Stored Since Early-60s: 1947 Plymouth Special Deluxe

With World War II just barely in the rearview mirror, U.S. automakers were having a tough time coming up with fresh designs, not to mention the raw materials, for a car-starved population. This 1947 Plymouth P-15 Special Deluxe is a slightly warmed-over 1942 model but it looks pretty appealing to me. This barn find can be found here on eBay with a $17,950 buy it now price or you can make an offer. It’s located in Mount Union, Iowa.

Iowa knows a thing or two about barns, I bet that there are hundreds if not thousands of great finds there hidden away in barns. This baby blue beauty has been stored since 1971, according to the seller. That means that if it was used regularly, this car has been used for only 24 of its 71 years on the planet. Although, the seller goes on to say that before the previous owner had it in storage in 1971, it had been in storage since the early-1960s before that! Scratch that 1971 calculation and just add another decade or so of storage onto that. It was originally a tan car and even though I’m usually a staunch original-spec guy, I’d have a hard time not keeping it light blue.

Full disclosure on this one, it has been featured here at Barn Finds by our own Bobby Miller back in August of 2018, but at that time it was listed as a 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe convertible and the seller was only asking $12,000 for it. Hmm.. the plot thickens..

There are two schools of thought on barn finds: leave them dusty and in as close to as-found condition as possible to show the authentic condition, or clean them up as well as you can without altering anything other than removing the dirt and maybe shining them up a bit. Which camp are you in on that? I probably lean towards the first one in leaving them as close as possible to how they were found hidden away for years or decades. Most of us have a sickness with old cars in that we would love to clean this Plymouth up asap! I know that I would. I don’t see really any glaring problems with the body on this car at all.

The seller says that the “FRONT FLOOR IS SOLID FROM UNDER THE FRONT SEAT BACK TO BELOW BACK SEAT. SOME RUST IN FRONT FLOOR AND ROCKERS. FRAME IS IN GREAT SHAPE AND ALL MOUNTS ARE GOOD.” Sorry for yelling, they wrote the eBay ad in all-caps. This is supposedly the original upholstery and it looks good for being so many decades old. The top still operates?! That’s crazy but true, according to the seller. The top will need some work, though, it looks a little ragged. The Special Deluxe was the top line for the P-15 Plymouth over the Deluxe. Or, DeLuxe, or De Luxe. I have seen it written out in every one of those different ways.

The engine here should be Plymouth’s 218 cubic-inch six with 95 hp. For a 3,500-pound car without power steering or power brakes that’s not much oomph and as with most old cars, it won’t exactly be finger-tip-steering and driving. But hey, this is what the old car hobby is all about for me. Well, other than the asking price. This one “runs good” according to the seller, but it’ll need a new gas tank and brakes. The Special Deluxe model is worth more than a Deluxe and the convertible option adds another layer of desirability. What would you think this ’47 (or, 48?) Plymouth ragtop is worth and how would you restore it? Back to bone-stock for me but in this light blue color. You?


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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    As you all know by now I love these post war cars. This one is no exception but it is going to need a lot of work. Unfortunately the there are not a lot of people that share my enthusiasm for these post war beauties. And for that reason I think the the price is way to high. Even a $12k it was at the top end of an unrestored Mopar of this era. I do hope some one buys it and throws down the cash to restore it. I think they were the real begining of the modern car, by this time a lot was learned about production from the Second World War.

    Like 9
    • Gary

      I agree. The price seems too high. Knock about $10,000 off the price would seem to be a good starting point.

      What would do with it? For the most part I would try to keep it stock. I would probably have some fun with the paint since it isn’t original. the current color is pretty nice but I would probably prefer a darker blue. Naturally, I would upgrade things like brakes wherever possible.

      Like 1
    • steve

      The price gap between a really good used 2000 model vehicle and an older one that may or may not run, top bad, etc. is really coming closer….Folks are asking GOLD PRICES for SCRAP IRON in some cases

      Like 1
  2. Wayne

    I prefer the next model design. I almost bought one in convertible form in Las Vegas about 40 years ago.
    Too high a price for a cool car.

