Car Couture

If this is a car culture, then our poets are the copy writers of car brochures. I used to collect lots of them. Still, I don’t know a lot about cars. However, I do know that my dad kept this 1940 Plymouth well into the 1950s. He liked that it had a sailing ship hood ornament. “Greatly adding to the looks of the car, the hood line was unbroken and the entire panel opened all the way from the prow of the nose to the cowl,” wrote someone in the know.

He also liked its affordability. Plymouth was the only low priced car manufacturer to offer a 7-passenger sedan, which was built on an extended wheelbase chassis. Owing to its new body, in 1940 Plymouth dropped the rumble seat in the coupe and convertible. The rumble seat had been around since the first cars in 1928 but, iconic or not, it was an uncomfortable accommodation for extra passengers, with no protection from the elements during foul weather.

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The wooden bodied station wagon (or Woody as they were known in early Beach Boys surf songs) was a real crowd pleaser. Sliding glass windows were standard this year in the wagon, doing away with the drafty and cumbersome side curtains that were standard in years past.

Plymouth made the running board a delete option on all models. The factory recommended NOT deleting them on the convertible. When omitted a chrome strip ran the length of the space between the fenders and a rubber pad was placed on the leading edge of the rear fender to protect the finish from stone and gravel ships.

A major improvement in 1940 was the All Weather Air Control System, offered on both the Roadking and Deluxe models. The combined heating and ventilation system provided fresh air, circulated to all parts of the car in summer and winter even with the windows tightly closed. In cold weather the air was heated and maintained at a selected temperature. Cars and car technology was oh so young.

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