1950 Plymouth Special DeLuxe Convertible

The 1950 Super Deluxe Convertible was probably the most striking Plymouth during this time. See more classic car pictures.

Although Chrysler celebrated its Silver Anniversary in 1949, that didn't stop the Corporation from trotting out identical, reserialed 1948's -- including Plymouths -- to open the 1949 model year. Meanwhile, Ford had debuted its stunning all-new 1949's way back in June of 1948. Like Plymouth, Chevrolet announced its 1949's in January 1949, but the Chevys were all-new. Plymouth limped along with its First Series 1949's until spring, when the "real" 1949's, the Second Series P-18 and P-17 models, bowed in March and April.

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Though late, at least "The Great New Plymouth" was all-new, and -- like its corporate sisters -- conservatively styled and practical. Compared to its Big Three rivals, the Plymouth looked higher and boxier. This was deliberate -- Chrysler president K.T. Keller had earlier told the postwar public that Chrysler would shun fads. The 1949's proved it: new but hardly radical, fully restyled but still tall and boxier than before. Only Chrysler called them "stylish."

A cleaner grille was one of the small changes for the 1950 Plymouth.

No matter, the 1949 Plymouth sold well -- 520,385 in all -- and the lightly face-lifted 1950, "The Beautifully New Plymouth," saw 610,954 built. Changes included a cleaner, single horizontal-bar grille; smoother bumpers replacing triple-fluted units; and a larger rear window on some models. Only Plymouth among the Low-Priced Three sported any new sheet metal: slightly peaked rear fenders with flush horizontal taillights. Notably absent was the center-mounted brake light (long a Chrysler Corporation trademark), so decklid hardware was also reworked.

This 1950 Plymouth (owner Paul A. Leinbohm of NY) is probably the finest example anywhere of the 12,697 convertibles Plymouth produced that year.

The 111-inch-wheelbase P-17 Deluxe series became the P-19, with business coupe, fastback two-door sedan, and all-steel two-door Suburban wagon as before. The 118.5-inch-chassis P-18's, now P-20's, listed DeLuxe two- and four-door sedans, plus Special DeLuxe sedans, Plymouth's last four-door woody wagon, and -- for sun worshippers -- a convertible.

At $1,982, the ragtop -- officially listed as the Special DeLuxe Convertible Club Coupe -- was the second priciest model in the lineup. It was also the second weightiest: 3,295 pounds. Only the four-door wagon outdid it: $2,372, 3,353 pounds. But when it came to "sporty good looks," the only 1950 Plymouth that came close to that description was the convertible. Despite the conservative styling, the cleaner-looking 1950 face-lift combined with top-down airiness to give the ragtop a pleasantly jaunty look.

The Plymouth convertible interior was just as attractive as the exterior.

Inside, the convertible imparted a feeling of richness, with pleated upholstery, deluxe steering wheel, and a two-tone dashboard generously trimmed in chrome. The last placed three round instrument clusters in front of the driver: a speedometer flanked on either side by the then-usual array of gauges. The central portion of the dash was dominated by a radio speaker grille, with the radio below it and heater/defroster controls at the bottom. To the right were a rectangular clock and glovebox.

Considered unimpressive by some, the Plymouth engine still has many fans.

As since 1942, Plymouth ran with its faithful 217.8-cubic-inch L-head six. Over the years, horsepower had increased by two to 97 at 3600 rpm, this on a 7.0:1 compression ratio. Though hardly exciting, the engine had gained legions of followers over the years. It was mated to a three-speed manual transmission.

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