1952 Plymouth Cranbrook–Would You Wear Your Hat?

Here’s a nice example of a classic you can drive without worrying about the occasional parking lot scratch. Inexpensive enough to be used as transportation and roomy enough to take the family with you! The Cranbrook is listed here on eBay with a buy it now of $2,995, and is located in Coal Township, Pennsylvania.

With reasonably glossy paint and chrome that certainly isn’t embarrassing, I think this car would be ideal for family afternoon cruises or trips to local restaurants for dinner. The seller tells us that the car was an older restoration that is showing its age. They are honest that it has dings, dents, scratches and even some rust.  They also note that the driver’s front door glass is cracked, although with it being flat glass that shouldn’t be too hard to replace.

Although the interior is described as “needs some loving,” and I’m sure there are some issues under those seat pads (does anyone else remember their grandparents having seat pads like that?), it’s certainly presentable as is. Can you put yourself in that driver’s seat? Heck, think what $3,000 will buy you (or rather, won’t buy you) on the regular used car market today.

The engine looks intact and well maintained, although that tiny air cleaner can’t do much. Apparently, the 3600 cc flathead inline six-cylinder was known for smoothness and quietness, if not an abundance of power. Interestingly enough, I found a reference where according to a survey, 57% of all standard taxi cabs registered in 1952 were Plymouths. This may have been due to the major headroom available due to Chrysler chairman of the board K. T. Keller’s insistence that a gentleman should be able to wear their hat in the confines of a car. Do you wear a hat inside your cars? Would you wear your hat in this Plymouth?


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  1. Scot Douglas

    I’d drive the wheels off of this car if it were mine. :)

  2. grant

    3 grand? What’s the catch? A decent work beater will cost you close to 3 grand. This car is what I love about this site. We all dig the ultra rare Porsches ect but this is something just about anyone could aspire to.

  3. Carroll overton

    Piece of junk the day it was made
    Only time I ever saw the ol man make a car mistake but it lasted just long enough to go get a GM

    • Fred W.

      I don’t think these were known for being junk- too many of them still around. Now 70’s Aspens and Volares- that’s junk.

      • packrat

        They were known for being very reliable and spacious inside. K.T. Keller era car? 6’2″ man can get behind the wheel and leave his homburg on. Virgil Exner creations? Exotic spaceships prone to rust because the weep holes aren’t exactly in the right places. I really like the design of my 57, but let’s face it, this doesn’t have AT/PS, as they used to say in the used car classifieds–less to go wrong. Flatheads and flat glass? Easier to set right. Darlings of taxi and fleet service, and motorists who had lived through the Depression.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      I hardly think that one person’s experience with a vehicle is a good marker for profiling an entire manufacturer’s production numbers of a model/line . I’m curious about how long was
      “just long enough” ?
      And no, I didn’t give you one of your 3 thumbs down.

    • The One

      every manufacturer produces a few lemons, so the one you are speaking about may have just been one of those Carroll .

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    I hate it when the air cleaner is missing!!!!! Looks like a good work-in-progress driver that could be a lot of fun. Drive it while you fix it, or vice versa.

    What would I wear for a hat? That would vary. Baseball cap for sure but that could range from my car club (that I’m wearing in my gravatar) to INFR, to BJ’s, to Pima, to my favorite sidearm…..

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      I agree about the air cleaner George. Probably was an oil bath system. My old Willys wagon had the oil bath filter, kind of a pain to service and deal with when it had to be removed. I modified mine to take a modern pleated filter. Still looking original.

  5. Howard A Member

    Ok, 1st, we, in 1952, didn’t call our engines by cc’s, this was the 217ci. flathead. 2nd, these cars were NOT junk. Most of these became many young folks 1st car, for $50 bucks, because they wouldn’t die. This was about as basic as you could get, and go ahead and make fun, but in 1952 a Plymouth Cranbrook was #3 in racing, behind Hudson and Olds. Lee Petty had success with a ’52 Plymouth 6 cylinder, but switched to Dodge in ’53 to get a V8. This is a great way to get into the hobby. Too bad it will cost you more than $50 bucks. Oh, I don’t wear a hat.( I’m a hood guy) For some reason, @ 62, I still have all my hair. Pretty sure that’s why guys wear hats, no hair. Very nice car here.

