Just Out of the Barn! 1930 Plymouth Model U

Chrysler launched the Plymouth brand in 1928 as a means of competing against Chevrolet and Ford in the “low-priced” segment of the auto market. It would be Chrysler’s highest-volume seller well into the 1990s. The Model U Plymouths of 1928-30 were some of their earliest automobiles and are considered by some to be better built than the competition. Little is known about the seller’s 1930 edition of the car other than it looks like a solid find deserving of a restoration. Located in Wallingford, Connecticut, this Plymouth is available here on craigslist for $12,500. Our thanks to T.J. for this great tip!

As the story goes, Chrysler chose the Plymouth name because the new cars represented the endurance and strength of the original Pilgrims who were America’s first colonists settling in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The basic design of the Plymouths was descended from Maxwell, which had been sold by Chrysler. The body of these cars was made of both metal and wood and had 4-wheel hydraulic brakes, which was a “one-up” on Chevy and Ford. The inline-4 engine produced 45 hp which enabled the cars to reach  60 mph without overdrive.

The first versions of the cars were the Model Q which evolved into the Model U in early 1929, like the seller’s car. Wood wheels would be standard fare, although wire wheels were optional. Interest in the cars was strong, even though the economy was a mess by 1930, yet Plymouth’s success led to Chrysler building a new plant with 23 acres of floor space to produce the automobiles. The Model 30-U succeeded the Model U in 1931.

Details on the seller’s 1930 Plymouth are minimal. We’re told it’s a rust-free barn find, but that’s it. No indication of how long it’s been sitting or whether any attempt has been made to get it running again. But it appears to be complete and in solid shape at 92 years and 51,000 miles. The coolest part about the car is the rumble seat in the back as the passenger compartment only has a single bench seat. The rumble seat was better suited to smaller folks or those who drew the short draw when riding in inclement weather. This looks like a good project to get running again and then work on restoring.


  1. Steven

    Very nice original example but based on the continuing price drop for 20’s and 30’s vehicles it’s way over priced.

    Like 12
  2. Squigly

    If this was a four door, might be worth more.

    Like 3
  3. Kurt Member

    Sounds like the comp ratio is same as Model A

    Like 1
  4. Duaney Member

    It’s way overpriced due to being stored in Connecticut. I can just imagine how rusted and seized up everything is on that car. The musty odor would choke a goat.

  5. OldCarGuy

    Back in the day, depending on the time of year, the young ladies much preferred the rumble seat to the cabin. When the weather was warm, and things got heated, life was much more enjoyable in the open air. Wintertime was a different story, especially if original equipment did not include a heater.

    Like 3
  6. OldCarGuy

    Just noticed, after posting, that the body of the barn has been supplanted by steel containers. Then I read Duaney’s post, and, having looked more closely at the Craigslist pics, it still looks like a really good buy. If I were not so overloaded with projects, I would jump at it.

    GLWTA. BTW, I really like the old barn/new containers idea.

    Like 2
  7. charlie Member

    Rumble seats, and California tops (a fixed canvas top, without side curtains), worked in the Southwest where rain is very rare. Otherwise, not very useful.

    The top on my Allante stays down from mid-April to mid-December, unless I get caught in a rainstorm – has only rained once here since April 15!

    Like 1
  8. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Price is fairly good if it’s a running & driving vehicle. If the car is not running, then the price is about twice the realistic value due to the unknown costs involved, like rebuilding the drive train. While it’s the more desirable rumble seat coupe, it’s not a convertible or roadster.

    I would personally keep the car as an original unrestored vehicle, only doing what is needed to make it safe to enjoy, including 5 new tires & new wiring harness. Also need to take a close look at all the wheel spokes to see if they are loose in the rim or hub. Replacing all the spokes in the 4 wheels is a big expense, as unlike Fords, no one is making Plymouth wood spokes.

    Like 2
  9. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    Very interesting car. I recall a story my Dad used to tell about a cop doing a safety check climbed up on the runni9ng board of my Dads Dodge and told him to get up to 20 mph and slam on the brakes. The cop wasn’t used to Mopars having juice brakes so when Pop hit the brakes the cop went flying. He got up and said okay you pass. Dad laughed about that for many years as he recalled the event.

    God Bless America

    Like 11
  10. PeterfromOz

    (1) It’s interesting to see how they made it a base model. As far as I can remember, it is the only US older car I have seen where the instruments were fitted straight into the dash without their own separate surround.

    (2) The horn was normally fitted to the engine and not on the headlight bar, as I have seen on other cars.

    (3) The mudguards design appear to have been carried over to the DM Dodge which is a PB Plymouth in disguise.

  11. Kenneth Carney

    What a great old car to make a portrait of. And my neice just ordered
    me 2 new boxes of colored pencils to
    make it happen. Can’t see many young people interested in this car, so
    it’ll be up to us old farts to make sure
    the old gal gets a fair shake. It’s great to see that there are still nice
    old cars ready to be found. As for this one, make it safe and drive it.
    But swap the wood rims for wire units
    as the spokes tended to fly out at
    speeds over 30 MPH.

    Like 1
  12. Brian

    Very reasonably priced considering how most of the antique cars have gone up in price the past couple years. While it’s debatable whether or not the increase in value is temporary or not the “covid pricing” as I call it has definitely given a boost to the antique car market.

  13. Dave Lewandoski

    finally something on here that doesn’t look like a show car

    Like 3
  14. Kenn

    Compliments to the seller for taking the time to wash the car!! The ask is near the top of what is realistic, especially since no effort was made to start the engine.

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