After forming Chrysler Corporation, Walter P. Chrysler added the Plymouth Motor Corporation in May, 1928 to offer a low price car, the first being a sedan with a price of $725. Just a few months later, Chrysler purchased Dodge Brothers Inc. By 1930, Plymouth was one of the top selling automobile brands along with Chevrolet and Ford and continued its strong presence in the market well in the mid-1950s.
The Plymouth P-8 was introduced in 1939 with a 201 cubic-inch straight six-cylinder engine delivering 82 horsepower. It was the highest priced car in the Plymouth line and the only car in the Chrysler lineup to offer a convertible body style.
Of the 403,618 Plymouths built during the 1939 model year a mere 387 were Convertible Sedans contrasted with 5,976 Convertible Coupes. Moreover Plymouth was the only Chrysler Corporation car line to offer convertibles in 1939. Since this was the only year in which Plymouth built a 4-door convertible sedan, it is an extremely rare production-built model. These Convertible Sedans have a unique wheelbase 9117 inches), three inches longer than the other Plymouth body styles of 1939-essentially a Dodge chassis except for the 201 cubic-inch standard Plymouth L-head six that developed 82 horsepower.
The original price of $1,150 f.o.b. Detroit made this the highest priced 1939 Plymouth. The windwings were standard equipment while the factory installed radio, deluxe steering wheel, heater, fog lights, locking gas cap, wheel discs and trim rings, fender skirts and white sidewall tires were optional accessories. Among the standard features offered for the first time on the Deluxe Plymouth Series P-8 were: a steering column mounted gear shift lever, 'wet weather ventilation' (employing a cowl ventilator rain trap), two-piece vee'd windshield, flush-mounted headlamps and a 'safety signal' speedometer which evaluated increasing speed by flashing from green to amber to red as speeds progressed.
Lucille Ball is pictured in one of these cars Chrysler Corporation loaned for famous people to use while touring the 1939-1940 Worlds Fair.
The Plymouth Company received its name because it described perfectly 'the endurance and strength, the rugged honesty, the enterprise, that determination of achievement and freedom from old limitations of that Pilgrim band who were the first American colonists.' according to Walter P. Chrysler.
Introduced in the 1939 model year, the Deluxe P8 model was a four-door sedan than came with an 82 horsepower L-head six engine. A total of 417,528 units were produced during its lifetime. Outselling the entry-level Road King P7 model, nearly half of the Deluxe P8 models produced were 4-door sedan models.
A total of 387 4-door convertibles were produced, while 5,976 convertibles copes were constructed, while 1,850 limousines with a 20' stretch, while a total of 1,777 woody wagons were produced. The lowest priced model was the stripped Road King model, which came off the product line at only $645.
1939 Plymouth advertisements applauded the Chrysler P8 as a smooth riding, extra size and room vehicle with ‘sumptuous luxury'. The 1939 DeLuxe Plymouth featured additional inches of seat room, head room and leg room.
Lucille Ball toured the 1939 N.Y. World's Fair in a Plymouth four-door convertible.By Jessica Donaldson
For 1939, the Plymouth automobiles received curvaceous new exterior styling that featured a tall, peaked 'prow' with horizontal chrome grille trim, a modern V-type windshield and distinctive rectangular head-lamps integrated into the new front fenders.
The Deluxe Convertible Coupe, such as this example, had a vacuum-powered convertible top - a Chrysler first. Along with the two-door Convertible Coupe, Plymouth also offered a four-door convertible sedan and would be the last of this classic body style offered by the Chrysler Corporation. They were a one-year only offering and just 387 examples were produced. 1939 was also the final year for the 'rumble' seat, which was replaced for 1940 with a conventional trunk and luggage compartment, with a rear seat inside for passengers. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2010
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