When Walter P. Chrysler introduced the Plymouth brand in 1928, its mission was to take on Ford and Chevrolet in the highly competitive low-cost car market. The typically arrogant Henry Ford dismissed Plymouth as a bit player, assuming he and Chevrolet had a firm lock on the market. But Plymouth got off to a strong start, with maiden-year sales of about 50,000 units. While that figure paled in comparison to Ford’s annual sales of half a million cars, it pointed to a bright future for Chrysler’s junior brand. In the wake of the market crash, the importance of low-price cars rose, and Plymouth was soon fighting among the top three.
For the 1932 model year, Plymouth hit their stride with stylish new PB series. These cars are considered the pinnacle of the pre-war Plymouth range, with beautiful, upmarket styling and sparkling performance from their robust four-cylinder engines. Central to the PB’s appeal was its stylish and sophisticated looks, with curvaceous one-piece front fenders, free-standing headlamps, and an Imperial-like hood that stretched from the radiator to the base of the windscreen, adding visual length. The star of the line was undoubtedly the beautifully proportioned Sport Roadster, which offered style, character and driving enjoyment in abundance.
One particularly endearing piece from the Frank Kleptz collection is the 1932 Plymouth PB Sport Roadster. Frank often bought cars in groups, refurbishing some and selling others to fund the more expensive pieces in his collection. He wisely held on to this car and one day got the bug to restore it for the AACA Fall National Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Frank was notoriously ambitious with his projects, and in this case, he didn’t leave much room for error – completing a full restoration in only nine weeks and three days, just in time to get it to Hershey!
It is easy to see why Frank Kleptz found the little Plymouth so endearing, particularly in its smart yellow livery with red accents, wheels, and upholstery. The attractive styling gives it a notably upscale appearance, especially with this car’s period-correct accessories, including the dual side-mount spares, folding windscreen, and chrome radiator shell with contrasting painted slats. Despite taking fewer than ten weeks to restore it, the quality of Frank’s work is impressive. The PB wears an AACA National First Prize badge from 1974 and remains in good condition overall, having matured nicely through the years, displaying a moderate yet appealing patina on the paintwork and chrome. The bright red upholstery is delightfully bold and a perfect match to the red accents on the body. Interior appointments are appropriately basic for a runabout roadster of this type, and the instruments and controls are authentic and nicely restored.
The well-preserved restoration makes this Plymouth PB an excellent basis for a casual tour and event car. Recent mechanical work includes a rebuilt fuel pump and carburetor service and the L-head four-cylinder fired to life with relative ease. It runs quite well, though due to the extended period of storage, some additional work is needed to return it to the road, most notably in the fuel system. Otherwise, the engine bay is tidy and authentically detailed with period-style fittings like the Fram oil filter and proper lacquered fabric wiring.
Plymouth’s rare and charming PB Sport Roadster stood head and shoulders above the competition in the low-cost car class, hitting the sweet spot of style, performance, and value. That ethos still rings true today, as this marvelous Plymouth returns to the market for the first time in nearly 50 years and is sure to endear itself to its next custodian.
Offers welcome and trades considered