Build what you like, and build it for you – yeah absolutely! 

But it’s a bonus when other people like it too, right? When it inspires people. And gets in their bloodstream a little bit. 

Plymouth rat rod

Charlie Darmanjian Jr has love for all breeds of custom cars, without boundaries. He started off in the old school domestic world with ’69 Catalina convertible. …Had it for 20 years. Along the way, he picked up this ’47 Plymouth as a project, and ended up buying a Subaru WRX as a year-round, all-season car. The WRX is significant to the story, because it opened his mind (and wallet) to the import/turbo world. He got hooked up with some regional Subaru guys, and the Plymouth took a back seat to his newfound import-hooning fun. 

ECS Tuning

And we’re seeing this same scenario play-out in a lot of cases, in cross-directions: A lot of us have detoured off-course into other automotive genres. I guess if there’s a positive side to social media, it’s that it’s exposed ALL of us to ALL corners of automotive culture. We’re definitely less cubby-holed than we were 5-10 years ago. So in short, Charlie came to the import side from domestic roots… but simultaneously, a few of Charlie’s Subaru buddies were starting to pick up some older project cars to wrench on. Charlie stepped back like, “Well hell guys, I’ve had this ’47 Plymouth for years now… let’s play!” 

Charlie picked back up with the Plymouth, right where he left off… sort of. Except his exposure to the import culture made a few ‘adjustments’ in his newest vision for the sled. He re-calibrated for something a little grittier. Something that rolled with whatever punches life threw its way, and kept moving forward. Something Charlie didn’t have to polish every time he parked it. Something that pulled a few cues from ALL of his automotive passions/inspirations thus far. 

Call it a midlife crisis, or call it a transformation. But the whole journey rebuilding & reshaping this Plymouth has really left a mark on Charlie’s character. He left his ‘management position’ soul-stealing corporate day job, and got hired with 1945 Speed And Custom doing what he really loves. 

Text by Wooley   Photos by Nolan Persons

Esc Fabrications


1947 Plymouth Special Deluxe Club Coupe 

ENGINE – 400hp

1962 Chrysler Imperial 413RB big block

Rebuilt 0.030″ over, 440 source aluminum heads 2.14″ Intake/1.81″ exhaust (up from 2.08″ intake/1.60″ exhaust)

Edelbrock Torker single plane intake manifold

Holley 750cfm double pumper

MSD all-in-one distributor, automotive electric fuel pump and regulator

Comp Cams Thumpr cam. Lift .486”/.473″ Duration 279/297

440 sourced roller rockers

Smith Bros .080 wall pushrods

Mellings Hv oil pump/shaft

High Torque mini starter

Hedmann headers 1.75″ primary tubes

Custom built exhaust from headers back

Dynomax race bullet mufflers


1968 Charger Torqueflite 727

Hughes 3k stall 11″ convertor, rebuilt with HD bands/clutches and shift kit

Lokar 24″ shifter

Lokar kick-down cable and throttle cable

Shaftmasters custom driveshaft


1969 Roadrunner 8 3/4 sure grip 3.55 gears

11″ drum brakes

Floor-mounted master cylinder/brake booster

Wilwood proportioning valve and 10psi/2psi residual valves

All new brake lines & e-brake cable


Rear – custom 4-link, custom bag mounts, Airlift d2500 bags

Front – Airlift d2500 bags with custom made cups. Custom made lower control arm mounts that relocated shocks to frame (instead of control arm to control arm)

Fatman Fab 2.5″ drop spindles, new kingpins and bushings

Swaybar is from a 1997 Jeep Cherokee with custom brackets & mounts & shortened endlinks.

Front brakes consist of Rusty Hope caliper brackets, 1984 Camaro calipers, and 1977 Volare 11″ rotors.

Steering is rack & pinion from a 1987 Chevy Cavalier center mount with custom made brackets to the frame.

Inner tie rod mounts custom made, outer steering arms flipped, bent and re-tapered.

Custom AN lines for PS made in the garage, & hooked to a Heidts pressure valve to control pressure, all hooked to 3 u-joints connecting to original steering column


Rear quarters widened 3” on each side.

Front bumper lowered 5” and set back 2”.

Custom front fascia and splitter (splitter rods from Fully Torqued Racing).

Wheels: Fronts are 16×7 from a early 90’s Ford Crown Vic. Rears are Wheel Vintiques in 15×9 with 275/60 tires.

16-gallon fuel cell replaced original rusted-out tank.

Cut out the floor and made a custom box and supports.

New Floor made from scratch, starting with steel boxed tubing and covered in steel sheet including trans tunnel and driveshaft tunnel.

Optima Battery relocated to trunk, 1/0 ga wire runs through frame from a Ford solenoid.

Frame coated in POR15 front to back top and bottom.

Firewall dropped back 4 inches.

Overpanel made from aluminum, & powdercoated wrinkle black.

Motor mounts & tranny crossmember custom made.

New 21-circuit wiring harness.

Custom gauge cluster.

Custom made glove box & door panels.

All dash & trim powdercoated lime green.

Seats: full 10-way power/heated leather from a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Rear seats fully functional and still fold down for more trunk room

rat rod interior

MXP exhaust