Almost Extinct: 1954 Plymouth Plaza Sedan

It’s odd how a car that was at one time fairly popular among consumers and commonly used as a municipal vehicle is now quite rare to see.  If you’re a baby boomer you probably recall the Plymouth Plaza which was produced from 1954-1958.  Many Plazas were driven by local cops, insurance salesmen, or even your friend’s mom to tote the family around.  The utilitarian Plaza was put to heavy use, resulting in very few survivors today.  Luckily this 1954 Plaza sedan, having spent the past 30 years resting quietly in a barn, has survived.  It’s located in Jericho, Vermont and is listed for sale here on Craigslist.  In keeping with Plymouth’s intent to offer the Plaza as an economical alternative to higher priced models of the day, the car’s seller is offering it for the bargain basement price of $995!

Owing to the brief description of the car in the CL ad, the seller sure seems like a “just the facts, ma’am” kind of person.  I’m typically critical of ads that are short on detail but in a way, I find this ad somewhat refreshing.  My only complaint is the seller provides no information about the condition of the car’s frame and undercarriage.  Judging by the puddle in the photo above, it appears things are a bit damp in the barn where this Plaza has been resting for so long.  Even though the seller claims the car’s body is solid things could very well be different underneath.  We’re all too aware of what can happen to a car that’s lived for 65 years in the Northeast and has been stored in anything but a climate controlled garage!

This is the only photo provided by the seller of the Plaza’s interior so as a result, there isn’t really much to comment about.  The seller reports only 43,000 original miles on the car but when I zoom in on the picture, it looks to me like the odometer reads 45,651.  A couple of thousand miles makes no difference on a 65-year old car that’s been sitting for 30 years.  Perhaps the seller is simply a fan of Common Core math and likes rounding numbers to the nearest 5,000?

Since the seller doesn’t reveal whether the car runs or if the flathead 6 is free, I’m taking back what I said earlier about finding the brief description of the car refreshing.  In the world of Craigslist vehicle ads, failing to state the running condition of your 65-year old car more than likely implies your 65-year old car doesn’t run!  When is the last time you saw a Plymouth Plaza, a run-of-the-mill economy car for its time now considered a rare and (dare I say) classic?  Can you imagine a Ford Fusion being regarded a rare classic 65 years from now?  Naaah.

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Comments

  1. Dusty Stalz

    Flathead V6? LOL anyway this is a cool car and I’d love to find one in this shape near me. Would definitely update the drivetrain (maybe an actual V6) and just have fun with it, low buck style.

    • Jay B Jay B Staff

      Thanks for catching that typo! The post has been corrected. JB

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  2. Farhvergnugen

    Seriously, are the pipes still frozen in Jericho VT so that the buyer couldn’t wash the pigeon droppings off the old bucket? $10 of effort, still netting $985? Or is the price so low that if someone wants the thing, they won’t even care about what the innards look like?

    Seriously, an A+ for laziness…

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  3. David Mika

    No V here, dats an I-6.

  4. TimM

    Cool as heck!!! I bet she would still run like a top!!!

  5. Kenneth Carney

    If the engine turns by hand, it’ll be easy to
    get her running and back on the road in no time at all. Just add fresh points and plugs, fresh fuel, a fully charged battery,
    and some preparation, and she should kick over on the first try. Yeah, you’ll need to squirt some Marvel’s Mystery Oil down the cylinders while you have the plugs out
    to free up the rings to keep them from sticking. I’d use a 5 gallon Jerry can with a line running running from the can to the
    fuel pump–providing it still works properly if not, you’ll have to pour some fuel into the carb and hope and pray that you don’t get burned if the engine backfires while you’re hand choking it. For those of us here, all this stuff is just
    basic SOP when it comes to life in our hobby. But for kids today, the only knowledge they have of cars is turn the key and the engine will start. And if by
    chance it doesn’t, they have no clue whatever as to how to get the car running
    again. IMHO, all young drivers should be
    required to have a basic knowledge of mechanics before they get their licenses.
    That would make sure that our young people will have to get their hands dirty
    under the hood–at least for a little while.
    Who knows, they may just like it.

    • The Crow Flies In Square Circles

      Please don’t generalize like that. Not all of us young people are clueless about cars. I’m in high school and I drive a 1966 Ford Thunderbird Hardtop, which I bought with money I earned myself. I drive it every chance I get, and I’ve been having a blast figuring out the little tricks to make it work right. Don’t worry, the classic car hobby isn’t dead, there are still a few people like me who want to put more lovely old machines like that Plymouth back on the road.

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      • Zack

        I agree 100% I’m in high school and drive a very rusty 1963 plymouth valiant that I bought when I was 13 with money that I earned. Pulled it out of the barn and got it running. Now it still doesn’t start first crank every time it’s an old car some times it need coax it to life.

