See This Restored 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe

Things ere tough for the automakers during the 1930′s. One solid performer however was Plymouth, an automobile produced by the Chrysler Corporation.

1934 plymouth coupe

1934 Plymouth Business Coupe

Plymouth pulled off a great sales year during 1933. The company had a 25% share of the new car market.  That’s saying a lot. As if that wasn’t enough, Chrysler decided to add another model to their 1934 lineup.

This would be a Plymouth model with many more luxury appointments.This was for an automobile that cost about $100 more than a Ford but was a heavier and better equipped vehicle. In other   words, the 1934 Plymouth was considered a good buy.

The automobile featured in this article is a 1934 Plymouth Coupe. The 1934 Plymouth coupe was considered the best engineered vehicle in its class. It’s all steel body along with stock options ranging from 4 wheel hydraulic brakes to floating engine mounts the Plymouth was definitely ahead of its time.

34 plymouth business coupe

34 Plymouth Coupe rear view

An Engineering Change From 1933 to 1934

Plymouth made some  engineering changes for the 1934 model year. Plymouth replaced the successful PD and PCXX models with the PE and PFXX models. The new models had mechanical differences. They came with an advanced independent front suspension that used unequal A arms. Overall engine power was increased by 10% over the 1933 models by increasing the engine stroke. In ways other than these the PE and PF were mechanically very similar to the 1933 models.

The Plymouth PE models had a 114.0 inch wheelbase. The PFXX models had a 108.0 inch wheelbase.

1934 plymouth nameplate Design and Models

Compared to the 1933 Plymouth, the 34 models had a more rounded body. At the same time it did retain some of the classic early 1930′s styling. It was this mixture of classic styling and independent front suspension that made this car unique..For 1934 the price leader was the “New Plymouth Six” PF. This model was built on a 108” wheelbase. Styles included the business coupe, rumble seat coupe, and two or four door sedan styles.

Competition was intense during 1934 and Plymouth came out with a few additional models. One was the “Special Six”. The “Special Six” series PFXX  came out for the spring selling season. This automobile had a chrome-plated grill, chrome windshield frame, twin trumpet horns, twin tail lights, chrome headlight shells, interior sun visor, and an ash tray and glove compartment on the dashboard. Another model, the PFXX Town Sedan also joined the lineup..

Plymouth Shines During the Great Depression

Plymouth was considered a lower priced automobile among the Chrysler line. As such, Plymouth did a lot to help Chrysler survive the Great Depression. Sales numbers for Plymouth were a positive for Chrysler during the 1930′s, with it’s 25% share of the new car market in 1933 being a good example. In fact, in 1930 the Plymouth automobile was sold by all Chrysler divisions, Chrysler, DeSoto and Dodge.

Plymouth Street Rods

The 34 Plymouth Coupe makes a pretty good street rod and chances are you’ve seen one. Parts are generally available with a little searching and some companies manufacture body parts such as fiberglass front fenders for those wishing to customize. A good number of these street rods have supercharged engines and modified suspensions for drag racing. We’ve also come across 34 coupes built as low-riders. Don’t be surprised to find 454 cubic inch Chevy engines in some of these Plymouth street rods.

Production did not  begin for the 1934 models until late December 1933.

1934 plymouth

Another front view of the 34 Plymouth Coupe

1934 Plymouth Coupe Specifications

The 1934 Plymouth was built with a 201 cubic inch six-cylinder engine which originally came out a year before in 1933. This engine was mounted in Plymouth’s well known “Floating Power” rubber engine mountings.

Transmission was a 3-speed manual. Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

See these additional AutoMuseumOnline cars on the links below…

The 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook 4 Door Sedan

The 1939 Plymouth Coupe

Location of VIN Plates and Stamps on Vintage Vehicles

34 plymouth coupe photos

Round styling on the 34 Plymouth Coupe

The Plymouth Coupe had a curb weight of 2,660 lbs.

Plymouth new car pricing for the 1934 models ranged from $485 to $700. The highest priced models were the PE Town Sedan and Convertible. The price range for these automobiles clearly shows the effect of the Great Depression. The year 1934 would have been in the depths of the depression. The 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe sold new for $595. Total 1934 production for that model was 28,400.

1934 Plymouth Business Coupe Collector Cars

Any automobile from this era is a good collector car. The 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe fully restored and in mint showroom condition will have asking prices, as of this writing, in the high $20,000 range to the $40,000 range. We also see a fully restored 1934 Coupe with an asking price of over $50,000. There are also plenty of street rods for sale that also have prices into the $20,000 range.

