Brent Hoitink from Manitoba, Canada knows just how to build a proper custom. When asked how long it took him to complete this radical Plymouth his answer was “off and on… a year.” Fifteen years ago Brent caved to the custom itch, which he couldn’t quite seem to scratch fast enough. His latest build, this 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook is laid out and looking like a sweet treat that Milton S. Hershey devised in his lab. Brent, no stranger to custom vehicles through the years, has built several “patina” rides, but for this one it was time to go all out. He chose to show the world that he wasn’t just a one trick pony. Continue along as we tell you a story that would even give Willy Wonka a run for his “chocolate” money.
Wanting to build something different, Brent jumped right into this project that had passed its way through a friend’s hands. Rod Cayer decided it was time to let the car go to the next guy, which just so happened to be Brent’s chance at the perfect canvas. The car started out as a previously hot rodded vehicle that was painted white with an outdated look that was begging for a revamp. Brent formulated a plan and started with laying down the ’53 to a more respectable asphalt hugging altitude. The front was simply ‘bagged on completely stock suspension and out back, trailing arms were added along with ‘bags for a fully adjustable ride. The rolling attire is a classic chrome hubcap tailored with American Classic whitewalls. Stepping back to review the progress, Brent was pleased to see the build coming along and knew exactly what was next.
Photos: Corey “Cojo Photo” Jonasson | Words: Jason Ballard
The plan was for some “simple” body mods – mind you this meant starting with a 4-inch chop top in the front and 5-inch in the rear. To top things off, no pun intended, Brent opted for a 1946 Ford rear window to be welded up in place of searching for a factory piece. Rumor has it, the old window was shot out during a bank robbery but luckily for Brent the statute of limitations has more than worn off. Keeping with the true hot rod theme, a rear set of 1956 Dodge quarter panels were tacked into place and perfectly aligned with the 1959 Thunderbird rear bumper. By widening the bumper and tucking it into the body, the car seems to take on a persona of it’s own.
In the front of the Cranbrook the custom theme continued with the addition of 1955 Cadillac dagmars being added along with 1951 F1 grille center section, which include the teeth being extended for that extra ’50s appearance. The headlights were frenched, which adds to the plethora of “simple” mods on this cherished rod. Once the car was stripped down it was time to finish out this classic with a truly hot rod inspired look that the 1950s and ’60s would be proud to call their own. Nason supplied the killer pigment – a gorgeous Toyota Sunset Bronze and the paint work was performed by Ian Kroeker of Von Knobb Kustom Paint. Nothing quite says “icing on the cake” like a paint job that could easily have landed this killer custom in the George Lucas’ classic film American Graffiti.
When it came time for the power plant Brent called upon the good ol’ U.S. of A. for the Chevy 350 engine. Matted with a 700R transmission, this Cranbrook could cruise clear across Canada and into the United States with zero issues. Keeping it simple allowed for the majority of stock internals to be used, however a mild cam was added to up the “cool factor” of sound/performance for the Plymouth. The rearend is a Ford 8.8 with 3.56 gears and limited slip. Do you recall the piece about the rear window being shot out earlier? Well now you know why he opted to hot rod the motor a bit.
Just when you think a build simply cannot get any more “clean” you realize the feature isn’t over yet. Before Brent purchased the Plymouth his buddy had the seats covered with the leopard print you see. It isn’t everyday that you come across a ’50s vehicle still rocking that leopard print. Brent, wanting to keep things simple FOR REAL this time, finished off the rest of the interior by adding pleats to the door panels and choosing to rock the leopard print proudly. The solid mix of material, craftsmanship and originality of this Cranbrook easily allow for it to stand out from the rest. This clearly isn’t your Grandparent’s Plymouth!
Brent Hoitink’s creation stands out as a project he stuck with and finished after an enduring 15-year span. Not all custom creations are built in that “SEMA Crunch” deadline or overnight for that matter. A valuable lesson can certainly be learned from his killer Cranbrook: when deciding upon your next project, just remember that a mid ’50s Chevy isn’t the only cool kid on the block. Plan accordingly and scour the internet and you might just find the next project to keep you busy for years to come. Build it, enjoy it, and drive it – but above all, STAY SLAM’D.
Owner: Brent Hoitink
Vehicle: 1953 Plymouth Cranbrook
Hometown: Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada
Stock 15-inch chrome caps
205/70R15 American Classic whitewalls
Custom boxed with 3.5-inch channel
Stock front suspension with custom airbags
Trailing arms in rear with airbags
Performed By: Owner
Chop: 4-inch front and 5-inch rear
Mods: ’55 Cadillac dagmars, 51 Ford F1 grille center section, frenched headlights, ’56 Dodge quaterpanels and tails, ’59 T-Bird rear bumper, ’47 Ford rear window
Mods Performed By:Owner
Paint By: Ian Kroeker at Von Knobb Kustom Paint
Seats: Previous owner, leopard print
Smoothed and painted dash and column
Pleated vinyl door panels
Polished chrome and stainless trim
Factory stereo with hidden controls
Performed by: Owner
Chevy 350 V-8
Mild cam upgrade
Custom headers and exhaust
700r rebuilt trans
8.8 Ford rear
Performed by: Owner
Special Thanks From Owner:
“I’d like to thank the previous owner for getting me into this mess! But in all seriousness, everyone who lent a hand along the way, helped on parts, or was just happy to go for a cruise.”