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One Family 1950 Dodge Special Deluxe


We love to hear from our readers, especially about their own rides. Reader Neil H. sent us the tale of this 1950 Dodge Special Deluxe. As he puts it, it isn’t a “Barn Find”, but it’s a neat story about a car staying in the family and how a car can bring a family together, even when it’s the in-laws. Neil did a great job sharing the story, so we are going to let him share it with you in his own words…


I have a 1950 Dodge Special Deluxe (D36); it is the Canadian version of a Plymouth Special Deluxe. It is not really a barn find because I have known where it was since 1990. It originally belonged to my wife’s Great Grandmother; she purchased it as new in 1952 or 1953.

It was driven by the dealer’s wife for 1 or 2 years and then sold as new. My wife can remember seeing it at Church when she was little. After her Great Grandmother’s death, it was passed to her son, my Father-In-Law’s uncle.  He drove it as a Sunday driver for a number of years. In the early 90’s my Father-In-Law worked out a deal trading labor to his uncle for the car. He kept it in a shed for most of the next 20 years. I can remember seeing it outside a couple of times. I tried to convince him several times over the years to put some time/money into it. In true farmer fashion, it was always the same answer. Next Year…

On Valentine’s Day 2009, my Father-In-Law had a debilitating Stroke. He can now walk with a cane, cannot drive and his speech has been affected. My wife (and I) took over ownership of the car; it is in her name to maintain the 4th generation of ownership. I brought it home on Father’s Day of 2009.


I promised my Father-In-law that I would have it ready for the local Cruise Weekend at the end of August. With the help of a friend of mine from work, I was able to get it running. We replaced the coil, rotor, bled the brakes (sorta) and replaced the gas. It was then registered and ready to run.  My In-Laws came up for the Cruise Weekend and we entered the local Show and Shine.

The picture above is of my Father-In-Law smiling like the butcher’s dog. Later that night after too many beers and feeling quite proud of myself, I promised to drive it out to their hometown next fall for their local show. After that weekend, I started to prepare it for the winter. Over the course of the winter, I replaced all the wheel cylinders, front wheel seals, and the master cylinder. I also had the AM radio repaired, replaced the cowl vent gasket, and a new fuel line made up for the fuel pump. I spent the summer of 2010 working on my own confidence to make the 60 mile drive to Rosetown, Saskatchewan to make good on my promise to enter into their car show. My son and I headed out on the Saturday afternoon for the show on Sunday.

Neil’s Father-In-Law and the car at the Car Show

Since that time, I have continued to clean it up and continue to work on its road-worthiness and my confidence. I have rewired most of it, got the fuel sender and gauge working. Purchased a used original optional clock and retrofitted a new mechanism into it. Purchased used rims and painted them, and added the white walls. Also I changed all of the fluids, plugs and plug wires. I continue to work on the interior as well. I needed to get the radiator re-cored.  All in all it has been a great way to spend time and money.

It’s amazing the connection one person, or in this case a family, can have to an old car. Cars are more than just transportation, they are memories, hopes, and dreams. We are glad that Neil shared his Dodge with us and we wish him and his family the best. We are sure as he gets more of the kinks worked out his confidence will grow and he will cherish the excitement of making long journeys in this old Dodge. If you have a great story like Neil’s, we would love to hear about it!


  1. Brian

    What a great story and a great car! Keep up the good work and your confidence!! Maybe involve your son as well and hopefully, someday, it will be in it’s forth generation of family ownership!

    Like 1
    • Horse Radish

      Love the car, love the story.

      5th generation (Neil’s son)
      His wife is 4th.

      This is great a great example, usually people just dump the cars,

      Like 1
  2. paul

    Great story, wonderful car, this is what this hobby is all about.

    Like 0
  3. Dirty Dingus McGee

    In 1978, I purchased from my Aunt, my great grandmothers 1950 Plymouth sedan, which “at gram”(my childhood way of identifying “that grandmother”) had WON in a fundraiser sponsored by a local volunteer fire dept. In 83 while going thru a divorce, I sold the car to my sister with the understanding that her son would get it when he turned driving age. In 96 he took possession of the car and drove it for about a year, He ended up trading it to one of my other sisters sons, for a 73 Dodge Powerwagon, as he was more into trucks. Over the years John restored the car with the help of HIS son Adam. With luck, the ole gal will stay in the family for at least one more generation.

    Like 0
  4. Bob Friendship

    What a great article! Reading this here in the UK, it brings back memories of excitement when, as a small boy in the ’50’s, I might catch a glimpse of such a car if I were near or visiting a city. Such cars were not used in rural areas due to the high fuel consumption and most ordinary folk drove British products.
    Long may this great old car survive and thank goodness for all the people around the World that make it their business to save old vehicles, bikes, trucks, planes and trains!

    Best wishes to all.

    Like 1
  5. Rolly Doucet

    This story goes to show what kind of an effect a car can have on a family. It also says something about older cars. You can fix them, and keep them on the road forever, because they were simple. Parts can be retrofitted with ease. There’s a joy and a satisfaction that comes from working on something that you know will extend the existance of it. If you think todays’ cars will be repairable or restoreable, good luck with that.

    Like 0
  6. Charles

    Love the story! Cool old car also.

    Like 0
  7. bruce r colbert

    Great story !
    I love these round, voluptuous cars.

    Like 1
  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    Outstanding! One can only hope that a car might stay in the family but so many times things derail and the car disappears. I sometimes get concerned about my collection as the kids don’t seem all that interested. Well, my son-in-law likes old cars but I’m not so sure he likes MY old cars. Maybe the grandkids. In the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying my relics myself.

    Like 0
  9. 67biscayne

    Love the picture in front of the historic Bessborough hotel. I have a similar shot with my own car.

    Like 0
  10. Neil

    Thanks for all the positive comments.
    It has been a great project.

    Like 0
  11. Aquadeo Bill

    What a great story, Neil. I enjoyed your words and pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Like 0

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