Reference material and excellent books on this subject include…American Auto Legends by Michael Furman and Tracy Powell….and Art of the Classic Car by Peter Harholdt and Peter Bodensteiner.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)

See This 1929 Phantom Woodie / A Surfer’s Dream

Featured in this article is a 1929 Phantom Woodie. One definition of a Phantom vehicle is one in which a wooden body was placed on a chassis, either a custom chassis or a chassis made for an all steel body. Some of these creative vehicles you see may be hot rods.It was probably in the 1980′s that the Woodies started to be popular at hot rod runs.

1929 phantom woodie

1929 Phantom Ford Woodie

The Early Woodie Wagons

Ford Motor Company became the chief builder of wood bodied station wagons although Woodie Wagons were never really produced in huge quantities.

The company even went ahead and owned the forests from where the wood for their wagons originated from. It took all the way to 1929 before Ford added a wood-bodied station wagon to its product lineup. As you can see, the Woodie Wagon featured in this article was a Ford.

Go Surfing in Your Woodie

The wood paneled Ford wagon was actually produced for decades before it became the definitive California surfers’ car.

The open air nature of the Woodie Wagon made them especially suited to the mild climate of southern California. Surfing and a Woodie Wagon seem to go together as shown in our photo collection in this article. During the mid 1960′s there was a strong connection between rock and roll, automobiles, and surfing. The song “Surf City” by Jan and Dean was a perfect example. Surfers especially liked woodies, thus the line in the song, “I bought a ’34 wagon and we call it a woodie.”

ford woodie wagon 1929

Ready for surfing with your Woodie

It was not until after World War Two that all steel bodies spelled the end of real wood woodies. After that of course woodie wagons, when they were built, appeared with a veneer wood grain substitute. Woodie wagons are surely rare, but their popularity is as strong or stronger than any steel bodied street rod wagons. It’s our opinion and most likely the opinion of most that the Woodie Wagon will stay popular and even increase their popularity as years go by.

Placing a Wood Body on a Steel Chassis

Probably one of the most critical elements in construction a Phantom Woodie is fastening the body to the frame. The goal is to  fasten the body to the car frame so that frame twisting wouldn’t bend and damage the wood. Where you’re more likely to have problems is, for instance, going up an incline and actually hearing the wood body make a sound such as a creak. One way to alleviate this is to put girders on the frame for added strength. Always consider that wood expands and moves with changes in humidity and weather conditions.

Commonly, you might use a metal floor pan.attached with cushions from an existing car and build from that. With a wood body on the rear of the vehicle the body could be bolted to 2X4 oak runners 4 up and 2 across. This is one example. The car’s body will then sit upon this oak sub frame. Everyone knows that wood can and will deteriorate over time. A reason more of the early Woodies didn’t survive was that they worked themselves apart with regular twisting and this allowed water to get into the joints and speed up deterioration.

Check out the additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links shown below…

A 1946 Ford Woodie Wagon

Sample Decodings of Vintage and Classic Car Serial Numbers

1929 Ford Woodie Wagon Specifications

The 1929 Ford Woodie Wagon, built on a Model A chassis, came with a Ford Flathead four cylinder engine delivering 40 horsepower.


1929 ford wagons

Interior and dash on the 1929 Phantom Woodie

Transmission on the 1929 Ford Wagon was a three speed manual.

The vehicles wheelbase was 103.0 inches and had a curb weight of 2,482 lbs.

Everything on the dashboard of the vehicle is quite simple. You have an “On” and “Off’ switch, a speedometer, plus amp and oil gauges. To read the water temperature you look at a gauge set in the radiator cap that’s visible from the cabin.

In general, Ford Station Wagon production was very small in 1929. Ford produced a total of 1,507,000 vehicles in 1929. Out of that number only a total of 4,950 station wagons were built.

ford phantom woodie wagon

Front view of the 29 Phantom Woodie

Collector Woodies

If you locate a Woodie Station Wagon for sale you’ll find a variety of asking prices. As of this writing we see a fully restored 1936 Ford Woody Wagon in museum quality condition with an asking price of $89, 900. We also see a 1937 model at $155,000 and a 1931 model at $39,900.

Anyone owning a Woodie or contemplating a Woodie project should check out the National Woodie Club.

On their website……the club’s purpose is ” to promote interest in woodies; to educate owners and the public on their history, beauty, usefulness and uniqueness; and to provide an association through which woodie owners and enthusiasts may exchange information on history, building, restoration or modification techniques and share experiences. The woodie is a special kind of car, which deserves special recognition. The National Woodie Club will work toward that goal”.

