Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Pristine And Minty: 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook


Lately, I’ve noticed these early fifties shoebox Chrysler products getting some well-deserved love here on Barn Finds, including this 1951 Dodge Coronet, and this 1950 Plymouth. I for one, would posit that these cars are very worthy of that love, and this one might be worth a spot near the top of the heap. So as not to start gushing positive adjectives all over everything, I’ll just say this looks to be one of the finest preserved originals I’ve seen in a long time.


It’s listed on eBay, where the bidding is currently at $5,655, with several days left for bidding. It has a Buy It Now price of $15,450, which is certainly top dollar, but clearly this is top quality product. It’s located in Jacksonville, Florida, and the owner states this car has been parked since 1972, and sports just 12,361 documented original miles. Never have plaid seat covers looked so cool.


The owner says the seat covers are aftermarket, and were installed in 1951. Presumably with miles this low, the original covers underneath should be in near perfect condition. I’d love to see them, but would really deliberate before removing these.


The engine is a 217 cubic inch flathead six, and it drives a column shifted three speed manual transmission. New brakes, a new radiator, and restoration of the fuel system including the tank and carburetor round out the package.


This photo of the driver’s side rocker panel and lower door jambs tells a lot about what a factory-fresh car this really is. The seller says the exterior paint is all original as well, but shows some wear in a few areas. I wouldn’t consider re-painting this one.

1951 Plymouth Door Tag

Check out the period Sinclair Service door jamb decal. The seller says the car runs and drives like new, and that all the factory gauges and lights are in working condition.


It looks as good inside the trunk as it does everywhere else.


Probably we can all agree on the benefit of having four parts of this car that aren’t original, and that’s the brand new wide whitewall tires. They look like a million bucks here. Here at Barn Finds, we like our project cars, but occasionally it’s nice to see a car like this one, that needs really nothing. So what do you think? Chop the top, get a chain steering wheel, some flat black primer and a fake skull for a shifter knob? Don’t shoot! I was just kidding!


  1. Avatar photo RayT

    Now THIS has “patina!” Obviously neither showroom-fresh or fully restored, but looking like what it is claimed to be: a functional survivor, obviously well cared for (yes, even while in storage) throughout its life.

    I’ve never been a big fan of these old ChryCo products (heck, I’ve owned complete cars that weighed less than those flathead sixes), but I’d take a long look at this one if I had the spare cash and it was closer. Of course I’d have to budget for a homburg, wingtips and a double-breasted suit to match….

    Lovely, lovely find!

    Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Jim O Member

    I love this car!! Just the perfect look! Its been listed probably 4 times already and hasn’t met the sellers reserve. I’ve been a bidder every time but he’s a few thousand high on his price.

    Like 0
  3. Avatar photo DENIS

    Those were “THE” seat-covers back then…everybody had ’em to protect the original seats..kinda plastic-coated weave…ugly as hell but cool now. Nice car but a lotta $ for a not-so-popular car. Great parade car tho….

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Gerry

    Really nice to see a “nice original ” find. Barn cars don’t have to be all rusted out hulks!

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Ed P

    Usually I want to paint the car to look new. However, not so much this one. A wash and wax is all this car really needs.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Jim L

    Enjoy the Barn Finds. Would appreciate you listing the going price on your first posting as you do on occasion. Makes it easier to note.
    Thanks and will be looking forward to your new feature on restoration, etc.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo The Walrus

    Love the car… I doubt there are any other unrestored ’51 Cranbrooks this nice. Too bad it’s a 4-door. But then, had it been a coupe or convertible, it probably wouldn’t have been lovingly and preservingly neglected all of these years. Because of the extra doors and roof the value just isn’t there. The BIN is 25% higher than #1 condition (based on 08/15 OCPG)… unfortunately (and even though I do believe the 12K mileage), it’s not a #1 car.

    A #1 car must literally be perfect (see descriptions below). This car fits directly as a #2 because of it’s originality (extremely well-maintained original showing minimal wear), but the gorgeous (IMHO) ‘patina’ simply eliminates it from being worth #1 money. It’s not everyone’s cup of mint-green tea. Personally, primarily based on the exceedingly low mileage, I think it’s worth $10K all day, but any more than that is foolish money.

    1951-52 P23 Cranbrook, 6-cyl., 118.5″ wb
    4d Sed: 6 – $496; 5 – $1,488; 4 – $2,480; 3 – $5,580; 2 – $8,680; 1 – $12,400
    2d ClbCpe: 6 – $620; 5 – $1,860; 4 – $3,100; 3 – $6,980; 2 – $10,850; 1 – $15,500
    2d HT: 6 – $800; 5 – $2,400; 4 – $4,000 ; 3 – $9,000 ; 2 – $14,000 ; 1 – $20,000
    2d Conv: 6 – $1,080; 5 – $3,240; 4 – $5,400; 3 – $12,150; 2 – $18,900; 1 – $27,000

    1) EXCELLENT: Restored to current maximum professional standards of quality in every area, or perfect original with components operating and appearing as new. A 95-plus point show car that is not driven. In national show judging, a vehicle in number 1 condition is likely to win top honors in its class. In a sense, it has ceased to be an automobile and has become an object of art. It is transported to shows
    in an enclosed trailer, and, when not being shown, is stored in a climate-controlled facility. It is not driven. There are few number 1 vehicles.

