Classic pickup trucks are as iconic as Coca Cola and very collectible to boot. Chevy and Ford lovers can take their pick of the litter, but what about us MoPar enthusiasts, who have developed a taste for the finer things in automotive life?
Finding a 50, 60, or 70 year-old Dodge in fine fettle may be difficult enough, but "good luck" finding a healthy pre-war Plymouth pickup, as they were built only for a few years, beginning in 1937, in very low numbers. How many have survived the ravages of time, the challenges of harsh farm and ranch life, and decades-long abuse at the hands of itinerant gardeners or uncaring juvenile owners?
Built during the first year of Plymouth pickup truck production, VIN *9207540* was sold new in the Central California Valley and spent all of its seventy years in the Golden State. Tastefully modified, it served as a work and advertising truck for a Hanford-based flooring business since the early 1960s.
The truck has been sensibly lowered, a later grille was installed, it was painted turquoise, and snazzy lettering was added. Paint is old and shows a myriad of blems, nevertheless, it looks very pleasing. We'd say it's a patina to die for; we wholeheartedly love it and wouldn't change a thing!
All original, hand-lettered Design Tile shop logo. Are they still in business today?
Widened steelies were painted in a contrasting color, fitted with narrow whitewall radials of the dimension 235/75-15 and what looks like original 1937 "Mayflower" hub caps.
Somebody's gettin' ready for the barn dance tonite!
All joking aside, let's have a closer look . . .
There's a little surprise under the hood: engine bay houses a pony of a different stripe: it's a 289 Ford V-8 engine, mated to a freshly rebuilt C4 automatic transmission; everything looks like it belongs here. Modern drivetrain certainly enables the vintage Plymouth to participate in today's hectic traffic.
Inside the cab, everything's plain and simple, just like farm life in the post-prohibition days used to be. Deep-dish 1960 Oldsmobile steering wheel--the customizer's favorite--lends a nice touch. Old Pontiac radio is silent. Most of the gauges work just fine.
Comfy bench seat, rubber floor mat, stock Mustang shifter, rudimentary cardboard headliner, no driver's side door panel or handles. 1930s austerity at its purest.
Original 6-foot stepside bed features solid metal floor. Bumpers front and rear have just been re-chromed. This Plymouth is ready to haul anything in style, even your ol' Knucklehead or Big Chief, or both!
Pickup bed itself remains in a remarkably good state of preservation. Except for the usual spot on the cab corners, there's no rust anywhere on this truck.
Dual exhaust tips, rolled pan, vintage lettering on original, 70 year-old tailgate, pre-war California license plate, genuine bullet holes in rear window: everything is just right about this rare Plymouth.
Let's take a quick look underneath!
Everything is neat, clean, and most importantly, dry! Rear shocks are brand new.
Click on any of the above images for a full-size view
Chromed oil pan, clean transmission, no annoying leaks: Plymouth is ready to go.
Well, looks alone don't get you nowhere fast; let's see how she does on the open road!
Thursday, October 4 was a perfect day for a cruise in the Plymouth. Starting early in San Buenaventura, we first drove to Mandalay Bay, heading out onto the freeway next.
Stating the obvious: we're surrounded by today's computerized cars and pickups, all of them boring, faceless, without character. Aldous Huxley's utopian vision has become a sad reality for most, relegated to drive-by-wire inside a soulless box.
The Plymouth is a perfect driver - it handles good, rides smooth, shifts imperceptibly, makes very good power, and stops safely. Steering--though not power-assisted--feels very light. It's the perfect runabout "shop truck," really!
We like this Plymouth. Representing a perfect symbiosis between historic pickup and mild custom, with updated mechanicals and period-correct mods, it surely is a rare find.
Art Deco-inspired design of the "fore-point era" MoPar trucks looks very classy today. A Chevy or Ford simply doesn't compare!
One of just under 11,000 Plymouth pickups manufactured in '37 and probably one of very few survivers, this fine example has not lost its usefulness. Seventy years after it first hit the dusty back roads of Fresno County, Calif., it's still going strong.
You might not find another one like it, ever.
This Plymouth sold in October 2007 to a customer in Northern California.