The National Woodie Club is an excellent source for bodies, parts and tools for sale by woodie members.

The National Woodie Club is an excellent source for bodies, parts and tools for sale by woodie members.

surfer woodie wagon

Another view of the Phantom Woodie surfer wagon

 A few good books and reference material regarding the Woodie Wagons includeFamous Ford Woodies: America’s Favorite Station Wagons, 1929-1951 by author Laura Sorensen….American Woodies by author Donald F. Wood and “Do-It-Yourself Guide To Woodie Woodworking: A Hands-On Guide To Restoring Wood-Bodied Station Wagons” by author Richard Bloechl.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)

A Modified 1972 Buick Riviera Boattail

General Motors was proud of it’s 1972 Buick Riviera for a variety of reasons, and the automobile’s innovative styling was certainly one of them. The 71 Rivieras were radically redesigned.These models were designed under the direction of GM’s Bill Mitchell who had worked previously under legendary auto designer Harley Earl.

1972 buick riviera

Modified 1972 Buick Riviera

The Riviera Boattail Design

The 72 Riviera’s styling stood out with it’s beautiful Boattail. On the Riviera this took the form of a huge, tapered, wrap-around rear window and protruding trunk. The boattail design on the Riviera’s was a bit controversial on a design standpoint at the time and may still be controversial with some collectors.

Auto collectors will usually associate the flowing boattail design with the Auburn Speedsters of the 1930′s. That same styling was also seen on the Chevy Corvettes from 63 to 67 and no doubt hung around the GM design rooms long enough to makes it’s reintroduction in 1971.

buick riviera boattail

72 Buick Riviera boattail designed rear with wrap around window

Buick Riviera’s MaxTrac

Buick offered it’s MaxTrac all-weather traction control system beginning with the 1971 Riviera. The system operated with a small computer two sensors. One of the sensors is located at the transmission output link and this measures rear wheel speed. The second sensor is located on the left front wheel hub and measures front wheel speed. MaxTrac kicks in when the computer detects the rear wheels going significantly faster.

What happens at this point is that the computer cuts the ignition ( the 12 volt coil wire passes through the computer) for only 10 milliseconds which doesn’t cause the car to stall out.. This process is repeated many times per second until the rear wheels recover their grip on the road and the difference between the front and rear wheel speeds are down to within eight percent of each other. MaxTrac also keeps the car on course by cutting torque.

1972 Buick Riviera Specifications

The 1972 Riviera had the same 455 cubic inch V-8 that the 71 model had however horsepower as re-rated going down to 250 from 315 and the torque also was decreased. The GS models were rated at 260 horsepower. This change all came about when General Motors ruled that all of their engines had to be rated in net SAE output. This same 1972 engine was also put in the 1973 Rivieras.

Transmission was a three speed Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic. The shift lever was put on the steering column but as an option the buyer could have it placed on the center console.

The front wheels received 12 inch ventilated disc brakes while the rear wheels had 11 inch drums.

buick riviera boattail

1972 Buick Riviera front view

The 1972 Buick Riviera Boattails had a different suspension than the previous Riviera models. Independent suspension with coil springs and upper and lower A-arms were found up front. In the rear was a four link suspension that consisted of coil springs and upper and lower control arms.

Total Buick Riviera production for the 71, 72 and 73 model years were 101,618 vehicles. For the 1972 model year the total was 33,728.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

A Sharp 1969 Pontiac GTO

A 1967 Buick Riviera Muscle Car

72 buick riviera photos

Modified 72 Riviera front view

 The Buick Riviera Boattail as a Collector Car

The 72 Buick Riviera is an affordable collector car and does generate good attention at local auto shows. The design as mentioned above is different but stylish and the boattail design of the rear is innovative, especially for an early 70′s vehicle. The 1973 models were the last of the collectible Rivieras.

An article on lists the 71 Buick Riviera among the 100 cars that take their collective breath away. has an article that includes the Buick Riviera Boattail models as among the Eleven Best Buicks of the past 110 Years.

The rarest of the 71-73 Riviera’s are the Gran Sports versions. These had the Stage I version of the 455 cubic inch V-8.

buick riviera logo

Buick Riviera boattail automobiles can be found in a variety of conditions. You may see price ranges from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on mileage and general condition. As of this writing we also see a 1973 Riviera, slightly modified and restored and with 97,000 miles with an asking price of $42,000.

