Running, Driving Barn Find: 1940 Plymouth

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The seller tells us they drove this 1940 Plymouth barn find home, but know very little about cars. They must be tremendously lucky or have gotten some great advice, because I have enough problems with my classics that are stored well and driven regularly! Or maybe it’s ineptitude on my part. Regardless, let’s take a closer look at this terrific looking car that was both found and is being sold in Myerstown, Pennsylvania at no reserve.

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Here’s a shot of the Plymouth, presumably in the barn it was rescued from. While the paint is quite oxidized, I wonder what would happen with some careful polishing and waxing? I’m also surprised at the general condition of the chrome, with what looks like relatively mild pitting putting it in the nice driver category.

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The lines in the paint reflect at least some outside storage; I sure hope this hasn’t happened after being rescued from the barn! Styling for the 1940 Plymouths was all new, with literally nothing on the outside interchanging with the 1939 models except the ship hood ornament! This particular body style was called the “Touring Sedan”, and was available in DeLuxe and Road King trim levels. Interestingly enough, this was the first Plymouth that could be ordered without running boards; they were a delete option in 1940, although obviously this purchaser wanted them.

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We don’t get to see a lot of the interior, and it looks like the gauges have been damaged, probably by water. Apart from a simple cover over the seats, it does look pretty original in here, though, and I could live with the wear as long as I could clean it up. In case you are wondering like I was, the column of square push buttons towards the center of the dash is for the radio.

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The engine is a 6 cylinder, displacing 201.3 cubic inches. Horsepower us up 2 from the 1939 models all the way to 84. This one looks pretty original, although I suspect this head has been off at least once, as I could only find one other one through Google that had a blue head; most were gray. Can anyone verify that? I like the huge horn trumpet, and yes, that appears to be original. How often do you get to find such an original appearing barn find that runs and drives? Yes, it’s a four door, but that shouldn’t be the kiss of death it often is. If you are interested, you’ll find the no-reserve auction for this Plymouth here on eBay, where bidding is starting at only $3,200. Let us know if you buy this one! And do you consider it a survivor?

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Comments

  1. Charles

    Looks solid and complete!

  2. Allen Member

    The dashboard on this car has been painted. All these cars came from the factory with faux-woodgrain paint on the metal dash. The finish on the door cards looks suspect too. I don’t believe Chrysler was using any vinyl materials back then.

    • MeepMeep

      You are correct, in that Chrysler did not use any vinyl. All simulated woodgrain compliments were painted on the dashes as well as the inner upper door panels,interior windshield/pillar trim,etc. well beyond 1940. My ’49 DeSoto Custom’s woodgrain is painted….as well as My Dad’s ’50 Chrysler Windsor.

  3. grant

    It might not be all original, but what a cool old car! And it’s a driver as well. For just a tick over 3 grand? All day long. If it doesnt go much higher this is a good rig for someone. If this one was in oregon I’d be all over it. You can cruise it while you slowly make it better.

  4. Nessy

    That paint looks like it will polish up nice. Gee will someone put some wax on this car already….

  5. Allen Member

    Oooooooh, Grant, I didn’t mean I don’t like the car. I love all these old flathead Mopars, and this one’s no exception! I’d love it even more if the dash was original. Of course that can be fixed, and if the gauges need to come out for rebuilding, that would be a good time to attend to the dash – steering wheel, etc, and window frames – too.

    • grant

      Lol I didn’t for a second thing you were denigrating it Allen. It’s defiantly had some repairs over the years, but that happens. I just really dig it! And with what some of the old iron goes for, this just seems like a steal. Too cool.

  6. Mark S Member

    I thought the Pontiac in the previous post was cool, this one is even cooler as it does have the rear suiside doors. As much as I like the Pontiac I’d rather have this car as I am more of a Mopar guy. From what I have been able to find out about Chrysler flat head engines is they were a full pressure oiling system with 5 main bearings. They were not high In horse power but made up for it with torque, and reliability one of my favorite engines. This engine was so successful that it was produced in various sizes from 1938 until 1959 in cars and up to 1972 in trucks, fork lifts, welders, and other industrial uses. As for this car what Nessy said someone please put some wax on it.

