The low-cost Plymouth brand joined the Chrysler Corporation line as a low-cost competitor to go head-on with Ford and Chevrolet, and to help its parent company weather the Depression years. Launched in 1928, the four-cylinder Plymouth, although not a revolutionary design, nevertheless incorporated hydraulic braking, full-pressure lubrication and aluminum pistons, a specification its rivals would not match for a decade. The car was an instant success and by 1933 Plymouth was the US auto industry's third biggest seller, just behind Ford.
Like the majority of American car makers, Plymouth resumed civilian car production at the end of WWII with slightly revised versions of its 1942 line-up, which would remain little changed for the next few years. Designated 'P15', these first post-WWII Plymouths were made in two series - Deluxe and Special Deluxe - both of which were built on a 117" wheelbase chassis and powered by Plymouth’s durable 217.8 cubic inch L-head six.
Plymouth was ramping up for the introduction of its entirely new 1949 range so there was little in the way of development, the only change of significance for 1948 being a reduction in wheel diameter from 16 to 15 inches. The most expensive Plymouth for 1948 was the Special Deluxe station wagon. These cars looked both special and deluxe indeed, even though the Plymouth brand was in the lower price range along with Ford and Chevrolet.
There is something very special about an old wood-bodied car. The warm, old-world charm of the wood, combined with paint and chrome that harmonize perfectly, evokes an era when style was paramount to the design of a car. This 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe captures the essence of this soon to end era when station wagon bodies were carefully created in wood.
Finished elegantly in a color Plymouth fittingly called “Cruiser Maroon”, this Special Deluxe station wagon served its last owner well, who loving cared for it for nearly 30 years. Part of the character of this woodie is the fact that it has been kept tidy and restored only where necessary. It still wears much of its original ash and mahogany wood from 1948, however some selective woodwork was done in 2017 by Nickels Automotive in Michigan. The matching deep maroon seats complement the interior door panels and wooden roof structure wonderfully. Conveniently, it is fitted with three rows of seats that will accommodate eight people - perfect for Sunday runs to the ice cream shop.
The stylish dash is full of wood-grain and chrome, including a novel, optional, vertically designed pushbutton radio. The 217 cubic-inch, L-head engine is mated to a column-shifted 3-speed manual transmission that is a pleasure to drive. This car is not a flawless show car, but is extremely clean in all areas, including the engine bay and undercarriage. There is a welcoming soft patina throughout that is very inviting. The body is very straight, the paint is shiny and the bright work displays a consistent quality all around. This car is perfectly suited for driving enjoyment and is a delight to look at. An owner’s manual, service manual, and select service records are included with the car as well. A Plymouth woodie is considerably rarer than its counterpart from Ford, making this very special Plymouth an even more intriguing prospect to many collectors and enthusiasts.
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