  3. Fred H

    Might as well ask 18 K.))

  4. Will Fox

    Wow….from $12K to $17,950., and not a single thing done to it at all? The buzzards sure are circling around this one! Sooner or later, someone will fall off the turnip wagon. They always do….

    Like 4
    • Lance

      There is a 1950 Chevy 2 ton short wheelbase truck on our local Craigslist that was listed for $750 and sold after a week and a half. Then it showed up sitting on a flatbed trailer and having been moved to Seattle the price went up to get this. $4500,00 and NOTHING was done to it. The NEW ad says it needs to be rewired and the brakes need work. But the old ad said the same thing.

      Like 1
      • stillrunners stillrunners Member

        kinda what flippers do….have watched a post with pictures only to see the same pictures in a new post three to five times more money….

  5. Charles

    This is an example of my first car. I paid $50.00 for it and learned to drive it as I drove it home. Seller said, it’s easy. Just do this. I got it home and drove it until I went in the service 4 years later! It may be, but I think the claim that the interior seat material is original is bogus, but it’s still a nice trip down memory lane.

    Like 1
  6. Kenneth Carney

    I like it–but not 18K worth. For that amount
    of money, I could buy two closed cars
    and maybe, just maybe come out ahead
    of the game. Owned a ’46 P-15 sedan
    and loved it. Nothing could be simpler
    to fix or maintain than a ’40’s era plymouth. Now those were cars made
    for families that had lots of room inside
    for everyone. Why pay 30K for an SUV
    when a sedan is all you’d ever need.
    Nice layout for a portrait though!

  7. Charles

    I totally agree.

    Like 1
  8. John C

    Would be a blast on Route 66. But if serious buyer, all in at $8,000.

    As said or implied by most not huge demand for theses cars in in this condition.

    If you have the skills, time and money to restore to some level, would be easier sell. Convertible is a big plus.

    If put in some sort of turn key condition for an individual who wants to diversify his collection, and to drive to cars n coffee. Who knows might be impossible to turn a small profit.

    If this drives and stops anything like my 39 Plymouth, yikes!
    Steered a like dead horse, stops like freight train.
    But love to see these back on the Hwy.

    Like 2
  9. Charles

    They don’t go fast.
    They dont stop quick.
    They take time to get up to speed.
    Just like a first date.
    But once you start to appreciate her like the girl you should have married.
    You get to understand the dependability.
    She’ll always start, and get you there if you treat her right.

    Like 7
  10. chad brousseau

    listed under des moines iowa craigslist for 13900

    Like 2
  11. Kevin Tapply

    Way too much money unless you’re trying to fill out a collection and have the $$. Restoration costs will exceed $50k to do it right and in the end you’ve got a $20k car. Although, as PT once said….,

    Like 1
  12. Del

    Most posters say price to high and I agree.

    Nada says high retail is 47 grand. These must be rare.

    Will need tank, brakes, new top and tune up and paint. Door panels from a Coupe should fit.

    I am thinkìng 10 grand resto work, unless you can do a lot yourself.

    Purchase price should be between 8 to 10 grand. Seller way to high

    Like 1
  13. Bob Member

    Del, I wish I could find someone that would restore this for 10K. I live in southern Florida. I wanted my 38 Buick Sport Coupe painted. It is in very good condition, but as far as the pint goes it is a 20 footer. To get a show quality paint job will cost $20K down here. If I had that done I would be lucky to get $25K. I truly think you are looking at a good $50K to restore this car correctly. Maybe I am wrong… It would be worth shipping my car someplace if I could get a nice paint job for a reasonable price.

    Like 1
  14. Charles

    Thats the thing. It’s cool when some lucky SOB finds a nice deal at $750.00 and takes it home to love and fix up to drive himself. Someone who will use it, not just have it as a show queen.
    But when someone turns around and it’s jacked up to a rediculas price just for a cash wind fall. Thats not cool. Thats rape. I understand, to some thats just business. But if I want to get raped, I’ll go to a car lot.

