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Tuesday, July 5, 2016


CARHUNTERS newest obsession and addition to collection!
1939 Plymouth P8 Deluxe Businessmans Coupe

 My car was restored about 20 years ago and is the extreme example of traditional old scool! Yeah I said  s cool
Been converted to 12 volts with an alternator, has a simple disc brake conversion up front with power brakes, Offenhauser Dual Carb manifold, Phillips Performance Split exhaust manifolds into true dual pipes and turn signals added. The paint showing its age, a few rust spots, but the chassis is very clean and the interior is almost perfect! The car is the perfect mix of retro, drivable and no concerns about using it, in other words not going to be a trailer queen!  
Later down the road it may get a V8 Mopar/auto powerplant 

Now you have the honor or task of joining my 1939 Plymouth obsession, you can determine that!! 
 I have been lusting after a 39 Plymouth for years and after I finally find one I started to really think about this 77 year old car! 
 For you younger readers I have to explain that in 1939 like many early years many car manufacturers only sold one car each year. Unlike today or even the 60's you had no other choice; 30 years later for example 1969 you could have bought a  Satellite, Valiant, Fury and variants of each car in 4 platforms in over 20 submodels! 
In 1939 they churned out the same car or did they? 

The P7 was the base Roadking 
The P8 was the Deluxe 
Almost all the models could be a P7 or P8 except the commercial models
Read em and weep only one base car, but you still had choices! 
Check out Joe Sherlock's page, a big fan of 39 Plymouth's

 I hope you noticed they sold for less than $700, can you imagine that? 

 This is quite a chassis, independant front suspension featuring staggered control arms with sway bar, but only 1 choice of driveline - a flathead 6 cylinder of 201 cubic inches, a 3 speed manual transmission and usually a 3.7 or 4.1 rear gear which got it moving although limiting highway speeds a bit as horsepower was limited under 100 
I am amazed by some of the "new" features as early as 1939
Previously and still on the Roadking P7 there was a bulky floor shifter, they call this the new Remote Control Shifting and one of the features on the P8 Deluxe models, you see 2 finger shifting!
 Then for a whopping $9.50 you could get finger touch power shifting added, how it worked is very similar to a power brake booster as it applied vacuum to ease the shift levers into gear effortlessly. Just recall hitting the brakes while the engine is off or lose of vacuum then shifting would be extremely difficult!      
 This little diddy is basically a hill holder clutch for those pesky incline maneuvers 

 This same engine in variable displacements was around tried and true until 1959 when it was replaced by the famous slant six which lasted into 2000 which was replaced by the 3.9 V6. Oddly enough CARHUNTER now has a matched set 39 Flathead 6, 80 slant six and  a 93 3.9 Magnum V6! Each one of these engines has it's own legacy and place in Chrysler history!! 
 A coupe convertible which featured a rumble seat, an automatic top and this one had a special order side mount spare which was a feature reserved for the commercial chassis vehicles 
 I may be biased, but the front of this car is very Art Deco as that era started to move towards it's end, the first time a Chrysler vehicle lost it's headlamp "pods" and featured the most stylish oval headlamp lenses in the fenders! They had replaceable bulbs. Could I say it was sexy?   
I guess I need a hat now?

 Follow along because it is not often realized how innovative Chrysler was only because of the greater following through the years of  GM and Ford vehicles 
Coupe available with a rumble seat and as a businessmans coupe with no rear seat, you can actually sleep in the trunk with comfort in a business coupe   
The 39 seems to be at home restored, mild street rod or full custom

 A convertible sedan, much like the Ford 4 door Phaeton, the World's Fair of 1939 focused on innovations of the future and the Plymouth played an important host role with VIP tours  

Lucille Ball getting a tour of the fair
Cheese it it's the cops!! HQ to car 9 come in!! 
Yes they had a police force and fire department as well!

My future at least!

 One of the new materials of the future was plastic so a 1939 Plymouth Convertible sedan was chosen to introduce a Steelplast plastic roof  billed as stronger than steel and paintable without primer at the 1939 World's Fair 

My 39 Plymouth certainly recalls the spirit of the 1939 World's Fair and Chrysler had an impressive pavilion

 Can you find any Plymouth's in the Fairs parking lot, everyone of these drivers headed right to the Chrysler exhibit to see the new 1939's! 
So what was 1939 like?
Average home price $3800
Average yearly Salary $1730
Gas 10 cents a gallon
Rent $28 a month
A company named Hewlett Packard was formed 
The 1st car with air conditioning is produced by Packard
Batman makes his first appearance to the world via comic books and was there a Batmobile, yes and it never actually was a real car being confined to comic book pages!

I am guessing a straight 12 cylinder powered this baby!

