Business Coupe: 1948 Plymouth De Luxe

The De Luxe and Special De Luxe were Plymouth’s bread-and-butter cars from 1933-42 and again from 1946-50. The differences between the two were in trim and conveniences. The Business Coupe, like the seller’s car, was more utilitarian and designed for the likes of traveling salespeople to carry their wares since they were built with no backseat or one that was easily removed. This 1948 edition of the De Luxe has recently been made roadworthy again and its Marine Blue paint is displaying a tasteful amount of patina. Located in El Dorado Hills, California and here on craigslist, the seller is looking to get $8,800 for this 73-year-old-car. Another great find compliments of rex m!

An old expression “a rising tide lifts all boats” certainly applied to the automobile industry in the late 1940s. With production at a standstill for four years due to the war effort, car manufacturers found more demand than supply, selling everything they built. This included the Business Coupe which became popular with road warriors even before the war. Without a back seat, they could haul more stuff and 2-3 people on the wide front bench seat. For 1948, Plymouth sold the Business Coupe in both De Luxe and Special De Luxe trim, 16,137 vs. 31,399 copies (the more upscale versus was more popular, probably because there was only $70 difference in the MSRP).

This ’48 Plymouth has all the earmarks of a barn find because the seller has replaced a bunch of stuff on the fine old car. The list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Brakes (linings, wheel cylinders, master cylinder, wheel seals)
  • Water pump and all hoses and belts
  • Gas tank, fuel pump, and carburetor (rebuild of the latter)
  • Complete tune-up

Besides the mechanical goodies related to the 217 cubic-inch Inline-6, the seat has been reupholstered and the headliner replaced. Most of the photos are of the exterior of the car, which presents well without a new coat of paint, but we wish more of the passenger cabin were visible. The odometer reading is 20,000 miles and the seller says it has turned over. The only thing the buyer is going to have to address sooner rather than later is installing a new clutch. What great tanks these cars were!


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  1. Lou Rugani

    A workhorse car that’ll run forever and a prime example of 1940s Americana.

    Like 7
    • Jim Richards

      very good condition on this Strictly Business Coupe !!!! great looking vehicle

      Like 3
  2. George Louis

    Looks very close to the car Humphrey Bogart drove in the Movie: High Sierra in 1941.

    Like 3
    • Richardd Adams

      Talking about movies.
      After high school and at the age of 17 I joined a civil engineering company as a Quantity Surveyor trainee, on a large new hospital project.
      With no wheels of my own, i got a daily lift to work with a neighbour’s son, who drove an almost identical car, but fitted with the Valiant slant six.
      He loaded up about 8 of his friends as well daily, for the 20 mile trip.
      It was only after a few months,that I learnt that they were part of a local gangster group, famous for their criminal activities.
      They were always polite to me, but not to road users who did not give way to their car.

      Like 4
      • Dave Vollmers

        I’d like to see ya get 8 people in that car , but funny story anyway , maybe in a 4 door sedan ???

        Like 1
    • Mike Adams

      Not to me. The High Sierra car was a ’38 (or ’37, depending on the scene) and that was the prewar body style.

      Personally, I liked that body a lot more than this one.

  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Oh yeah, she’s a beaut. I’ll let you park this car in my driveway rent free. Clutch isn’t hard to replace, but you do have to contend with the emergency brake on the driveshaft.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  4. Bruce

    I wish it was in Florida and not CA. I would go take a look at that vehicle. It would make for a great daily driver today, though gas prices are getting up there. Anyone remember the MPG it got?

    Like 3
    • SeeOne

      “Anyone remember the MPG it got?” My grandfather used to say: “Ask not, that which when revealed to you, will displease you.”
      I was recently in Wendover and saw what I thought was the Dodge version of this car, but it was the Desoto version. Even rarer, I imagine.

      Like 2
  5. Gary

    Nice old coupe, put a clutch in it and drive it every day

    Like 4
  6. Glenn h

    That was my first car. Paid $55 for it and got $60 when I traded in on a used 56 Chevy.

    Like 4
  7. Steven C Smith

    Look on Craigs List in Green Bay WI and see a fire engine RED 1949 Plymouth Business Coupe for sale It is a beauty also and driven daily

    Search 1949 Plymouth when you get to Craigs List

    Like 2
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Steven, that’s a beauty but I don’t think it’s a Business Coupe as it appears to have a back seat?

      Like 2
  8. Dave Vollmers

    Great car for just cruising around in . Those flat six’s will run for ever if treated right . There’s . finned high performance heads for these , cast iron headers & dual carb intake manifolds , hot coils to , so you can really Doll-up those motors . With twin smithy’s on them they have beautiful sound , kind of like an old Jaguar . They used to have special cams for them also but that may be hard to find . Wish I could afford it , but my hot rod days are over . Those bus. coupes are getting real hard to find . The new owner will enjoy that car .

    Like 3
    • Sam Shive

      You Just Described My Dad’s 47. He had it from 1965 to 71. He had the regular coupe, bet he had a business coupe and a 4 door as parts cars. I use to like watching the speedometer change colors the faster we went. He had a old 392 Hemi for it but we lost it all when some A HOLE Torched the garage.

      Like 1
  9. charlie Member

    SLOW but steady wins the race. This was the tortise to the Ford V8 of the day. The cops had Fords for a reason. Lots of room in the trunk. I had remembered Bogart in a Chysler Royal, but maybe that was the other western of the late 30’s, in any event the car chase between him in the car and the cops on motorcyles in the Sierra was a good one for the day.

    Like 1
  10. Doug Smedbron

    My first car as a junior in high school in 1967 was a 1948 coupe. It was not this kind of business coupe but came equiped with a nice back seat
    It was the same body shape. Id have another one if I could find a nice one. Mine did not stand up to youthfull antics.

    Like 1
  11. Iron Mistress

    Had one as my first car,you could put at least 2 people in the trunk to sneak into the drivein, and you needed a 5 pound hammer to knock a dent out of the fender.

    Like 1
  12. greg

    I do like these era coupes but the front grille work just does nothing for me to want to buy this car. If that could be changed, it would be good.

    Like 1
  13. Dave

    I had a dodge coup around the same year no back seat and a fluid drive transmission what a great car

    Like 2
  14. Howard A Member

    Life should be so simple again, that THIS was all that is needed. I suppose I may as well wish for the Broncos to win the Super Bowl while I’m at it. My folks claimed, they had a Dodge coupe after my dad got back from the war. It was a pre-war car, but I remember him saying they paid $50 bucks for it in 1946. These were by no means mileage champs, although, O/D helped some, and a business coupe would be most likely have one, as they were highway cars, they may have gotten in the low 20’s, but most was city driving where gas mileage wasn’t an issue. The 217 flathead, while horribly underpowered for today, was Chryslers bread and butter through the war, and well into the 50’s, it was that good of a motor. Someone did a lot of work to bring it back up to 1948 standards, and should probably have been tastefully updated for today’s travel. Great find.

    Like 3
  15. David Tanner

    I have a 354 Hemi that would look good under the hood but I have too many projects now.

  16. Johnny

    My brother has a 1942 like this. We were fixing it (1974) Then he started dating this ugly frog and he forgot about the car. He still has it. Never done anything to it and he won,t sale it. I,d like to have this one. I,d put a clutch in it and drive it in nice weather and store it in the winter months.

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