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1935-1936 Plymouth

Plymouth Features

The Plymouth PJs features included three types of ventilation. Front-door windows could be cranked one inch straight back as well as fully lowered in the usual way, and a screened cowl vent could be tilted up by moving an under-dash handle. The windshield could also be cranked open to near horizontal, but this aid didn't work very well. (Having driven a tilt-windshield '37 Plymouth, I doubt most owners used the feature except for low-speed driving around town.)

All trim levels were available with pile or mohair upholstery. Bedford cord featured in the Business coupe, leather in the DeLuxe convertible. The Westchester wagon had brown imitation "Spanish" leather. Front floors in all models were covered by black rubber mats; sedans included ribbed hogs-hair carpet in the rear.

Turning to options, DeLuxes offered through-the-fender dual-tone trumpet horns and a Philco "Transitone" radio with in-dash controls, replacing the ashtray. Most all PJs were available with fender skirts, an electric clock in the glovebox door, spotlight, locking gas cap, right-side taillamp, metal spare-tire cover, wheel trim rings, and a range of hot-water heaters. Also optional was an Art Deco-style radiator ornament depicting the good ship Mayflower, as on the gauge cluster. This was fitted to most PJs, especially Deluxes, with the $3.50 cost simply added to the customer's order.

Plymouth's efforts to create a thoroughly reengineered lineup for 1935 were rewarded with increased sales.
Plymouth's efforts to create a thoroughly
reengineered lineup for 1935 were
rewarded with increased sales.

Plymouth's valve-in-block inline six was one of the smoothest engines around. Introduced in 1933 as the product of a $9-million research and development effort, it received numerous improvements for '35. Displacement was unchanged at 201 cubic inches (bore and stroke: 3.1334.38 inches), but a new cylinder head boosted compression from 5.8:1 to 6.7:1, which added five bhp (to 82 at 3600 rpm).

Also new was full water jacketing, with a water-distribution tube that more efficiently circulated coolant and controlled valve temperatures. To accommodate this, the starter was moved outboard about a quarter-inch on the bellhousing, which gained ventilation ports for a cooler-running clutch. Hardened valve seats were new for '35, too. So was a vacuum-advance spark control that automatically adjusted distributor position relative to engine load to ensure proper timing and smooth running with no knock.

Also featured were aluminum pistons with two compression and two oil rings. The crankshaft was held by four sturdy main-bearing caps and rode on forced-pressure oil between insert bearings at all mains. Connecting rods had insert bearings, too. A Carter "Ball and Ball" carburetor fed an intake manifold incorporating a heat-riser for quicker warm-up and improved fuel economy. An automatic choke was optional.

As always, Plymouth's six boasted a fully pressurized oiling system, with a cam-gear-driven pump furnishing a strong 30-45 psi flow to cam, main, and rod bearings. A drip-feed was used for the timing gears and chain, splash and fog lubrication for the valves and their solid lifters. Ford's flathead V-8 also had full-pressure lubrication, but Chevrolet's ohv six provided 12-15 psi oiling only to the cam and main bearings, relying on a rod dipper-and-splash system for low-end lubrication and a pump-drive flow to the rocker shafts and assemblies.

The rest of the PJ powertrain was familiar. The transmission remained a three-speed sliding-gear unit with synchromesh and floorshift. A single 9.5-inch dry-plate clutch linked the flywheel to the transmission's input shaft, which connected to a trunnion-type universal joint on an open driveshaft leading to a semi-floating rear axle. DeLuxe models were geared at 4.125:1 for better acceleration and hillclimbing ability. Cars with the optional 20-inch wheels substituted a 4.375 rear axle.

The PJE business coupe, a special fleet-market model with economy features, used a 3.7:1 ratio, plus lower compression (5.2:1) that reduced horsepower to 65. Today's PJ owners prize this taller gearing for the more relaxed highway cruising it provides.

Most Plymouths in 1934 offered an innovative "pantograph" independent front suspension with A-arms and coil springs, but the '35s reverted to a tubular front axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs. Though this change has never been fully explained to our knowledge, the likely reasons were cost, limited supplies of spring steel, and insufficient coil-spring manufacturing capacity.

However, these same reasons apparently explain why GM offered its Dubonnet "Knee Action" ifs only on top-end Chevrolets and Pontiacs for a few years in the Thirties, while the costlier Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and Cadillacs got a superior double A-arm suspension.

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