All Business: 1948 Dodge Business Coupe

Seventy years ago traveling salesmen didn’t have SUVs to haul their wares and samples around in, they used cars like this 1948 Dodge Business Coupe. This one is listed on eBay with bids of over $3,500 and there is no reserve. It’s located in Dade City, Florida.

Are there even traveling salesmen/saleswomen anymore? Doesn’t everyone just buy everything online? There are still traveling sales folks but they don’t drive anything nearly as cool as a business coupe. It’s just not possible because there isn’t anything as cool as a business coupe. (insert 147 nasty comments about which vehicles are cooler)..

With a price of just under $1,600 ($16,400 today) these were about as inexpensive of a car as a person could buy. They were perfect for the traveling salesman of the day with the humongous trunk to haul around their samples. A space that size is $3,700 a month in Brooklyn right now. A lot of companies made business coupes and they are sought after today because they’re so unique and they make great restomods and hot rods. I would love to have this exact car in perfect original-spec condition, but I’m funny that way.

The interior, while obviously not stock, appears to be in great condition. A potential bidder could treat this car as a rolling restoration, using it as they continue to fix it up as much as they want to fix it up. The real test of whether a car is a business coupe or not is to peek behind the front seats. If there are more seats back there it is not a business coupe. Lots of sellers list their cars as business coupes when it’s actually a coupe with rear seats.

This car was part of an estate that the seller found and purchased. According to them, “before the owner passed just went through the engine” and it sure looks like it’s in great condition, doesn’t it? This super clean-looking engine is a 230 cubic-inch inline-six that would have had just over 100 hp. That isn’t a horrible amount of power but with this car weighing in at 3,200 pounds it isn’t a lightweight, even though it is fairly stripped down for bare-bones hauling duties. They say that the “car now has sat for the past year so I am listing it as a non running project. There is a title for the car. She rolls around easy.” I imagine that any of the Barn Finds readers could get this engine purring like a kitten again in no time. Are there any business coupe fans out there?

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Comments

  1. JazzGuitarist54

    “Every true businessman has to keep operating costs to a minimum. Look at that trunk space, you got room for 5 or 6 bodies, easy. Plus room behind the seat to keep the, a-hem, tools of our trade within easy reach. Come down to Hitman Motors. And don’t worry, everybody can get financed.”

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  2. TC

    I love it!

    1
  3. jdjonesdr

    I can’t figure out if the trunk lid isn’t closed or if it’s sprung. Something isn’t fitting right.
    But what a great looking car!

    1
  4. R Sutcliffe

    Is this car still for sale?

  5. Ken Carney

    An old friend of mine had one of these back in the ’70’s. His was a ’50
    and it looked just as good back then as this one looks now. He was in
    his mid 70’s back then and bought his car brand new. I tried to buy it from
    him, but he wouldn’t sell. Instead, I bought his late wife’s ’57 Pontiac Star
    Chief 4-door hardtop that had the factory 347 V-8 with the very rare tri-power
    setup. Sure, the ’57 was a nice car but nowhere as cool as the business
    coupe. If I had time, I’d go check this one out as it is not too far from me.

  6. Mark S.

    Pretty cool car. A little dinged up and crispy around the edges. Nothing too scary though. I love the flathead sixes. I noticed the clutch pedal is laying on the floor, probably the pressure plate springs are broken. Not a huge issue either.

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  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    I love this car. The listing is pretty respectable, with good photos, and what seems to be an honest description. But…..(there’s always a ‘but’), with the engine recently re-done, why not get it running? Seems like with some fresh gas and battery, this car would crank over and probably fire up pretty easy.

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    • Poppy

      Also, where is the wire from the coil to the distributor?

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    • RNR

      Go to the ebay listing – I think all the parts displayed on the trailer have a lot to do with it not running (in the picture of the engine bay, it looks like there is lumber where the radiator should be). Still a great start on a neat car!

  8. geomechs Member

    I was always more of a club coupe fan but business coupes are OK as well. I hope whoever buys this one keeps it as is, or do an ongoing resto. It should be run and enjoyed….

  9. LAWRENCE

    There’s pictures….none downloaded….of my dad and his new bride all the way back from Cali….in the Texas panhandle snow….along with my grandmother and grandpa’s….yes it must have been a tight fit in his same old Dodge business coupe !

