1952 Plymouth Cranbrook 4 Door Sedan

The automobile featured in this article is the 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook 4 Door Sedan. The Plymouth Cranbrook  first came out in 1951 as Plymouth's top of the line entry. It replaced the Special Deluxe model when Plymouth changed its naming scheme.

1952 plymouth cranbrook

1952 Plymouth Cranbrook

The Korean War adversely affected production since Chrysler was awarded a government contract to supply war materiel. The 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook itself was similar to the 1951 model but production numbers were quite different. Plymouth Cranbrook 1951 production numbers totaled about 550,000 vehicles. In 1952 that figure fell to 368,000. The following year saw production up to 400,000.

Plymouth Cranbrook Styling

The Plymouth Cranbrook was built as a Sedan, Coupe and Convertible. Any way you look at it the Plymouth Cranbrook exudes a conservative style. Some would call this model the All American car with it's large fenders and bumpers. The Cranbrook with it's six cylinder engine and weight meant that it would never be accused of being a performance car.

plymouth cranbrook dashboard

Plymouth Cranbrook dashboard

The body was welded steel and the frame was arc welded. Chrysler styling with the late 1940's models was a matter of adding a lot of chrome without much thought to it. Their cars from 1950 through 1952 were cleared somewhat of the excess chrome but the boxy silhouette remained.

Chrysler Corporation bought their bodies from Briggs.  Briggs Manufacturing was a major company in the automotive body and upholstery field. Briggs produced bodies for Ford, Chrylser, Packard and some independents. Chrysler acquired Briggs's American car body operation in 1953 for $35 million. At that time Brigg's largest customer was Plymouth.

plymouth cranbrook design

View of the simple Plymouth Cranbrook rear end

In some ways the Plymouth Cranbrook delivered what Chrysler Corporation President K.T. Keller wanted to see in an automobile, that is, a high roofed car that people could wear their hats in. Keller's influence on Chrysler meant many years of very functional yet unfashionable automobile designs. K.T. Keller joined Chrysler Corporation as Vice President in 1926; became President in 1935 and Chairman in 1950. While Chrysler was led by Keller production did reach the one million unit mark.

1952 Plymouth Cranbrook Specifications

The 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook came with a 217-cid flathead straight-six engine, which was rated at 97 hp. This was the same engine offered in the 1951 models.

Transmission was a three speed column mounted manual.

Brakes were hydraulic four wheel drum. Brakes consisted of Cyclebond brake shoes. These were brake linings without rivets. The brake lining was bonded to the steel shoe by pressure and heat.

Front suspension were coiled springs while the rear suspension sat on leaf springs.

The car's wheelbase was 118.5 inches, it's overall outside length 193,875 inches, width was 73.375 inches and height 64.625 inches.

The 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook had an average weight of about 3,300 lbs.

The new car base price of the 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook Sedan was $1,690.

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Plymouth Cranbrook Collector Car

The Plymouth Cranbrook is not exactly a head turning car. As mentioned above, the styling was very conservative but at the same time the Cranbrook also represents the thinking of Chrysler at that time and the influence of K.T. Keller.  In that respect there's a lot to the Plymouth story of such a relatively plain looking automobile and as such it makes the model a good collector car. It's also a relatively inexpensive collector car and makes a good start to a collection.

plymouth cranbrook

1952 Plymouth

Parts appear to be easily accessible if you plan on picking up a project model. All the mechanical parts are available through many auto parts stores and the prices are very reasonable.The Plymouth Cranbrook is considered a solid built car that's easily repairable.

As of this writing the price range seen for the 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook is from about $15,000 to $30,000. Price will depend on restoration degree, mechanical soundness as well as actual miles. Non restored models will likely be well under $10,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

1939 Plymouth Coupe


Plenty of Cars to Choose From and New Styling

Plymouth car buyers in 1939 were offered nine types of models to choose from. These were a four-door Touring Sedan, a two-door Touring Sedan, a four-door Sedan, a two-door Sedan, a Coupe, a seven-passenger Sedan, a Convertible Coupe, a Convertible Sedan, and a Suburban. Plenty to choose from. In fact, it was the largest selection of Plymouth's in seven years.