For those with collectible Buicks, there are two major auto clubs for owners. These include the Buick Club of America located in Columbus, Ohio and the Riviera Owners Association in Altoona, Iowa.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)

1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer / A Classic on the Rise

The Jeep Wagoneer was Jeep’s first luxury go anywhere vehicle. The Jeep Wagoneer was introduced in 1962 by Willys Jeep prior to the American Motors years and was still produced well into the Chrysler ownership.Things were changing rapidly during the early 1960′s for Jeep and not soon after the first Wagoneers came out the company changed it’s name to Kaiser Jeep.

jeep grand wagoneer

1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The Jeep Wagoneer Production Years

The first Jeep Wagoneer was named a 1963 model and the line lasted until 1991 and was succeeded by the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Production stopped about mid-year in 1991 on the Wagoneers. With production ending so soon in 1991, these models became quickly collectible because of the relatively low number built, some 1,560 units.

The Jeep Utility is the vehicle many think of when remembering the Jeep brand. Jeep Utility Wagons were brought out right after the end of World War Two. The Jeep Wagons stayed with the same design for years and was the basis for the first Wagoneer.

1986 grand wagoneer

86 Jeep Grand Wagoneer showing wood grain side panels

The 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The automobile featured in this article is the 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The “Grand” in Grand Wagoneer was added in 1984 when the Cherokee moved to the downsized XJ platform taking the regular Wagoneer name with it. The automobile as marketed and sold as a station wagon. The 1986 Grand Wagoneer was a luxurious vehicle with a leather interior, power everything, a comfortable ride and with 4 wheel drive.

Starting in the 1986 model year, the Grand Wagoneer received a new four part front grille and a stand-up hood ornament. The interior of these models were changed significantly. The instrument panel gauges were made square along with wood grain overlays. The vehicle was also given a stand-up hood ornament and the 1986 Grand Wagoneers offered a power sunroof as a factory option.

Fuel economy as we know it today was not the 1986 Wagoneer’s strong suit. According to mileage was rated as 10 MPG city and 12 MPG highway. This was for an eight cylinder 5.9 liter engine with a three speed automatic transmission.

1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Specifications

As mentioned above the 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer came out with a 5.9 liter 360 cubic inch V-8 that delivered 140 horsepower. Also mentioned above was the fact that fuel efficiency wasn’t terrific at 12 MPG highway. Nevertheless, the engine did produce good power.

Another 1986 engine was the 4.2 liter 260 cubic inch V-8 delivering 112 horsepower. Mileage ratings on this vehicle were 15 city and 17 highway.

Transmission was a Chrysler TorqueFlite A727 three speed automatic.

Wheelbase for the 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer was 108.7 inches with an overall outside length of 186.4 inches. Width was 74.8 inches and height 66.4 inches. Curb weight was about 4,510 lbs.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

The 1950 Willys Station Wagon

A Great Looking 1936 Ford Woodie Wagon

The Willys Military MBPatrick Foster

Two good reads regarding Jeep and the Wagoneer include…Jeep Wagoneer 1963-91 Performance Portfolio by R.M. Clarke and The Story of Jeep by author Patrick Foster.

jeep grand wagoneer station wagon

1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer station wagon

Jeep Grand Wagoneer / A Classic That May Have A Bright Future

It’s our belief that the Jeep Grand Wagoneer could have a good future as a collector automobile. As it stands today, the car is a collector automobile and it’s popularity could grow as time goes by. Remember, the Wagoneer was the precursor of the Jeep Cherokee.

Many people assume it’s a 1970′s vintage vehicle based on the wood panels and the styling. The fact of the matter is the model was launched in the early 1960s and was built into the 1990′s.

The common engines in the latter years were the Chrysler 340 and 360 cubic-inch engines. The 360 cubic inch was the last carbureted engine offered in North America.

Fortune Magazine in a 2012 article named the Jeep Grand Wagoneer among the ten classic cars worth reviving. Jeep’s owner, AMC, created a Grand Wagoneer by making the original Jeep design more car-like and adding luxury features like artificial wood trim and a new grille to the old body-on-frame platform. With the automobile’s primitive engineering, the Grand Wagoneer is a luxury sport utility vehicle for people who can’t afford — or don’t want to be seen in — a Cadillac Escalade.

jeep wagoneer

Jeep Grand Wagoneer, a classic automobile

Regarding current asking prices for Jeep Grand Wagoneers, the range is wide. As of this writing the range for a 1989 Grand Wagoneer can vary from $10,000 to $29,000 depending on condition and restoration. The higher figure represents a Grand Wagoneer with a rebuilt engine, brakes and suspension. The car has about 57,000 miles.

