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Plymouth with a Promise

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Home : Scrapbook : Roamin Angel Corner Index : 1936 Plymouth

1936 PlymouthWhen, back in 1972, a friend told Joe S. about a ‘36 Plymouth 4-door sedan parked in a garage, Joe wanted to see it. The car was all original, including paint and upholstery. The owner, Manuel, told Joe that he bought it new for his girlfriend, Molly, and was not for sale. When Joe found out that Molly had passed away in 1955 and the car had been parked since then, he decided to try to talk Manuel into selling it. When Joe promised Manuel that he would take him for a spin when it was running again, the old man’s eyes lit up. Molly had always driven him around when she was alive and he had not ridden in it since her death. But he exacted one more promise from Joe: it would stay stock, with no big engine replacing the original one. Although Joe loves souping up his cars, he was glad to leave this one as it was and agreed. The deal was made and Manuel handed Joe the keys and owner’s manual. Joe put fresh gas in the Plymouth and the car even ran enough to pull out of the garage. However, the brakes were bad and it was not running on all cylinders, so he towed it home. After replacing the master cylinder, a couple of plugs and wires and the battery, he put on new radial tires and drove over to take Manuel for a ride. Manuel was delighted, talking constantly about when he rode in it with Molly. A while later Joe tried to contact Manuel to give him another ride, but found he had gone to be with Molly. Joe was very glad Manuel had had one more ride in Molly’s Plymouth before he went. Since then, Joe has driven the Plymouth many places and it has performed well. He has taken it to the Oregon border, Hot August Nights in Reno and even to Yosemite about ten years ago. There was a problem returning from Yosemite when it burned a hole in one of the pistons, probably due to too much advance in the timing. Interestingly enough, it still ran enough for Joe to drive home. Remembering his promise, Joe dropped in a rebuilt Chrysler flathead six just like the original one. Joe enjoys his Plymouth on regular occasions. He says that it is a fun car to drive and he would trust it to go anywhere. Plus he knows that Manuel would be smiling that, twenty-eight years later, he is still keeping his promise.

Introduced in 1928, the Plymouth was Chrysler’s answer to the low-cost Ford and Chevrolet. It was named not for the famous rock in Massachusetts, but for Plymouth Binder Twine that was familiar to farmers of that day.

1936 Plymouth

Plymouth first had Chrysler’s venerable flathead six-cylinder engine in 1933 and continued to use it until 1959, when is the low-end option for engines. It did make it relatively easy for Joe to find a replacement for the 201.3 CID 82 HP original.

The interior is all original. Joe says its mohair fabric was saved because newspapers had been stacked in the seat while stored by the original owner, absorbing any moisture and keeping it from rotting.

2010 © Ron Cherry

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