This is a 1947 Plymouth Special Deluxe, and I’ll be the first one to say it; this looks like the car Al Capone would drive if Al Capone lived in Florida and was a fan of the color aquamarine.
Unfortunately, the sun wasn’t shining at the time I took this picture, so some of the color’s visual clout is lost, but nonetheless the Special Deluxe is still a very striking thing. This is one of the first new cars American automakers were allowed to produce after the end of World War II, and the first Plymouth to make such a comeback, with the first car rolling off the line in 1946.
In order to usher in this new, victorious era of motoring, Plymouth saw fit to give their customers an automotive smorgasbord of options and features. As such, the Deluxe could be had as a four door (this one), two door, coupe, sedan, convertible or even a wood-paneled station wagon (which would be my choice. Because I’m odd). Power came from a six-cylinder flathead, developing 95 horsepower, routed through a three speed transmission.
What’s more, it featured, for the first time, an ignition that started the car when the key was turned. Which I promise is impressive, even though it sounds like it isn’t. You see, today we just turn a key and go. But prior to this technology, if you were poor and had an old car, instead of a key, you needed a small metal crank, which was then connected to the engine in the front of the car and turned vigorously until the engine kicked in. Problem was, occasionally when the engine started, the crank would spin around again and break your wrist. This was a problem people dealt with on a fairly regular basis. And the fun didn’t end there.
After that, you and your broken wrist had to quickly get into the car and pull a little lever to let gas into the engine so it didn’t stall and have to have the whole process repeated. Only then, just after gangrene properly set into your hand, would the car allow you to drive it to the hospital. So yeah, Plymouth did us all a favor with this one.
-This could just be my latent attraction to shiny things rearing its head, but the sheer amount chrome on this thing is wonderful.
-White wall tires! And if you look closely, the hubcaps are painted to match the color of the body.
-The gear lever on this car was mounted on the steering wheel, not between the driver and passenger. Not a particularly unique feature (the Chevy Tahoe and Citroen DS have a similar setup) but it’s still something I like to see.
-If you were especially taken with this particular car, with its metallic blue paint and non-wrist breaking ignition technology, it’s for sale and can be yours for the low low price of $6500. That’s half a new Nissan Versa.