DAN Swansson drives trains for a crust, but has been into cars since before he was born. With a bombed-out ’48 Plymouth, HR Special and a Dodge Phoenix hearse jammed in his suburban carport, we wonder why it took us so long to catch up with him!
How did you get into cars?
My old man, Ron Swansson. He didn’t have cars in magazines and stuff like that; he was just a hot rodder. He’s got a red-and-white ’57 at the moment. When I was a kid, our garden shed was a dead HT Monaro.
Tell us about BOMB48.
It’s a P15 ’48 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan. I picked it up from the newspaper only about six years ago. The seller was a 92ish-year-old guy from Loxton. I’m basically the third owner, apart from the fact it was in a museum for 15 years or so. It’s had a paintjob at some point; all I’ve done is given it a polish, lowered it and put on the accessories. I restored the air cooler; man, it was an agricultural nightmare! It was full of dead rats and grains. I’ve put a later-model gearbox in it, and whenever I see a flathead Q-motor for sale, I grab one, as they’re getting harder to get. Ideally, I’d love to put some ’bags under there, but I think I’ll just drive it low and deal with it.
That Dodge Phoenix hearse takes up a fair bit of room.
Yeah, I’ve considered selling it, as I could get another couple of cars in here, but I really want to turn it into our holiday car and drive it around Australia or something. It was built by Hadley Hearses and has a three-foot wheelbase stretch. If you Googlise it, it turns up in the background of a 1971 documentary about Italian migrants. It has a 318 and a 727 auto, but the seller said it had a dodgy starter. My boys and I flew to Melbourne with three spare T-shirts and a new starter motor, then drove it home. It never skipped a beat and we didn’t even change the starter, although we had to bonk it a couple of times. It cost me $1500 and was an ex-bash car with stickers and shit all over it. I’ve significantly de-bashified it, but it’s got plenty to go.
How’s the wife and kids with all the cars?
When I met my wife Bronte, she had a 1985 Corona and it was just a pig, so one day when she was at work, I sold it and bought the HR Special. She was stoked! I put on the ROH Wildfires and installed a 186; I’ve got no idea of the specs, but I know that it’s stoinky and loves getting flogged. I went through three second-hand Trimatics, until I had one built. I did the lacework on the roof; I went down to Spotlight and got a couple of metres of curtain material. I gave it a spray, but it was nylon or something and it started sticking to the roof! I had to cut it back quite a bit, but it came up all right. As for my boys, Bailey would prefer to play computer games, but annoyingly he’s a much better welder than me. As for Jack, his Transit speaks for itself (SM, Jun 19 Young Guns).