Grandpa’s Gift: 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe

As time marches on, antique cars, by necessity, get passed on in some way or form.  Most end up sold and the proceeds go to the estate.  Other lucky folks end up being gifted or inheriting a car they may or may not want.  Take for example this very solid 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe four door sedan being sold on craigslist in Duluth, Minnesota.  This Plymouth was gifted to a fellow by his wife’s grandfather after he returned from serving in Iraq.  Sadly, the demands of a family with three kids has denied the seller the time to enjoy the car.  Currently not running, this likely quite useable when restored to the road Mopar is selling for just $4,000.  Is this bargain Plymouth the perfect entry into the hobby for an enthusiast with a limited budget?  Thanks go to Ikey H. for another great find!

We have written up quite a few immediate postwar Mopars here at Barn Finds, and the consensus is that they have a lot going for them.  The drivetrains in these cars are incredibly reliable.  The interiors are roomy enough to play volleyball in, they drive nicely, and great examples can usually be had for less than $10,000.  Often, four doors can be found for about half that or less.  Drawbacks are few of you want a driver.  The biggest negative is that these cars will never win a beauty contest.  They were, and still are, a great choice for reliable, economical transportation.

The 1948 Plymouth we see in the ad is remarkably solid.  There are some dents in the chrome trim that can be massaged and polished out with some time and effort.  The paint looks dull, but it may shine up with some detailing.  A look to the front and back reveals bumpers that may be painted silver, or just very dirty.  It is hard to tell in the dim light and with the layer of grime on the car.  Still, there is no sign of rust anywhere.

We can also see that the interior is not that bad.  There is some damage to the cloth on the driver’s side kick panel and some general wear on all the surfaces.  The good news is that everything else appears ready to use.  The car is even equipped with a radio.  Even the key is in the ignition, like the car is begging to be driven.

A look in the backseat reveals a few stains, but noting that would prevent a demure family member from riding in the rear.  Unlike other cars we often see, there is no sign of rodent or moth damage.  This one might actually smell OK!

Given that the ad has been up for three days and the car hasn’t been snatched up, there might be some bargaining room when it comes to the price.  It will need the usual fuel system cleanout, and likely a rebuild of the carburetor and fuel pump.  It would also be prudent to look underneath for signs of rust.  It is, after all, a snow belt car.  The good news is that this Plymouth would likely provide decades of faithful service to its next owner and their family.  They aren’t exciting, but post war Mopars are cars you can count on.


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  1. David K Sebben

    Nice basic car, and look at the third brake light. How innovative!

    Like 10
    • Dusty Stalz

      My dad had a 41 Plymouth and it had a third brake light. I loved that car.

      Like 5
    • Robert L Roberge

      IIRC the “third” brake light was actually the only one. My ’49’s tail lights were just that. Had to rewire to install turn signals, apparently an option, then.

  2. Grandpa Lou

    Gosh, this is a nice nice car.

    Like 5
  3. Fred Alexander

    If I recall all the way back to 1957 I had a friend who had one of these and it had a color changing speedometer needle as you drove – – visible at night and when we hit about 80 mph she was red – – – and 80 was about top speed for her – a real fun car back when we were in high school and back then for a student to own any kind of car was pretty rare – – not like today – – but there were a few and it was the guys who worked summer jobs lived at home worked part time jobs after school and Saturdays and their dad would let them have a car.
    Nice car to use as a driver and show up at show and shines – – – not many left up and running let alone in this shape.

    Like 9
  4. art

    That looks to be a nice solid and complete car. The price is fair, as well. I hope someone grabs it and gets it back on the road, ready for some nice Sunday rides for ice cream!

    Like 8
  5. local_sheriff

    4k for such a cool bomb?! Sure ain’t no road-hugging muscle beast, but if that’s what you’re craving for you might not be searching in the post-war car department anyway…?

    Never thought I’d see a 71 year old butt look this good. This one should definately make a great candidate for easy backroad cruising without breaking the bank. A very nice and unusual find indeed! 👍

    Like 9
  6. Ken Carney

    Had a ’46 very similar to this one and I
    loved it! Sorry folks, if I had the space
    around my place, this car would be on its way to Florida right now! It won’t take much to get this old gal on the road again. Just change her fluids, rebuild
    the carb and fuel pump, put on some new
    tires, redo the brakes, and, and you’re
    good to go. How simple is that?!! Had
    mine running in 3 weeks time too. Would’ve been sooner if I’d have known
    about hand choking the engine! Yep!
    There’s my ’round the town driver right
    there! Enjoy her as she is, she’ll be fine!

    Like 3
  7. Bob McK Member

    These are not pretty (to me), but they are a great reflection of the 40’s cars. Hopefully someone will take her home and get her back on the road soon. After all, she ran when parked.

  8. Rj Keenan

    These were all over the place when I was a kid. My first car was a 46 suicide door Desoto Custom Sedan that had the uglyest grill in the neighborhood. I have been to Duluth and I might say the Plymouth might be a bit under powered for it’s BIG hills but it will make it up a few doing the 30/35 speed limit. This is a nice car that I would pull out for the summer show and shines.

  9. canadainmarkseh Member

    Well it’s a post war Mopar what’s not to like. It’s a good thing I don’t have the space or money for these old cars, if I did I’d be a car hoarder.

    Like 1
  10. JP

    Nice buy! My uncle had a couple of these back in the day & I don’t remember him having any problems with them.

  11. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    My Dad had a 48 Dodge 4 door back in 52-53. It was dark green with cloth interior faux wood trim. Very comfortable back seat. I learned to drive 3 speed column shift with smoothe clutch release in that car, I was 8 years old. It was fluid drive.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  12. Charlie Member

    Uncle had one in early ’50’s, much bigger than our ’50 Studebaker inside, much better fit and finish than the Chevy and Fords of the time, and stopped at idle you could not tell the engine was running, so well balanced, and such good sound insulation. And for the roads of the time it went fast enough.

    Like 3
  13. bigdoc

    Beautiful old car sure wish I had the money and the space it deserves.

    Like 2
  14. Del

    Very nice but waiting for a Coupe

    Like 1
  15. PatrickM

    I ma usually suspect about cars that are no pics of the under hood and under side. But, I feel this man is being very honest about why he needs to sell it. And he is letting someone else into the hobby at a reasonable price. Smart decision. I feel his priorities are in the right place. If I had the ….. you know…

    Like 2
  16. Daniel Mintz

    This car is really begginuhg for a cruise to a cars and coffee show. If it were closer id consider it

    Like 2

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