Mad Max Inspired: 1951 Plymouth Business Coupe

UPDATE 4/3/2020 – This seller has lowered their asking price significantly since we first featured it. They are now down to $4,500, which might still be a tad high given what it is, but I’m sure someone out there would have a blast with it!

FROM 2/10/2020 – In today’s word, the concept of a business coupe may seem like a strange configuration for a passenger car. It’s an even stranger concept when you give a business coupe the “business” like adding a four-wheel-drive set-up to its underpinnings. Sounds out there but here’s a real, live example in the form of a 1951 Plymouth Business Coupe, located in Clovis, California and available here on eBay for a BIN price of $8,000 with a “make an offer” option.

The business coupe concept dates the ’40s and ’50s with the thought that a traveling salesman needed more room in the trunk for hauling his wares and samples around and less room in the passenger compartment because he was usually the only occupant of the car. So that’s what you had in a business coupe, a two-door coupe with no backseat and a larger trunk.

Now someone with an extreme sense of creativity, and obviously some serious mechanical aptitude has taken this coupe and set it up on Dodge military-style Power Wagon axles. There is a mind-run of information included in the listing but to cut to the chase, the front axle is not connected so this Plymouth is still laboring along in two-wheel drive mode as it was originally intended. Also, there are non-working front brakes. The seller claims that this Plymouth is about 90% completed but that sounds like a bit of a stretch.

For power, the builder selected a Chevrolet 350 CI V8 small-block engine of some configuration connected to a Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission.  The seller doesn’t state how this Plymouth runs but he does add that the engine and transmission are new so I gather it does motivate along at least reasonably well under its own power. Also included in a new fuel cell, wiring harness, and a B&M shifter.

The exterior, besides being really up there, appears to be pretty intact. There is diamond plate patching where the rocker panels once were but the rest of the body looks to be mostly corrosion-free. The body is a bit rough with some minor dents and surface rust but again, nothing serious. The seller states that he doesn’t know if the screaming yellow finish is original or not; I’m guessing no.

The interior has clearly had a lot of effort put to it. There are modern seats from something else, replete with racing harnesses and a custom dash with new gauges. This interior really appears to be a highlight of this most interesting coupe.

So, this leaves the question, what to do with Mad Max? It’s not really a 4X4 as it doesn’t have a transfer case and it won’t with that Turbo 400 in place. The end game here would be best suited with an actual, completed four-wheel drive power train. If that’s not doable, then maybe backing it down to a hot-rod or resto-mod creation would be even better. You don’t see that arrangement on a Business Coupe often so that would be both unique and cool. As it is, this Plymouth is a bit half-stuck! So what do you think, assuming this current two-wheel-drive arrangement is less than ideal, what’s the best way forward for this coupe?

Have something to sell? List it here on Barn Finds!

Like This? Get Our Daily Email


  1. grant

    Someone took a rare and cool car, and destroyed it. 8k? Hell, no. It’s no longer worth the sum of it’s parts.

    • MCH

      I don’t see $8K worth of parts. I think it is more fun as a crazy “art car” – it is on the original frame and has no transfer case, so it will never be a real off-road vehicle (Maybe a Gambler-type event??). Maybe it will find a new home and more engineering if priced at $2500-3000 to some high school kid or Burning Man type.

    • Gary G Member

      I agree totally. Ruined a nice car

      • Mike

        If I was his friend, I would have refused to hold his beer.

    • Tom Bell

      Yes, just sad. Another rare one bites the dust. cut it up and be done with it.

  2. Arby

    I think this was actually by Mad Max’s cousin, Stupid Max.

    • Weasel

      Nope. I’d know that cuz Stupid Max is my neighbor.

  3. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    The “builder” of this car lost me with the LED headlights with no trim rings or even frenching (still would look odd) and the sloppy radius-ing of the rear fenders. Wonder if both sides look the same. Use of templates to make perfect round wheel arches would have been the order of the day IMHO.

    FYI: 1961 Corvair steering wheel and column?

  4. SDJames

    Love it! If I had the money, I’d buy it and drive it to work everyday in the winter!

    • .

      Prerunner it.

  5. BlondeUXB Member

    Relax, rare doesn’t = valuable.
    Restore this car/where are you at then ?

  6. Del

    Another classic wrecked.

    Worth = Ziltch

  7. Classic Steel

    Looks like another job done by a pharmaceutical induced mind making this mechanic is certifiable😺

  8. Ryan Hilkemann

    Would like to see a video of it wheeling!

