74k Mile Survivor: 1939 Plymouth P7

Okay, so, we all know that pre-war cars and trucks are being discovered more and more by Barn Finders like you and I, right? And, most of them are in some level of rough shape, right? Well, not this one! It’s a 1939 Plymouth P7 two-door-sedan, listed for sale here on craigslist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and may have history as a Massachusetts State Police car. Let’s check it out, shall we?

In the few years prior to World War II, American cars mostly all had similar styling; big, curvy fenders, a hunchback-shaped trunk, torpedo headlamps, and few choices in the way of colors. in 1939, Plymouth made some bold new styling choices and began cracking the mold of what a car was “supposed” to look like. Allpar.com has an excellent article here which goes into more detail but, suffice it to say, Plymouths for that year were definitely unique.

We’re not treated to a picture of the engine compartment, but the seller of this car tells us that its six-cylinder purrs like a kitten and the column-shifted manual transmission goes well. It apparently has about 74,000 original miles, could use paint and some interior attention, and we can see in one picture that the words “STATE POLICE” are either under or have left outlines in the current paint on the trunk lid. In my own experience, it is sometimes difficult to find paper provenance of a vehicle’s police or emergency-services history after a certain point, and a car that’s 80-years old is a prime example of that situation.

I am by no means an expert on pre-war automobiles, however, I have learned a thing or two in the Automotive hobby over the years, and brushing up on my knowledge base while writing for you good people. With that base of knowledge, I’m confident that if you’re into cars like this, this one is definitely worth a look.


  1. Gsuffa Gsuffa Member

    Check the grammar in the first sentence.

    Like 10
    • Pete's taint

      I noticed too! Lol! That’s ok

      Like 2
  2. Orange peeler

    Looks like a floor shift to me

    Like 8
    • Russell Glantz Staff

      You are correct. My error.

      Like 2
  3. PatrickM

    Wow! Great looking car! My parents were given a ’38 Plym, 4 dr sedan when I was born so they could drive me home. Someone in the neighborhood was really nice. It was grey. That’s all I remember about it. A few years later Dad traded it in on a ’46 Chevy 4 dr sedan, maroon, which faded badly, then painted green (Mom’s favorite color).. Okay, enough family history. I sure wish I had the money, place….you know. Thanks for the find.

    Like 3
  4. don

    Funny thing , both this article and Allpar talk about the restyling of the car for ’39 , but nobody mentions the most obvious feature – the square headlights ! I guess they weren’t too popular, as I’ve seen other 39s with round headlights installed (apparently there was a kit) , and they didn’t use them in 1940

    Like 2
  5. grant

    Oh. Hell. Yes. (Checks bank account, cries inconsolably.)

    Like 7
  6. Brakeservo

    In terms of popular culture, these cars seem to be ignored, I think it was Harry Nilsson who sang about learning about love in the back of a Dodge, and artist Ed Kienholz featured a ’38 Dodge in a controversial sculpture yet the Plymouth has been ignored. Why?? Re: the square headlights, what year were sealed beams introduced??

    Like 1
    • Brakeservo

      Me bad, was Harry Chapin, not Stilsson. But here’s a stretch, Nilsson at least sang about “Me and my arrow . . .” Coulda been a Plymouth Arrow I ‘spose.

      Like 3
    • David P. Reeves

      As far as I know, they were mandated in all 1940 cars, making the first (?) government auto regulation.

      Like 2
    • Charles

      1940 was the first year for sealed beams. Earlier cars with sealed beams were a popular aftermarket accessory. Some 1940 and later cars didn’t have sealed beams, like the Graham sharknose, Hupp senior models, American Bantam.

      Like 3
  7. John D.

    Darn. Sold on Ebay for $8500 tonight. I would have liked to have bought it, with the same qualifiers previously mentioned. You all know, disposable income, storage area, means to go get it, valid driver’s license. My lack of each of those are DIS-qualifiers, I guess. Oh well, It seemed like a nice car at a decent price. Back to dreaming.

    Like 4
  8. BR

    Get those stupid wide whitewall tires off that car! They never came with them from the factory and they take away from the beauty of the car.
    Whew! I’m done.

    Like 3
  9. D Roman

    I think the column shift on Plymouth was introduced in 1939 according to the old National Geographic ads…Sealed beams were around 1940 although my 1941 Hupp Skylark has bulbs and reflectors….

  10. Peter

    Had a 37 Chrysler Royal and it was the most reliable car I ever owned. Never let me down. I let it down once by running out of fuel. The Auto service wanted a full description of the car before delivering fuel…really its the only 37 on the highway. And yes the L head six does indeed purr and will keep up to highway traffic no problem.

  11. John Taylor

    No one has mentioned the Buick in the back ground, :) Yes I think that Dodge is a great buy and leave it as is and drive the wheels off of it. We raced a Flat Head Dodge in an old style Stock Car for a couple of years and a strong engine but we had to work hard to keep up and run down the 265 Chev and 260 Ford powered cars but beat a few of them so don’t underestimate one of these flat head 6’s

  12. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    My dad had a 39 Dodge 7 passenger sedan. Had those pop up seats in the back. He bought the car in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in 41, moved to Orem, Utah in 43, then to Stevevson, Washington in 49 after my mother died, then to Redding, California 51. He drove that car to all those places then finally in about 53 he parked it next to the barn on his farm where it remained til he sold the farm in 74 and retired to Hawaii. I remember that box heater only heated the feet of the person in the passenger front seat, he kept a rag draped over the steering column to wipe the windshield on cold days. There was no defroster.

    Like 1
  13. Jim Fox

    I had 2 of these in the 1950s, one I bought for $39.00 and the other for $50.00. I guess I should have stuck them in a barn. The $50.00 one I donated to my fraternity at UCLA to have the body removed and turned in to a float.

    Like 1
  14. MikeH

    I once bought a ’46 Hudson showing only 79K on the odometer. I commented to an older guy that it was a low mileage car. He then told me that for a ’46, that was a high mileage car.

    Like 1
  15. Andrew S Mace Member

    What exactly does “could use paint” mean? From the pictures here, it looks to be an original or near-original finish that might respond well to some additional polishing but otherwise ought to be preserved (i.e., the “good” kind of patina ;) ).

  16. Rusty bones

    REALLY??!!….the tires.????….who cares!

    Like 1
  17. steve

    The 1939 P7 has been taken down by the owner

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.