We also see a low mileage (48,000) 1988 Grand Wagoneer being offered for $49,000 and a 1988 Grand Wagoneer with 83,000 miles with a price tag of $27,900 as well as a 1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer with 104,000 miles with an asking price of $12,750. This model has dual Exhaust with Hedman Hedders, Magnaflow performance exhaust, and an Edelbrock 4-bbl carburetor.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

1941 Chevy Fleetline Convertible / The Car That Wasn’t Made

The only 1941 Chevy convertible available in 1941 was available on their top of the line Special Deluxe model and it was a fine looking automobile with great smooth lines. Both the Special Deluxe and Master Deluxe were introduced in 1941. Both of these models had similar body styling in 1941.

1941 Chevy Convertible

1941 Chevy Convertible

A 1941 Chevrolet Fleetline Convertible

The automobile shown in this article is a 1941 Chevrolet Fleetline Convertible which classifies as a Phantom Car. These are automobiles never built by the factory, but made to look like they could have been built at the factory. This one surely does.

The way this is accomplished is by mixing and matching parts to eventually create a car that you want. In this case it was transforming a 41 Chevy Fleetline into a convertible. In the case of this particular automobile the project began with a 41 Chevy parts car and the project took five years to complete. Chevrolet produced their Fleetline models from 1941 to 1952.

At first glance you may seem to be looking at a Chevy Special Deluxe Convertible although the one we’re seeing here is a four door sedan convertible Fleetline model. Fleetline models from the factory did not include convertibles and the Special deluxe Convertibles were coupes.

chevy fleetline convertible

1941 Chevy Fleetline Convertible

For the purposes of this article we are covering the design and specifications for Chevrolet’s only 1941 factory convertible, the Special Deluxe Convertible.

The 1941 Chevy Special Deluxe

Plenty of changes were instituted for 1941 by Harley Earl’s Art and Color Section.  The car was bigger. Both it’s wheelbase and overall length were increased. The car’s size even reminded some of the Buick. The automobile was longer by 3½ inches and about 100 pounds heavier than its predecessor.

The 116-inch wheelbase was 3 inches longer The 1941 Chevrolet Super Deluxe had more space in the interior as well with three extra inches of hip room.  Headlights were blended into the fenders and all Chevy models had new independent front suspension. The 41′s sported new grilles and were the first Chevys without running boards.

The 41 Chevy Special Deluxe Convertible had a power top operated by a vacuum system.

For 1941 Chevy also made major engine revisions to this model. Cylinder heads were redesigned and new pistons were introduced. The engine’s horsepower was raised to 90 from 85. The engine took on the name “Victory Six” referring to the war going on in Europe.

1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Convertible Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1941 Chevys came with improved engines. These were 216 cubic inch straight sixes that delivered 90 horsepower.

Transmission on the 41 Chevy was a vacuum column mounted three speed manual Synchromesh. It’s said that the vacuum took about 80% of the effort away from shifting gears. Some referred to it as “fingertip shifting“.

Brakes were hydraulic four wheels drums.

Suspension was front independent with a semi-floating rear axle.

The 1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Convertible had a 116.0 inch wheelbase and an overall length of 195.75 inches. The height was 65.375 inches and the width 70.875 inches.

The Special Deluxe Convertible sold new for about $1,000. The Special Deluxe Business Coup was at the bottom of the line and sold for about $775.

41 chevy convertible

Rear view of the 41 Chevy Fleetline Convertible Phantom Car.

In 1941 a bit over one million Chevrolet passenger cars were produced. This was the first time Chevrolet topped one million passenger cars. This number made Chevrolet number one for the year. Out of that number there were only 15,246 Convertibles produced.

See additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

1941 Cadillac Series 62

1941 Modified Pontiac Torpedo

Location of VIN Plates and Stamps on Vintage Vehicles

 A Restored 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe

chevy fleetline convertible

Dashboard on the 1941 Chevrolet Fleetlline Convertible

The 1941 Chevrolet Convertibles are rare cars in as much as only a bit over 15,000 were produced. These were refined automobiles with great new styling and with a revamped engine. We also believe they are milestone cars in as much as they represented the last full production year model prior to the U.S. entering  World War Two.

They were also the first Chevys without running boards.

Restored excellent condition 41 Chevy Convertibles command good auction prices. As of this writing we see a non-restored example with an asking price of $14,000 or best offer. We also see a modified 41 convertible with an asking price of $33,000 or best offer. Another Chevy 1941 Special Deluxe Convertible fully restored in mint condition sold at auction for $52,250.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)