool bags. “Canvas bags are better because you can pack them better than a hard tool container,” Jim says. Of course, there’s also a spare tire. “The spare wheel is a unilug so it will fit most other cars as well,” Jim says. “What guys don’t think about is if they have a flat tire, they need to have a tire that holds air on the car to put it on a trailer or slide-back truck. Most hot rods will tear up sheet metal on fenders and nose cones because the cars are so low they will just be dragging on the road.”

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 McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

Visiting the Billy the Kid Museum on a trip to Texas.

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.

Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

Making a stop at the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California.

Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

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.”

Jim McCurry, 1933 plymouth, hot rod, street rod, pro street, road rules, ya gotta drive em

Jim’s “Last Chance Garage” on his property in Chico, California.

Photos by Jim McCurry & Steven Bunker

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.

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