Still In The Barn: 1951 Plymouth Savoy Suburban

The Plymouth brand started out as Chrysler’s low priced entry-level division, but they tried their hand at offering higher-priced cars throughout their 92-year run as well. They loved to give their well-appointed cars fancy names, typically after upscale hotels. In 1951, they introduced their Suburban which could be optioned as a Savoy. While the name Suburban will likely conjure images of the massive family-hauling SUV by the same name, but this one is a two-door station wagon and wasn’t particularly good for hauling lots of people. It needs restoration, but would make for a great project. You can find it here on eBay in Catawissa, Pennsylvania with a BIN of $2,500 and the option to make an offer.

These Suburbans really are great-looking machines, they are far more interesting to look at than any modern SUV. The fact that it’s a fairly large wagon but only has two doors makes it really stand out. It would be nice to have a look at the inside and engine bay, but the seller only provides three images of the car. The seller claims the interior is present, all the glass is good, and the floors look solid. While some proof would be good, it does look like the rear seat bottom cushion is sitting on the roof of the car, so at least we know that’s here.

The seller states that the cylinder head and a few other engine parts are missing, so I assume that means that the engine block is present. It’s definitely going to be a big project, but if you have been on the hunt for something a bit different than this could be the right find for you! Take a closer look and let us know in the comments what you think of this Suburban.

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  1. Paolo

    Everytime I see one of these my appreciation grows. It might grow into actually wanting to get one and have my way with it. I would like to tune up the old flat 6. and put some metal-flake paint on that charming body. It is the blank canvas calling to me.

    Like 3
    • cm

      Modern hemi swap murican shooting brake…nuff said

  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    I never cared for this era of car but I always liked the ‘Burb’ version. I came across one of these about ten years ago. A widow had put it up for sale after her husband passed. Apparently it was his fair weather hunting/fishing vehicle. Like my old Chevy it had never been out in the snow and had hardly seen rain. 31K miles, it had barely scorched the paint on the exhaust manifold. I showed it to my wife who gave me that “Do you still want to live at the same zip code as I do?” look. My wife always had an aversion toward station wagons but I thought it was directed more at later models. I didn’t buy the car. I did find out that it had gone to the Puget Sound area. Would’ve loved that car…

    Like 3
  3. Russell Ashley

    We had a 1950 Suburban when I was a teenager in the fifties. My brother and I, both in our teens, abused it terribly but it never let us down. My dad and I made a pickup out of it after several years and many miles. It made a nice truck as we used the top of the rear for the back of the cab and kept the opening upper tailgate. Some people thought it was factory made. I wish I had a good picture of it.

    Like 3
  4. losgatos_dale

    I’m not sure I’d call this a large car, we owned a ’53 cranbrook in the mid-70’s so remembering THAT size makes this 2 door wagon attractive to me! Don’t think it’d be anywhere near as interesting if it was early 50’s Cadillac “large.”

    Like 1
  5. Jeff

    I was out to this place 5 years ago. Many Plymouths from the ’50, 51 and 52 era out there. I’ve got pictures of this car, and others.

    Like 2
  6. Dickie F.

    My first impression was to add wooden look vinyl graphics to the sides and rear.
    Followed by the 318 & auto from the old Winnebago.

    Like 1
  7. Royal

    You could supposedly drop a early Hemi into this as the frame was made to accept either that or the 6 cylinder engine.

    This seems to be a real project though and if the cylinder head is MIA, I would be interested as to know why. Hard to find one to match the block as they all differed in some fashion between makes as I have a 51 and when I cracked the thermo housing on the head, finding a replacement was a chore, although that was before the development of the internet.

    I hope this finds a good home and someone fixes it up. It would lend itself to a nice EV conversion if done with modern components.

    • Bill McCoskey


      I can answer your question as to why the cylinder head was removed; It’s simply too easy to pull off the engine!

      For example, a car with a flathead motor was owned by someone who had only a rudimentary understanding of motors, and guys like that who own cars with flathead engines, always took the head off to determine the cause of simple problems like intermittent ignition miss, or rough idle!

      Then, of course, the owner, not having figured out the root cause of the poor running motor, simply went on to another project without replacing the head.

      Over the last 50 years I’ve seen way too many cars equipped with flathead engines, where the cylinder head has been separated from the block for decades, and said cylinder head can often been found sitting on one of the seats, without anything protecting the seat surfaces. As I’m in the moist mid-Atlantic area, I’ve seen those cylinder heads rust to the point they are fused to the seating surfaces!

      And way too often, on visually observing the condition of the valves, they were in good shape!

  8. Stevieg

    I hope this wasn’t named after the Suburban Motel here in Milwaukee, but considering the condition of thus formerly cute little wagon, it could have been. Someone needs to torch the motel and save this car.

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