  7. James HGF

    A molested ’40 Plymouth that’s unlikely to ever be restored. It can be improved dramatically by tossing the white walls and eliminating that hideous white strip around the base of the machine. You’ll note in the linked to brochure that only the Deluxe Convertible Coupe has white walls which complement its white top. All other models are shown with black walls. See page 09 of brochure.

    It’s a driver, but one with a horrid interior thanks to whoever decided to paint over the dash and interior metal trim. Would have been so much better with worn, scratched, “used” trim.

    http://oldcarbrochures.org/NA/Plymouth/1940_Plymouth/1940-Plymouth-Deluxe-Brochure/1940-Plymouth-Deluxe-05

    Of US historical interest is the following 20-inch wheel option from the “Roadking” brochure which clearly denotes the rural landscape of 1940’s America:

    AlSO AVAILABLE WITH 20-INCH WHEELS

    For heavy going in rural districts where extra road clearance in needed, you can have Plymouth models with specially designed chassis and 20-inch steel disc wheels — to give 9 7/8 inches road clearance. They are used with special front fenders and a special hypoid rear axle with a gear ratio of 4.3 to 1 to give the same engine speed as the regularly equipped Plymouth models.

    That extra clearance is often the difference between getting through and getting stuck. It makes life easier for mail carriers, farmers, oil field workers – or anybody who has to drive over high-crowned or deeply rutted roads.

    Available on Special Order.

    • moosie Craig

      James HGF, thank you for that link to old brochures, I just spent a very enjoyable hour or so looking at a brochure for my ’40 Ford Tudor Deluxe, & BTW, this Plymouth rocks, I’d have it !

    • Ed P

      Thanks, that was very interesting

    • MeepMeep

      Could You be a bit more pessimistic ? Don’t hold back…
      Wow, It’s a Plymouth, not the Pinta, the Nina or the Santa Maria bringing the settlers to the New World ! We have paved roads….Eisenhower made sure of that.

  8. Allen Member

    Grant, that Plymouth needs a Mopar guy like one of us. In my youth I saw so many of these cars with white-walls I rather expect them. I do agree that the white striping can go – it’s totally out of character with the rest of the car. If that’s original paint, it would be a shame to shoot it again unless it cannot be brought up at all. ‘ Would have to live with it for awhile. I love the smoothness, durability and ease of maintenance of these old flathead sixes. Power is not a concern to me, as long as it’s “floating power”. These cars were available with overdrive, although I seldom see an overdrive model come up for sale. Never mind that I can’t have it (I have a wife), I WANT this car.

  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    Most definitely need to restore the interior. The instrument cluster needs major work in itself. And I would do that for sure because I have a big problem with an unswitched hot lead at a shaky ammeter that could short out any second. If moisture got into the instruments, it no doubt got into the wiring so there would have to be some major scrutiny/repairing there. I’m not 100% sure that the dash has been repainted. While most had faux woodgraining, I’ve seen some that were painted similar to this one. Chrysler motors, I haven’t seen anything but silver, even in industrial applications. The only other colors were when someone decided to paint them something else. I’m not fussy about whitewalls but they are commonplace with a lot of old cars these days so I’d just drive it. Overall, this looks like a great find. I’d do my best to restore the shine to the finish and drive it…

  10. MeepMeep

    Being as how it is listed as running, I would do all of the usual
    “first-off” stuff. Mechanical, electrical, brakes, etc. Moving onto the interior, the upholstery can be replicated, as well as the dash compliments repainted professionally (being the pricey part).
    My taste would lend to keeping the wide whites with the dogdish caps and adding fender skirts, (I would have the paint analyzed for color match to account for fade, as paint manufacturers/distributors have digital analyzers which “read” current paint pigment content). Closer inspection would reveal if the paint could be brought back to life….by hand, not machine buffing. If enough paint remains, I would approach it panel by panel with era appropriate products. Finally, polish the stainless with rouge and a closed wheel on a Dremel tool. A final wash, then wax with pure carnuba butter wax and I’d be cruising it at dusk. It would look like it came straight out of a Dick Tracy comic book !

  11. Neil

    Love those suicide doors.

  12. D

    Once again…you refer to 4-doors as “the kiss of death!” Why ? I have posed this question in the past and there has been no response.

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