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