First ever tv telecast baseball game from Ebbets Field 
Franklin D. Roosevelt is president and the world is changing and heading towards war 
The Manhattan project is formed and will soon develop the A bomb in a top secret facility in Tennessee
This one strange enough to mention  Canada declares war against Germany, you heard me!
I never knew Canada declared war on anyone? 
New York Municipal Airport is dedicated later renamed LaGuardia and this was the last time it was updated- LOL!
Speaking of flying Amelia Earhart is declared officially deceased, nice segway huh?  
Al Unser is born 
Malcolm Bricklin is born, who knew in just 35 years he would bring us his namesake car!
 Jean Bugatti Dies and he left his mark on the automotive world with the type 57 variants a few years prior to his death

 Built for the 1939 World's Fair an exquisite 1939 Imperial Parade Phaeton  

The World's Fair being in NY prompted Chrysler to build a 1940 Imperial Parade phaeton to be used in NY City 
 Known as Fabulous Fanny 
 Can you ID the dignitaries in the car?
 In 1952 Chrysler built 3 new Parade Cars, all 3 were updated to mimic 1955 Imperials
  Read more here, CARHUNTER has the honor of of being a caretaker and a driver of the NY 52 Parade Car
Before we get back to 1939 a note, all the Parade cars are alive and well today
1939 Dicks Auto Museum in Texas
1940 Henry Ford Museum collection Michigan
1952 #1 City Of NY 
1952 #2 City Of Los Angeles
1952 #3 Petersen Museum Los Angeles  

There you are at the 1939 Fair and they hand you some 3D glasses, you are looking through those oval headlamps of a 39 Plymouth!

Now that's a BARN FIND, not a Chrysler minivan or some other useless find as seen on other sites  
BARN FIND HUH? OH JOY! Come on already!

An unusual treatment

I need one of these, the only toy ever made?
An oddity as per Sotheby's is built on a 1939 Plymouth chassis by Clem Dwyer of Australia
 Was quire famous although some say it's a 38 I tend to believe the auctioneers 
 A tri-carb flathead 6

I fly past this one then realize it's a 3 window coupe???
Steering wheel on the right?
Along with Utes the 39 Plymouth was sold as a 3 window coupe in Australia! 
Not in the USA
In the UK and Maybe Australia they were called Chrysler Kew (assembly plant was in Kew Gardens UK) or the Wimbledon. In New Zealand they were sometimes badged as Chryslers too!

This UTE (pickup coupe) says Chrysler

This 39 appears to be in Germany, not a good idea in 39!

So pretty
 So used up
 Open for business

 Could make a nice presidential podium 

WOW filled in the quarter windows!

Never actually built club cab 

 A very stately one off limousine 
LOONNGG 7?+ passenger Taxi

Several years ago I would have been turning my treasure into a replica of a NYC Police car, I have this original print from Chrysler's archives and it is a rather ironic photo because the car is from the 63 Precinct shot at Floyd Bennett Field Police Aviation unit in Brooklyn NY and as I type this CARHUNTER's location is about 1 1/2  miles from that hanger!  
Several years ago I helped with technical advise on the restoration of the Grumman Goose like in the photo with the 39!

 Are you a movie buff, do you know this scene from the Godfather? There is a 39 Ford NYPD replica out there and the guy claims it is the actual movie car from this scene- ALERT it is a 39 Plymouth sorry to burst his bubble! 
New find with Mayor Laguardia - a 39 NYPD Motorcycle Precinct car 
Grand Central Parkway 
Became Highway Patrol later on HWY3 
Of note this is when white roof came into existence and why? Too many collisions were occurring with patrol cars so white roofs were thought to help make the dark green cars more visible! Also note some had white hoods and some green hoods! 
Supervisors (Sergeants) still used all green cars and they often refer to a patrol unit as a white top and that phrase was still used as a marked sector (patrol) unit request by supervisors.
I heard it well into the 90's when all marked cars were white meaning get some patrolman here to handle this!!  
Motorcycle Precinct #1 = HWY 1

 Ok so a quick chance to blow my own horn- this is my 51 Plymouth I did replicate, maybe I should have kept it? 
Another famous Movie 39, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
 So much for a Coupe resto on this one
 Known as "HERO" cars the rule of thumb is 3 usually exist for the filming!  
 Plymouth trucks, yes and see my blog link here, I even own an odd Plymouth truck too
The ambulance conversion allowed a stretcher to be inserted by clever placement of seats or lack of!
 I have exhausted even the CARHUNTER's skills and can not find any actual photos of a Coupe Pickup conversion 39 Plymouth 

 So the business coupe was not enough for your samples? 

They certainly gave you endless possibilities with a commercial chassis with CAB! The convertible must be rarer than hens teeth! 
 This is where a strange crossover falls in, yes the Dodge was very close to our Plymouth, but It looks like the Fargo, a name which was used in Canada and other foreign countries seems to share a more with the Plymouth in some cases 

 A Ute is not Joe Pesci saying Youth, but short for Utility down in Australia 
 Very rare sedan delivery, these were car based 

 The "trucks" did still carry over the seperate headlamps 
 Although 39 Plymouth's make for excellent restoration projects they also seem to await customizers blank canvases. Take note this 39 has a radial aircraft engine!!  

A 1939 Opel Kapitaen in Germany, although a GM car technically it does look very Chrysler like of the era
MOPAR logo looked like this in 1939
MOPAR = Motor Parts
YES MOPAR name was used back then
So would you have liked to have been around in 1939? 


  1. Cool Plymouths. Hard to believe such a great company is no longer in existence.

  2. Very nice aquisition!! yes, you should have kept the 51 too, it was a great driver as well...

  3. any ideas what the worth of the 1939 plymouth sedan delivery if what i was told is true 5 remain. two complete cars, two incomplete. and a third complete being fitted for restoration. if he puts it on berrett auction what could i expect to realistically get the automobile for? i'm thinking it will far exceed what i could afford.

  4. I think I have seen the one you are looking at with parts car (s) According to the Plymouth Owners club's Jim Benjaminson - A very good source 2099 were built, another source says 2270- rough call on this one- value? Could only 4-5 exist, maybe. I don't think they are mega auction value vehicles, certainly worth more than the coupes and sedans though!