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      • TimM

        Good for you Crow!! I try my best to teach all the kids that come to my shop!! One kid just graduated collage this week and is starting his career in the auto industry!! The key to me is to pass the torch!!! I can’t explain how it feels to see my 20 year old daughter drive my 65 convertible down the road with her hair blowing in the wind!!! It makes me so proud!!!

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      • Bob McK Member

        Welcome to the hobby! I hope you love it as long as I have. I just wish you lived close to my home so you could enjoy playing with the cars in my stable. So far I have not fund one young local person interested.

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    • theGasHole

      You must not know any tuner kids. They can do a hell of a lot more (with a hell of a lot more complex cars than this Plymouth Plaza) than you are giving them credit for.

  6. Maverick

    Do you think the screw diver was stored also.lol.

  7. TimM

    Ken I appreciate what your saying!! My oldest boy is 22 and he’s been in the garage with me since he was 9. We completed a SR-20 swap on his 95 Nissan 240 last year!! My youngest is just getting started at 17 they both drive standard (my middle daughter too) and have changed clutches, rebuilt carbs, done front end work!! Lots of there friends bring things to our shop to learn to work on their cars!! If I could just help these kids learn the rest of my life I would!!! It’s still cool to me to see a kid fix something turn the key and smile as they realize there accomplishments!!! Hooray for your post!!!

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  8. James Mogey

    My parents bought a used 1956 model as their first car when we moved here in 1960. It served us well (two summer trips between Nashville TN and Boulder CO) until we got a new Rambler station wagon.

  9. Mountainwoodie

    @ Crow and Zack: Good for you two! There’s nothing like the feel of mastering some aspect of keeping an old car on the road.

    Not to mention you will stand out in your age cohort ( if I may generalize…..and I will) as I have a 19 year old nephew who has grown up with his Uncle driving who knows what and has zero apparent interest in old iron, much like so many of his friends and the kids I have taught in the past.

    You two younguns and all the others like you will always be ahead of the curve ( or behind it in this case) :)

    That’s a good thing.

  10. BigDoc

    Sure wish this was closer I’d love to teach my Granddaughter who thinks anything older than 2014 is ugly.

  11. Bob McK Member

    I learned to drive on a 54 Plymouth. My parents promised me that car when I got my license, but Dad traded it in on a new VW and got $25.00 for it. I was one PO’d kid at the time.

  12. Mark White

    My 1st car! Mine was red, faded to pink! Still want one! I was 12, in Oklahoma, wreaked it when I was 13. You can’t do today what you could do in the 60’s! Me and my buddies would drive down dirt roads after school, great memories, I may have to buy it…..

  13. Mark White

    My 1st car! Mine was red, faded to pink! Still want one! I was 12, in Oklahoma, wreaked it when I was 13. You can’t do today what you could do in the 60’s! Me and my buddies would drive down dirt roads after school, great memories

  14. Del

    Great 200 dollar find.

    Pretty frumpy looming and will need a lot of work.

  15. Dennis

    So, I drove the 70 miles from Northern NY to Vermont to see about this car…..
    I met the nice seller at 10AM…..We proceeded to the (falling down) barn site. The Plymouth was already pulled outside.

    I was hoping to buy this in the hope of using the body alone to finish my ’54.
    This example is for parts only- The _frame_ rails have holes (literally) large enough to put my hand through- from the outer wall through the inner….
    The rockers consist of those replacement units so popular 50 years ago.
    Tacked to the door sills with nothing to fasten the lower flanges to.
    Body mount areas- gone. It had a quickie repaint with pop-riveted panels placed in the rear quarter panels and doglegs. Lots of Bondo.

    It is a later (post Feb ’54,) model with the larger 230 cu in flat six….(Received from Dodge division to allow use of the Powerflite option finally offered to Plymouth division.) It is stuck tight…
    Seller previously sprayed “PB Blaster” in all cylinders in an attempt to free it up….Momentarily connecting my my 12 volt battery to the cables yielded no movement of the crankshaft…Teardown time…
    The good news- the steering wheel is in nice shape. All glass appears intact.
    I did purchase the still-supple rubber trunk mat.
    –Just figured some would like to know…
    Cheers!

    • Mountainwoodie

      Thanks for the update……pictures do lie :)

    • TimM

      It’s always good to look!! I’m in the Catskill mountains and I thought of going up to check it out!!! Now I’m real glad I didn’t!! Sorry to hear you wasted your time but I appreciate the info you sent!! Thank you Dennis!!

  16. theGasHole

    These were definitely the Toyota Camrys of their day. Pretty much disposable appliances to get you from point A to point B. So it’s cool to see one still around. The only other Plaza I recall seeing was a 1957 or 1958 Plymouth Plaza in a field in Billings, Montana around 1998. We wanted to buy it but couldn’t ever find out who owned it. Drove by a couple years later and it was gone.

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