The Plymouth Chronicles Part I

I have a story to tell. It is the story of a  Plymouth pickup I have recently acquired, technically speaking. It has been no secret that I have been looking for a pickup for a while. I had posted some pictures of  some trucks that I had been looking at, when my Grandpa in Idaho told me to send him a list of the trucks I was interested in. I sent a list stating that I was interested in Chevy trucks from 1939-1946. In the back of my mind I have wanted a Plymouth pickup, but they are pretty rare! So three days later I mentioned that if he found any pre-war Plymouth pickups,(because they also briefly made some in the late seventies and eighties) that I would be set for life. Plymouth pickups were made from 1936-1941 and were just rebadged Dodges with production of around 10,000 for most years. In 1940 however there were just 6,897 Plymouth pickups produced.

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Within a couple hours of me sending out the message to keep a lookout for the trucks, I received a message that there was one about ten miles from them on craigslist. My Grandpa asked if I was interested in the truck. It was missing an engine, trans, grille, and tailgate.  But that did not dissuade me, I could find those. Yes was not a strong enough word to convey my enthusiasm. Yup, I am the proud owner of a 1940 pre-war Plymouth Pick-up!

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As soon as I found out that I owned the truck, I started the hunt for all of the missing parts. As fate would have it, here in town, there happened to be a somewhat correct Flathead six engine and transmission. The best part is that they came out of a 1937 Plymouth truck. The engine is actually a little bit newer. Supposedly it was a surplus World War II motor that was bought from the local Sears in town, that is still here. According to the owner his father bought that engine from a rack of about twenty five of them.

The truck it came out of, has an even better story. Darrel, the owner, told me that his Grandpa had a Plymouth/Dodge dealership here in town many years ago and that he sold this truck brand new. Soon after World War II, in the late forties/ early fifties, the truck was bought back and has been in the family ever since. The reason that the engine and transmission had to be taken out was because Darrell had an accident which prevents him from driving stick. He wants to keep the truck around, but make it a resto-mod, in which everything looks old and stock until you lift the hood.

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The 23” Flathead blocks that were used from the late thirties to 1959 all bolt in, and can only be told apart by the numbers, but mine is still about the right era for it. The stock engine would be a 201 cubic in motor with seventy nine horsepower,  while the 218 and the 230 follow it. The only difference between the blocks is the rod length. We believe that the motor I bought is a 230 with about one-hundred horsepower. Though the transmission is from a 37 pickup, that transmission was used from 1936-1940. The transmission used in that time frame was an un-synchronized three-speed on the floor. In 1941 the “synchroshift transmission” was introduced. I was able to get the engine which looks to be in amazing shape, transmission, and a radiator, for $400.

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Back to my Plymouth. My Grandpa has been playing with cars for a life time apparently. He had a junkyard for a while and continues to restore cars today. The person who owned the Plymouth was a customer of his many years ago. My Grandpa is holding it for me right now in Buhl Idaho where he lives. My buddy and I are going to drive to Idaho over Thanksgiving break to pick it up.

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I  am very excited to say the least and looking forward to getting it down here, and beginning restoration with my friends. Many of my friends are as excited as I am to have a project to work on.

I should have some very interesting and entertaining  posts and pictures about my road trip/adventure to come.

Stay tuned, and see you on the road!

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About mecklin21

I'm a Southern California kid who ended up in the middle of McPherson Kansas pursuing a degree in Automotive Restoration at McPherson College. I own a 1940 Plymouth Pickup, which I am restoring, and enjoy adventures, writing, & photography.
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