Family Truckster? 1972 Plymouth Suburban

Well, it’s not as ugly as the Griswold’s ride, perhaps it’s the lack of faux wood scattered all about the exterior that gives this whammer-jammer of a Plymouth a pass. But pea-green it is! Chevrolet and Ford full-size wagons turn up here on Barn Finds with some regularity but Plymouths or Dodges, no so much so. That being the case, this should be an interesting review. This 1972 Plymouth Custom Suburban is located in Tucson, Arizona and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $2,225, reserve not yet met.

Plymouth offered three different trim levels on Fury based wagons in ’72, the Suburban, Custom Suburban like this example, and a faux wood slathered Sport Suburban that in all fairness, was pretty well executed and not like the absurdly modified Ford piloted by Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s “Vacation” movie. The seller references this wagon as one of the “rarest low production wagons to ever leave Detroit” but with 54K* knocked out in ’72, it hardly qualifies as rare or low production. It may be considered scarce, today, but that’s because they were made in fewer numbers than their Chevy and Ford counterparts and did not survive the years.

This Plymouth is listed as an Arizona native and it looks it. The paint is flat and burned through, though not as bad as I have seen on some southwestern domiciled cars. The floors and frame (yes, it’s a unibody) are listed as 90% rot free but that may be an overestimation. I spied one small rust-through in the driver’s side quarter dog-leg and none elsewhere. The underside has some surface rust but nothing of concern, it’s actually quite good for a 48-year-old car that looks like it has spent a lot of time outdoors. The body has some minor dings and slight dents but nothing more than the usual wear one would typically find. Even the chrome bumpers still look reasonable, a polish is probably all that they need. Of note are the wheel covers, they look like Ford items.

The interior has been wracked by the sun and the seller admits as much. The front seat is rubbish, the carpet looks infectious and the dash pad is trashed – all the things you would expect from a vehicle domiciled in such climatic conditions. The lower edge of the instrument panel is rough too, it looks sweat-soaked. I struck out in my quest for finding an original radio as this Plymouth has an aftermarket unit that has been poorly installed. The problem with a station wagon’s interior is the fact that there is so much of it to contend with. All of the cargo area’s panels are still in place but refurbishing all of that takes lots of time, and of course, an additional investment. And then there is that huge headliner, an item missing on this Custom Suburban.

Under the hood is Mopar’s new for ’72 400 CI “B” block V8 motor which replaced the venerable 383. The HP rating for this new powerplant was 190 net as this was the first year for the employment of “net” ratings in place of the former, decades-old SAE “gross” rating. The engine appears to be stock and original with the exception of a dual exhaust modification. The seller states, “Motor has a noise but it seems to come and go, and more under a load. I’ve had one of these before make the noise and it turned out to be the AC compressor.” He further adds, “Starts up well when cold and runs okay, but I’m sure it will need a tune-up and prob some carb work. After it warms up and I drive it, it’s a little harder to start, but it does.” Well, kudos for honesty but it would be good to narrow down the knock. Disengaging the A/C compressor will eliminate that as a contender for the source. The concern would initially be bearings but there is no point in speculating. The hard starting could be high temperature and ethanol fuel, two things that don’t get along well in a low-pressure, carburetor fed fuel system. The odometer only shows 56K miles but the listing displays it as 125K.

The seller suggests, “I think it would RESTO-MOD very well or just do a nice original restoration on it over time.” I guess it depends on what you want, this is certainly an original example and granted, not a commonly found station wagon, so trying a restoration with some minor improvements may be the way to go. Whatever the case, this Plymouth is a nice find and deserves to have its lot in life improved, wouldn’t you agree?

*Thanks to Allpar for the production statistic

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Comments

  1. Arthur

    I’m more of a restomod fan myself, so I wouldn’t mind this wagon being turned into one.

    Like 5
  2. Luke Fitzgerald

    I think the ford wheels are a nice touch

    Like 3
  3. Lou Tripper

    A good wash and turtle wax with a set of painted steel wheels and police hubcaps. Done.

    Incidentally, that ’72 400 block casting is one of the best mopar blocks. Highly prized #230 castings are great foundations for 500″ stroker combinations.

    Like 11
  4. nlpnt

    Shampoo the rugs, throw in some Indian-blanket seat covers and hit the road.

    Like 10
  5. Motorsport Whse

    Fix the noise in the motor whichever way you want, and the AC, a nice set of wheels and tires, Indian blanket ft seat cover (nice idea) lower it 3″ and call it a day :) okay, and do something about the front carpet….its bakes and worn.
    LOVE the FRONT ENDS of these cars.

  6. martinsane

    Id drive the wheels off this beauty.

  7. Steve Clinton

    No doubt someone will buy this with the sole fact that it’s a station wagon. It wasn’t that long ago when you couldn’t give a station wagon away!

    Like 2
  8. David Miraglia

    Fix the interior and paint the exterior in its original color and walla a classic wagon to have.

  9. Christopher Gentry

    I like the Indian blanket idea. Yeah I think those are early 80s ford truck wheel covers. I like the idea of dog dish wheels. If I could I would replace about all the interior it’s is ironic. When I was a young driver , I took my test in a 79 AMC Concord wagon , then later bought 2 different Volvo 245 wagons because they were dirt cheap Super reliable transportation. Once I sold the last one I swore I’d never drive another wagon. Now I’d love to have one again.

    Like 1
  10. Phlathead Phil

    Looks like the RoDent family had a par-tay right there on the front seat!

    Don’t understand the phascination with these hulks. Unless of course it’s a ‘donor’ wagon phor your project dragon.

  11. DON

    At one time station wagons were the car of choice in demo derbies , and since wagons were rarely taken care of and nobody really wanted them (think mini vans today ) , you could pick them up cheap. I destroyed my share of them , makes me a little regretful, but I know they would have been junked by now even if I didnt crash them

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