1939 Plymouth

1939 Plymouth

The 1939 Plymouth was known as the biggest Plymouth built to date. Extra seat room, leg room and head room was a highly marketed attribute.

In essence, aside from the unchanged under body, the 1939 Plymouth was an entirely new styled vehicle compared to the 1938 model. This included the extra room as mentioned above but also some added safety features such as a flat dashboard. Another interesting feature of the 1939 Plymouth was that the entire car body, fenders and all steel body components received rustproofing.  The styling of the 1939 Plymouth was performed by the Chrysler design staff.

The 1939 Plymouth was known for excellent engineering, durability and styling.These attributes would stick with Plymouth through the mid 1950's. Plymouth was also marketed as a relatively low priced vehicle. The lowest priced 1939 Plymouth could be bought new at around $700. This of course was at a time when the country was still fighting the effects of the Great Depression.

1939 Plymouth Coupe

1939 Plymouth Coupe

1939 Plymouth Specifications

1939 Plymouth specifications included an L-head type six cylinder engine with a displacement of 201.3 cubic inches. The engine delivered 82 horsepower. As an option, Plymouth offered a high compression 86 horsepower engine.

The 1939 Plymouth transmission was built as silent auto-mesh with helical gears and six ball and roller bearings.

Suspension on all four wheels consisted of telescopic aero-hydraulic, double-acting shock absorbers. Front springs were wishbone and rear springs were semi-elliptic.

1939 Plymouth flat dashboard

1939 Plymouth flat dashboard

The Briggs Body Company built all the body's for the 1939 Plymouths. The company began building auto bodies in 1908. Baseball historians might remember that Walter Briggs was an owner of the Detroit Tigers for decades. Also, for decades, the stadium where the Detroit Tigers played ball was named Briggs Stadium just outside downtown Detroit.

Wheelbase was 114.0 inches and overal car length was 188.2 inches.

1939 Plymouth Production Figures

Plymouth, owned by Chrysler Corporation, was a part of the top three American automobile brands along with Ford and General Motors. During the 1939 model year Plymouth produced a total of 417,528 units. About 6,000 of those automobiles were two door coupe convertibles with the popular rumble seat.

1939 Plymouth rear curved trunk

1939 Plymouth rear curved trunk

To give you a perspective of what overall automobile production figures were for the 1939 model year, Chevrolet led the pack with about 577,000 vehicles, Ford came in second with a total of 487,000 vehicles and Plymouth was in third place with about 424,000 vehicles. Buick was  distant fourth with about 208,000 units and Dodge fifth with about 186,000 vehicles. Estimated figures come from the Consumer Guide.

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The Long Legacy of Chrysler

Chrysler began operations when Walter P. Chrysler reorganized the Maxwell- Chalmers Company into Chrysler Corporation in the early 1920's. The Plymouth nameplate came about in 1928 when the company started to build a product line at various price levels. That very same year Chrysler bought out the Dodge brothers and the Desoto brand was also introduced. The year 1929 was obviously a milestone year for the relatively new Chrysler Corporation.

1939 Plymouth Two  Door Coupe

1939 Plymouth Two Door Coupe

In the later decades, Chrysler experienced some economic woes which led ex Ford executive Lee Iococca (the man who created the hugely popular Ford Mustang) and then Chrysler president and chairman to seek a U.S. government loan in 1979. The company received the loan, business improved greatly and the loan was fully repaid with interest.

As far as the Plymouth nameplate went, the line was discontinued in 2001. At that time the Chrysler Corporation was owned by the Daimler-Benz German car company. Chrysler of course filed for bankruptcy due to the severe economic downturn in 2008-2010. Chrysler emerged out of bankruptcy with new owners. These included the Italian automaker Fiat, the U.S. and Canadian governments as well as the UAW pension fund.

1939 Plymouth Collector Values

As a ll car collectors know, values for vintage vehicles are determined by on not only the degree of restoration, popularity and rarity of a model but also on current economic conditions.

As of this writing, some of the auction results for the 1939 Plymouth's vary between about $7,000 to the high $30,000 range.

(Photos from author's collection)