  9. Ryan Hilkemann

    If it’s not gonna have 4×4 it should at least be a stick.

  10. PaulG

    Make a Gasser out of it?!

    • Poppapork

      Great logical idea! Put a beam up front and slicks out back. Already has a 350 so the cheap hp posibility is there.

      Unfortunately 8g is absolute crackpipe considering the horid worksmanship

  11. bone

    While its nothing I would do, I cant fault the guy for building it. This old Plymouth looks like it was pretty beat when he started this, and I’m sure it probably sat somewhere for the last 50 or more years .These things aren’t particularly rare ; there are plenty of this generation of Plymouth/Dodge , lying all over the country, most in the same tired looking condition – the problem is, no one wants them. They are nothing special so restoring one is out of the question ; you can still find one in great shape fairly cheap .

    • Poppapork

      Its not about the build its about the horrible worksmanship, have you seen the irregular fender cutouts? The headlights, the bogus front axle?

    • Del

      I have not seen one in 20 years.

  12. Don H

    Who sticks any car body on a dodge power wagon frame,that thing probably rides well like a 41 power wagon.🤔💩

  13. Howard A Member

    I think it’s really cool too. I think you guys are being a bit harsh, like bone sez, this car probably sat with no chance of being used. I do question the choice of setup, the “death wobble” must be strong with this one, but for bouncing down some rock trail, be a blast. Needs a winch, tho. We should all know by now, price is a subjective thing, and naturally, they’re going to set their sites high, and with 100 viewers and no bids, clearly a bit too much, but I think it’s a great ride. Someone did a lot of work here, obviously, they aren’t into body work, but looks cleanly done to me. Sure would freak out those yuppie Wrangler drivers on the trail.

  14. bobhess bobhess Member

    I like it. Builder obviously isn’t a body man but the mechanicals look good. I’d forget the front wheel drive and hang a modern cross member with good brakes and drive it while I was cleaning up the body. If you can’t do your own bodywork it gets out of the value range pretty quick. As for rare car… not really. Thousands of these cars still out there but they just don’t have any value.

  15. Mike

    For $8K, does it come with a large supply of paper bags, with the eye holes already cut out? ….PASS

  16. JP

    Another classic Mopar totally ruined!

  17. Tort Member

    Nope, people’s tastes surely differ but for me a waste of time and money. Anyone that likes it, good for you and go for it.

    • Del

      O hell. Bone said these are
      laying all all over. No problem 😂

      • don

        I’ve seen a lot of these late 40s early 50s Mopars still lying around in old New England junkyards , if they can survive sitting here for 50 or so years without completely falling to its, there must be a ton of them sitting out west !

      • Gary G Member

        Not in the north east

      • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

        Growing up just outside DC, in the 1970s, I came upon a 51 Plymouth, black, upside down in a pasture near an abandoned house. I extracted a damn nice door, heater plenum and radiator, some trim, and the VIN tag. Always wondered how that car got there and who flipped it over. Being in snowy northern Virginia, the bottom which was facing upward was completely rotten, Swiss cheese.

  18. Just passin through

    I have driven worse pieces of sh*t than this. It kind of grows on you.

  19. bill

    p o s

  20. John Member

    It’s a hot mess.

  21. chrlsful

    mights well keep goin’n pick uptize it.

    Hinge points on the roof just aft of the doors so as to have a full cercumferential band of steel. A bed – the inside, bulk head at back of the frnt seats, run to back bumper, latch there. Wheel wells out side the bed, closed off there. Back window, plexi but w/a wiper. Divorced transfer? Some D30 or 44 axel…

    Now ya gota volvo command car – something like a Sugga×4/

    ‘S my idea anyway…

  22. Howard A Member

    Mmm-hmm, half price? If these ding-a-lings would only realize, if they made it look nice, and wipe the bird crap off, it would be sold. I still think it’s pretty cool, with a nice paint job, and get those stupid wheels off it, it would really stand out. See, that’s the problem here. The builder has some wild idea, and thinks everybody is on board. Just doesn’t work that way.

  23. Barry Traylor

    Screaming yellow paint? Pretty sure that is not the original paint from 1951.

  24. canadainmarkseh Member

    There’s just no cure for stupid. At this point the seller would do better to pull out the parts and sell them, and scrap the body. These cars are just not valuable enough to attempt to take it in a different direction. It’s pretty much ruined.

  25. Ken Member

    Ummmm…….no. 😎

    The least the builder could have done is made it all-Mopar with the addition of a 340. But that would have been a waste of a damned good engine. SBCs were made for crap like this.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.