    2) FINE: Well-restored, or a combination of superior restoration and excellent original. Also, an extremely well-maintained original showing minimal wear.
    Except for the closest inspection, a number 2 vehicle may appear as a number 1. The number 2 vehicle will take the top award in many judged shows, except when competing against a number 1 example in its own class. It may also be driven 800-1,000 miles each year to shows, on tours or simply for pleasure.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Roseland Pete

      I have my doubts about OCPG values and price guides in general. When I was looking for a 71 Camaro RS years ago, OCPG said that a #1 was valued around $11k. If I could have found somebody selling a #1 condition 71 RS for that price, I would have gotten down on my hands and knees and begged them to take my money. I think these price guides do serve a purpose but mostly to show relative values between cars.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Dave Wright

        I am with you. Values on newer cars that are more consistent are fine……but on older unusual enthusiast cars they are mostly rediculous. They simply are trying to sell there publications. In the Marine world, we hire a certified Marine surveyor that looks at everything, even operate the vessel if possible. Then they tell the buyer and/or lender what the value is……on each individual boat.

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jim O Member

      The Hagerty Valuation of a #11951 Cranbrook is $9700. Which like was said this is not a #1. I’m a huge fan of original survivor cars and have quite a few in my collection but $5-6K high isn’t in the cards. I personally would pay a little more for it but not the premium he’s asking

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Jason Houston

        In my experience with vintage car insurance companies, they have consistently ignored the one salient fact that has been around since before the first edition of Kelley’s Blue Book: values differ substantially by region of the country.

        The most expensive cars are in what I call the Rust Belt Region – those states that border on the Great Destructive Lakes. This is where cars have the shortest lives and require the most invasive restorations. The least expensive cars are on the lower west and east coasts, where rust is rare and restoration comparatively easy.

        Take this green 1951 Plymouth. Several here feel it’s worth $4 – $5 grand. In those places any 1951 car in halfway decent shape is desirable because there are few other choices.

        In California, you’d have a hard time getting $1,200 for it. There are plenty of cars of that vintage, most of which are far more desirable – which pushes a 1951 Plymouth to the bottom of the food chain.

        I’ve read a lot of opinions here that substantially differ on values and on whether something is a parts car or a restoration candidate. Those opinions are all based on the speaker’s experience in his region, and most, if not all, are very accurate.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Dave Wright

        I think book values on these older unusual cars is skewed by the small sample of sales they look at. There are more old cars sold privately in any day than what they see in an entire year, or maby 3 or 4 years. When was the last time you saw a car like this at an auction? That is not where they are sold. So what do the records keepers have to go by? Nothing that shows what the real market is. Even the high end collectors cars are more times than not sold by private treaty, not over some public block. I know of a sale that was something like twice as large as the supposedly highest record for a car of its type. It was not recorded anywhere. This little gem is worth what someone will pay…….not what someone thinks it’s value is.

        Like 0
  8. Avatar photo cliffyc

    Looks very similar to the “52-54- Vauxhall Velox from here,in the UK.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo cliffyc

    Looks very similar to the “52-4 Vauxhall Velox from here,in the UK.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    I was gonna shoot! This car is so gorgeous, it’s even in a color that only an early Chrysler product could love!

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo cliffyc

    It is amazing the condition it is in!

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo graham64

    12,361 documented miles – sounds like one of those cars that was only driven down to the local shop once a week!

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Russ

      The part that captures my imagination is that I’m just a few years from (early) retirement, and someone parked this old Plymouth when I was a sophomore in high school. Even then this car would have seemed very, very old to me – but now my winter vehicle is a Dodge Dakota that’s 15 years old and doesn’t seem that old at all to me.

      BTW if a car this nice with 12,000 miles can be had in CA for $1200 I’ll buy it right now, over the phone with my credit card. No, I’ll take two of them.

      Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Jason Houston


    Excellent ideology. I decided years ago 95% of the listings in those so-called “auction price guides” [sic] are nothing but “best-guesses”. If all the cars allegedly sold in those ‘guides’ really existed, old cars would be as common as they were when they were new. And, as you correctly pointed out, most sales are private and never make it to the auction tabloids.

    Many auction companies won’t take certain cars for various reasons, most of them related to greed. I can’t ever remember seeing a 1951 Plymouth at B-J.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Ed P

      Value is in the eye of the beholder. If the car is good and the buyer really wants it, the seller can get more. The price guides are just that, guides.

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo daveH

    Mileage is so low because it could never be actually started! Has anyone ever figured out how to actually START one of those bleeping Chrysler Flathead 6’s of that era?

    If the weather forecast calls for rain next week – it won’t start.

    Walk past it with an ice-ream cone in your hand (in August)- it won’t start.

    If memory serves, the zero to 60 time is something like “next October” and that is WAY better than the stopping distance. However, having survived getting rear-ended in one and driven into the car ahead – I can attest that army tanks were no-where near as stout!

    From my experience with these – the decimal point is out by two digits on the price!

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Russ

      If I recall correctly (these cars pre-dated me) there was a problem because the spark plugs sat in ‘wells’ in the cylinder head, and in some way that collected moisture and caused the ignition to lose the spark. There has to be something in terms of newer wires, better ignition coil, something, that will make these old beasts start reliably. It’s all just cast iron and electricity and wires, after all.

      Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Marty Member

    With the discussion on this car turning towards price guides vs. auction results, I have to agree with the point of view that a price guide is good for general, relative reference only, and not specifics. Whether the prices in it are derived from private sales, or auction results, or both, it’s a wonder they’re as close as they are. To support that point, think of some of the things you’ve seen on ebay. Cars, or other stuff that you know well. Now try and imagine making a coherent judgment about the value of something based on what you’ve seen them bring (or not bring) just on ebay. Then think of all the other crazy things we’ve all seen happen at live auctions. Coming up with values for a price guide is an imperfect science at best.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.