Mopar Nomad? 1954 Plymouth Plaza Suburban

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Last week I opined on the subject of specific nouns becoming generic terms and I believe that I may have stumbled upon another, the Nomad, as in Chevrolet’s iconic, ’55-’57 top drawer, very stylish, two-door station wagon. Reading the title of this listing may induce one to think that “Nomad” is an acceptable way to refer to any two-door station wagon – in this case, a 1954 Plymouth Plaza Suburban. Hmm..well, maybe there’s more to the Nomad reference than is immediately apparent, so let’s take a closer look. This sharp-looking Plymouth two-door wagon is located in Sun Valley, California and is available, here on craigslist for $23,900.

First up, there’s an error in the listing’s description, this wagon is not a Savoy trim level as there wasn’t a Savoy wagon in ’54, only a Belvedere Suburban and a Plaza Suburban covered the station wagon bases and this example is likely a Plaza variant but the trim shaving makes it hard to say with certainty. And as a nod to that visual modification, the seller refers to this Plymouth as a “One Of A Kind Restomod!”. The exterior certainly is clean and straight and the trim rework does project a restomod vibe, but not in an extreme way. This one embodies more of a fifties cruiser persona with wide whites, full-wheel covers, and fender skirts. Every exterior aspect of this car is just perfect and the white finished body with contrasting copper-hued roof makes for a stunning presentation.

Back to that Nomad reference, this Mopar has Chevrolet guts with its 350 CI small block V8 and Turbo-Hydramatic 350 automatic transmission. Not much is revealed about the engine but it sounds as if its modifications have been restrained to provide ample power with sound driving characteristics. Other mechanical improvements include front disc brakes and rack and pinion steering.

The excellence continues indoors where black and white two-tone vinyl upholstery, along with matching door/upholstery panels have been installed. To add some additional flair, the dash has been finished in the same copper shade as the roof. As near as can be seen, the instrument panel appears to be a restored original -always a nice touch in my book. The seller gets credit for including images of the cargo area – often neglected with station wagon listings, and it has been finished to match the rest of the interior environment. And, I’m going to offer double credit for retaining the original tiller – these oversized wheels often get the bum’s rush in restomod redos.

No one’s going to mistake this Plymouth Plaza Suburban for a Chevy Nomad but I can appreciate the visual association – and then there’s the entire matter of the powertrain… I like this car quite a bit and the price seems reasonable considering how much time, effort, and investment must have gone into its creation. The bowtie engine’s not an issue for me, how about you?

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Comments

  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Nice old custom. In answer to your question about the motor, a SBC wouldn’t have been my first choice if I were building this NOW, but it’s already built and done well in the old rodders style so it fits the period style.
    IMO a good price for what you’ve got here, and definitely unique!
    I bet this still turns heads on Whittier Blvd..

    Like 12
  2. Moparman MoparmanMember

    As my “nom de plume” suggests, I’d have used a 273/318 engine and aTorqueFlite, however, I’ll not fault the modder for that lapse in creating this stunning beauty! It’s amazing how much the bumpers resemble the fed mandated 5/2.5 mph front & rear bumpers of 1973, but fit so perfectly. That shifter is awesome! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 9
  3. Kenneth Carney

    A 318 would’ve been my choice for an
    8 cylinder engine if you just had to have all that power under your right
    foot, but I think I’d go the slant 6 route
    mated to a Torqueflite tranny for a few more MPGs. After watching an episode of Power Nation, I was really
    impressed with what those guys did
    to a slanty to make it a more roadable engine. They updated the
    innards to make the unit more reliable
    than it was in the first place. The rest
    of this car looks really nice and may
    have been built many years ago when
    a Chevy V-8 was the cure for everything automotive. One thing’s
    certain, you won’t see another one like it at your local car show.

    Like 10
  4. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    This wagon is beautiful inside and outside. But why did they go GM on the drivetrain!!!🤦🤦 Mopar is the way to go and the the only way!! 408-6 with a 727 or 904. Or 340-6.. To me they ruined it with the GM setup sorry. I believe you have a old Ford .. Ford drivetrain. Mopar . Mopar drivetrain. When I open Graig list I prayed it wasn’t a GM. 🤦🐻🇺🇸

    Like 9
  5. Russ Ashley

    I don’t like the GM engine but I understand maybe why it was used instead of a 318 Mopar. These didn’t have a V8 engine and the width of the frame on old Plymouths was narrow in the engine compartment. To make engine swaps even more troublesome the steering box got in the way so I think the Chevy engine was smaller and easier to transplant into a Plymouth in those years.