  10. John D

    My first collector car purchase was a 48 Dodge Business Coupe. It drove nice, even on dirt roads. It was after driving down a dirt road that I decided the service men returning from Europe with those little sporty cars who said they handled better, it was because our big American cars were built for cruising the countryside and those little cars were built for the cramped cities. Driving in Paris confirmed this.

    I had plans to French the headlights and I thought it would be real cool with a 4″ chop (more of a rolling bathtub than it already was). I greatly disliked its Fluid Drive. But I was driving home from the beach with a full load of bikini clad passengers, when the headlights shut off on their own then a quarter mile later turned back on. There must have been something wrong, so I pulled the engine. Slant six was too long for the engine bay, even after my bfh adjustment to the fire wall.

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    • grant

      ???

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    • KEN TILLY

      If the lights went out, why did you pull the engine? Sounds like a drastic way to get the lights working properly again.

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      • John D

        I really wanted a street rod with a modern engine, even though I had and still have an Edmunds finned aluminum head. I had sold the original engine to a local farmer to use for a back up for his sprayer or something. I got a 39 Dodge flat head and tranny from a friends Hump-back sedan delivery street rod he had slated for a sbc. I rebuilt that engine and installed, but never got it running.

  11. Mike

    Just what I need to sell Fuller brushes and Kirby vacuums.

    1
  12. Speedo

    My brother had a ’51 Dodge business coupe. He removed the trunk lid and bolted a toilet to the trunk floor for adventurous friends. The toilet had no seat belt and my parents insisted that he remove it. He discovered that a bus seat fit perfectly and it became a rumble seat coupe!

  13. Fordguy1972

    Great looking car. The seller did a good job with lots of pictures in the listing. I’d like to see this car restored to original though with a modern drive train. Certainly body work and rust repair needed but with fresh deep black paint it would be a real gem.

    How about a rumble seat conversion back in the cavernous trunk? I can see two rows of seats back there!

  14. jw454

    Neat looking car. I wonder if it would start if you put a coil wire on it? Nah… couldn’t be that easy. Well, if it turns over, and nothing is broken, it shouldn’t take too much to get it running.

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  15. Curt k

    Please just no ls swap conversion talk please..just do a light restore and enjoy as it is.

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  16. PAPERBKWRITER

    Moonshine special. Back in the day put in a Caddy drive line, beef up the suspension and put on new wheels and tires. 50 Ford business coupes were popular for that with the similar big trunk.

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  17. Beatnik Bedouin

    This is a cool car. I think the truck has sprung after seventy years – it would have been a heavy mutha – but is certainly repairable.

    There seems to be plenty of paint that’s been applied over the years, which has hopefully preserved the car.

    I hope someone scores it and restores it…

    I still have fond memories of my Uncle Jimmy’s Plymouth business coupe; a strange thing for an accountant to drive, but there you go.

  18. Bob

    A 49 and possibly not a business man’s coupe:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWLgOpqg780

  19. Tommy Kujava

    I bought my 47 Dodge Business coupe 46 years ago now when I was 16. It sits on a tube chassis with a 392 Hemi pulling it. A real dare to be different HotRod.

  20. Vince

    Whaaat no picture of the trunk

  21. Richard Douglass

    I love the look of any business coupe. I just picked up a 1948 Studebaker business coupe ,29,000 miles , super solid, been sitting in a barn since 1974, for $1800.

    1
  22. richard douglass

    I love the look of any business coupe. just picked up a 1948 studebaker business coupe ,29,000 miles,super solid, been sitting in a barn since 1974,for $1800

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    • Beatnik Bedouin

      Cool score! Look forward to seeing more photos.

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  23. richard douglass

    Loading the car barn in background

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  24. Tommy Kujava

    I can’t get any of my pictures to upload🤔

  25. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey Richard, are those Ohio plates? Where did you find that car? It looks awesome! (I’m a Franklin and Licking Co. boy myself…).

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  26. sluggo

    I have some prewar coupes (39 Dodge, 39 Plymouth and 37 Pontiac) and like the lines better for the earlier ones. I had a 47 or 48 Plymouth coupe I got a garage sale a few years back for $900 but traded it for the 39 and some parts.
    The trunks are NOT as heavy on these as you think, but certainly likely there is a problem with the hinges, no big deal. Chopping tops on these Is NOT easy,,, too many curves. can be done but not at all easy.
    This one is sure cool though.

  27. John Holt

    I would turn it into a pickup, fab a new rear section to make the cab, find a 40s or 50s bed and fenders.

    1

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