Jay Leno once said that his parents brought him home from the hospital in a 1949 Plymouth following his birth. Considering his car collection, It’s surprising that he doesn’t have one, though he does have a 1950 Plymouth Suburban. Perhaps this 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe for sale on Craigslist in Northern Mississippi for $6,500 could be the crown jewel of his collection? Maybe I’m a little biased. Why? I happen to have one of these cars. T’was my first ride, actually (thanks, parents!). Mine has been an intermittent restoration project for nearly 20 years, though it does run and drive. It’s even the car in this site’s logo. Where were we…. According to the seller, this one isn’t perfect, but it “runs like a sewing machine.” Does this coupe thread your needle?
Plymouth, along with the rest of the MOPAR lineup and most other carmakers, released all new cars for 1949. At the time, Chrysler president K.T. Keller mandated that no man should have to take his hat off to drive a Chrysler product. So when Ford went lean and low, Chrysler, well, went the other way. It goes without saying, hat wearers flocked to the roomy interior of the new Deluxe and Special Deluxe Plymouths. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest nobody has ever worn a hat while driving a 1949 Ford.
OK, that’s a stretch. Back to the task at hand, dissecting this beautiful green machine. Under the hood is a 217 straight six that received a few updates over the previous year, pushing the engine to 97 horsepower. That’s two more than the 1948 model! As the owner stated, this car runs great, making it a quality candidate for weekend cruising, especially considering it gets about 21 miles per gallon.
While some may opt for a drive down Main Street, Lee Petty chose a 1949 Plymouth to make a statement in the early days of NASCAR. He drove a ’49 business coupe to 19 consecutive top three finishes. Now you see where those extra two horsepower come into play, don’tchya? I guess that doesn’t compare to what his son drove – a Superbird.
This 1949 Plymouth hardly has all the prestige of driving home celebrities and winning on the track, but it does come equipped with a few bells and whistles. It’s decked out in chrome, all of which is present and even has a radio. No word on if it works, though. Gotta love the crackle of early AM.
The Special Deluxe would set you back $80 more than the more basic Deluxe model, which many drivers opted for. This particular one, which is one of more than 500,000 Plymouths built that year, will cost you $6,500. I’m a strong advocate for these cars, which were advertised as “The Great New Plymouth.” Today, they’re the Great Old Plymouth in my book.