    Like 2
    • Grant

      Here is an idea. These came with a 217 L Head six. Where did that go? If gone, then pop in a nice 230 ci six. These were great engines with a nice sound. Keep the three on the tree and drive like your lady is wearing a hoop skirt and saddle shoes. Those were better times indeed.

      Like 6
      • bone

        You must be the only guy in the world that got excited about the Chevette – bare bones car, no power anything and underpowered .

        Like 3
  6. MoparDoug

    Absolutely stunning. I would like to own this one. However, I’m with most of you guys, I would’ve gone with either a 318 or even a 360 Mopar backed by the 727 Torqueflite.

    Like 5
    • Rw

      Fuel injectied 4.0 HO 91 or up Jeep motor.

      Like 2
      • Chunk

        Yes, with a stroker kit if more power is needed.

        Like 0
  7. 370zpp 370zppMember

    So much concern over the motor choice. .
    I like all of it, well except for the somewhat oddly styled fender skirts.

    Like 7
    • David Ray

      I have one just like it. Same color but a 53. Mine is all original with 56000 mi. Runs and drives great

      Like 3
  8. Ivan

    If you have a Mopar stay and stick with Mopar. How many make the mistake of inter changing fords chryslers & gm’s if they can get away with it? If you’re going to stay original keep it original.

    Like 6
  9. Dave

    I don’t mind the Chevy motor at all. Putting in the slant 6 leaning tower of power would just ask everyone to ask why. Sure a Mopar that costs twice or three times as much to build would be nice.

    Like 1
  10. Robt

    More chevyitis.
    Slant 6 with a 3 on the tree would work for me.
    Nice wagon, except for the skirts.

    Like 4
  11. jim sartor

    Chrome trim around windshield says Belvedere to me. Plaza didn’t have this.

    Like 2
  12. Kevin

    I’ve been watching too much Bad Chad lately. I saw this listing and immediately thought how it would look with the roof chopped. : )

    Like 1
  13. Jon

    You can put anything into anything. Small block Chevy is fine but a late model Hemi would have been
    my choice.

    Like 3
  14. CarbobMember

    I like it a lot. Price seems reasonable to me considering what you get. Done well IMO. As usual it’s on the other side of the country from me.

    Like 2
  15. Charley

    Not even close to a Nomad. The door posts are even slanted like a French Van! Do your home! I have a 55’ Nomad and yours isn’t even close.

    Like 0
  16. Brad

    Many would use a 318??? Please, if you’re going to all the trouble drop a 340/ 4 or 6 from the Challenger T/A in it and see the drivers face at the next light after you blow him away

    Like 0
  17. Robert

    The only difference between your car and this one is the emblems, all excuses about prices and steering box locations go out the window when you spend that much building the car. If you couldn’t afford a Chrysler engine, you couldn’t afford to build the car.

    Like 1
    • Russ Ashley

      Robert, I can see from your steering box comment that you must have never attempted a V8 engine swap into a Plymouth of this vintage. I have done it, and the steering box location adds extra complexity and expense, especially if you can’t do it yourself.

      Like 2
  18. 64 Bonneville

    Looks really good as it is, and priced where many can make a deal for it. I am somewhat surprised that it still has the door handles on it, figured owner would go with poppers to stay with the smooth look. Wheel covers are very 50s’-ish. maybe some dummy spotlights, too. just my 2 cents.

    Like 0
  19. Joe Haska

    I could see this one coming from a mile away. The wrong engine in the right car , the engine has to be the same family as the car no exceptions. Every time I read these statements or hear people express them ,as a fact, I get a little concerned, I think maybe they might really be serious. If they are indeed serious, it reminds me of people who are racists. I know that might be a stretch and not necessarily true. However, it does make an impression and gives an assumption that they have no tolerance for anyone who is different from them or who doesn’t believe what they do. I have spoken to people, some who take this very seriously and that’s when I do get concerned. Our hobby can mirror our everyday lives, diversity, creativity, and tolerating others. If we can’t do that in our hobby how can we do it in our day to day encounters. I certainly may be over reacting, I certainly hope so. Could we just say not I would have chosen ,but it seems to be working for you

    Like 1

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