    • grant

      Well now go be fair, I wear a hat when I haven’t had time to get a haircut :-)

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi grant. That’s often the reason I wear a cap to work. Too many things going on before heading off to work so I just jam a cap on my head and the problem is all covered up—till I get home….

    • DrinkinGasoline

      I still have my hair, with a flat top cut since i was 16 (that’s a lot of years). My Grandfather’s Stetson Fedora along with a suit would be very appropriate attire for a ride to church on Sunday followed by brunch in this Cranbrook.
      And never allow a lady to open her own doors….

  6. Scott

    This for me is a car to cruise in. Not cruise to have people look at you but one to drive at a relaxed pace and enjoy the day or evening. A ride to church, a shady back road in the summer, off to the picnic type of car.

    No 2017 model car comes to mind that would feel the same.

    Yes I would wear my hat. Hate it when my bald spot gets sunburned.

  7. Ed P

    This is a very solid example of a working man’s car. Not to flashy but durable as all get out. Very nice example. I like the ventilated seat cushions. I have not seen those in years.

  8. Mike

    I have a 51 Plymouth Cambridge (2 door but otherwise the same as the Cranbrook). Great car. Parts are fairly easy to find. A lot of engine parts can be found at NAPA. I had no issues taking mine on an 1800 mile round trip to Maine last summer. The motors are bullet proof and the floors are a bit prone to rust, but what 65 year old car would not have a little rust. If I were in the market today I would be heading to Pennsylvania tomorrow morning.

  9. alfred

    I would drive it proudly. Just sayin

  10. Rustytech Member

    It ain’t fancy, it ain’t fast, but it is a dependable, and would be a fun weekend driver. At this price how could you go wrong?

  11. John D

    I would get this car, but I would have to source an early 2 speed automatic since my left leg cannot work the clutch.

  12. Mark S

    I have a 51 dodge Mayfair 2 door hard top unique to Canada it has a 218 CID inline flat head engine. From what I read on these Plymouths was the taxi companies could keep rebuilding them and it was not unusual to see one of these with a million miles on the odometer. These engines were so good that even after they stopped putting them in the car in 1960 they continued on until 1972 in industrial applications. I really love these fat fendered Mopars Plymouth dodge desoto and Chrysler they were frompy but that’s part of there charm.

  13. Bob C.

    I agree with Howard. These cars were NOT junk. Certainly not stormers, definitely not junk.Simple and well built.

  14. JRATT1956

    I am only 287 miles from this car, at my daughters, since Xmas. If I had the cash, I would go take a look at it and at least take it for a spin. But I would hate to put it on a credit card and then refinance it when I got home to Montana. Very tempting at this price. My first car was a 1951 Ford in 1974. I know you can convert them to 12 Volt neg, leave the 6 volt starter and the engine will start with just a bump of the starter. I just may have to take a drive south.

  15. Neil

    Here is my car.
    Was on Barn Finds about 3 years ago.

  16. Ed P

    Thanks Howard. There is no room for that kind of language here.

  17. the one

    During the Christmas season I can be seen wearing my felt top hat. Have had it many seasons. Gotta tuck my head down to get in the car.
    Here is a great tip for all you ball cap wearers. If they get dirty or greasy, don’t throw them away!
    Take them in the shower with you and use shampoo to wash them. Shampoo is designed to remove body oil. I have ball caps that are 30 years old and still look like new!!

  18. Chebby

    If anybody here is a John Bellairs fan, this is the car Mrs. Zimmerman drove in “The Letter, The Witch, and The Ring”. Hers was a 1950…ordered in purple and delivered in green, to her great annoyance.

  19. Steve H

    I owned a ’52 Cranbrook in the mid 70’s! Slate blue 4 door, was built like a tank. Reliable to a fault… Not much in the horsepower dept. but it did have nice torque. Just out of college, I bought it for $500 and was my daily driver. The second day of ownership I spent all day polishing it with Turtle Wax. Looked great that afternoon but the next day, all the oxidation had returned to the paint and looked like I had never touched it. So frustrated.

    True story: I was advised that the valve guides needed replacing. My friend who is a mechanic “oversaw” my repair job and helped me do it, but didn’t notice that I replaced all of the intake guides upside down. We only found they were installed wrong after looking at a repair manual. Didn’t matter though. The smoking stopped and it ran like a champ. Drove it for like a year and sold it for $550. Made $50 on it!

  20. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Hard for me to believe this listing ended without anyone buying it, but that’s what happened!

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