    Like 3
  15. moosie Craig M Bryda

    I may be wrong but from a lot of the comments about this car & others recently there are an awful lot of enthusiasts who pay others to work on their cars, that’s not a bad thing if you can afford that, but it seems that most of these people want “CHERRY”, unmolested originals for 1970s & 1980 selling prices. Besides that it seems they’re suspicious & make assumptions on cars that are unbelievable. The assumptions, not the cars.

  16. Charles

    Yes your right. A lot of us want original unmolested cars. Some things we can do ourselves. Somethings we dont have the skills, tools, or knowledge to do, correct. But I for one dont want to take out a second mortgage to refab a car manufactured in my youth. A memory toy. A daily driver. I may not have the money in my old age as some of the rich and famous, but that doesnt mean I cant appreciate an old car. In my time I have a lot, I mean a lot of cars. Some were good memories, some not so good. But in my opinion, many of these barn finds as some are loosely called, arent worth what people ask for them. It’s not asking for a 30 years ago price on a new car. It’s just recognizing the marketing behind the find. Look, you want an old car to fix up and call yours great. But take it from an old Iowa boy. There really is no shortage. Drive around the back country roads enough and you’ll find one sitting on someones front lawn for sale. It may need some work. I may not be in turn key condition. But trust me their out there, and a lot cheaper than all the hype most of these resold, second owner, get rich off one sale so I can brag about it to my buddys is trying to tell you is such a deal. Wow, but they only made xxx of these. Do you think there might be a reason for that? Lots of cars, lots of different reasons to have one. Relax, enjoy what you see go down the road. They make more every day. I for one still miss that old Dodge Pioneer, and that Plymouth Special, and that Catalina, and that metropolitan, and … it sure can be fun can’t it?

    Like 1
  17. robbert

    If you are arguing about it’s price you can’t afford it. Seen an other one lately! Automotive classic never to be repeated. Restore it stock as factory. Appreciating asset.

  18. Charles

    A guy writes a book of car values. Next year the publisher puts out another book. Surprise the values are up. What’s the publisher doing? Selling books.
    It’s not about if someone can aford it. For every bigshot who thinks he’s got money, there is someone who has more. The real money doesnt show off. Those who can’t stand someone saying thats to much for that car sound like they want to sell that car to much. Maybe “thier” the one with no money. Maybe because they keep paying to much.
    Find another one? Sure, I just haven’t lost my mind over one car. Maybe I’ll just buy another old Caddy Daddy. Love those ole’ Caddys

    Like 1
  19. Fireman Dk

    Good god, is that the car Phil Silvers drove in ” Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World ” ???? looks just like it I think !

    I guess that one was a Ford…reminded me of it !

    Like 2
  20. Charles

    Exactly my point. I go to the the auctions and you’ll see a car that someone has to much money into travel to one auction after another. After awhile every one knows about the car. No one buys. Why some of these sellers dont understand, we go to all the other auctions too. I dont want it. “It’s to much to pay for that car.” Take it home.
    Sometimes people forget these simple truths:
    I want what you want. (Whats in it for me if I pay to much? Only disapointment.)
    I want to feel like I got a deal. (Not a lube job.)

  21. John

    A vintage car is worth what the next guy will pay. This is a pretty rare car, and anyone who would “make a rat rod out of it”… well, I hope there’s a special place in Hades for them!

    Like 1
  22. Charles

    Rare, medium rare, well done… bla, bla, bla.
    I too beleave there is a sucker born every minute. But the more people keep looking for suckers, the more people know of peoples true character. If you want to be a dealer. Open up a car lot. Hell, you can even specialize. But there is a difference between a dealer and a wheeler dealer. You know what I mean?
    Next you’ll be saying this car was once owned by Ferdinand the Great! Lets face it. Thats a lot of bull. It needs a lot of work which makes the price to much. Heck if one wants to just throw money away, just get married!

    Like 3
  23. Charles

    Seek out some of the old bone yards from small towns and you’ll be surprised at the more realistic pricing you can sometimes find. Problem sometime is, people are to lazy to look for themselves. So someone else looks, finds, and then sells to them at a ridiculous finders fee. Sounds dumb to me. Someone else finds the car for you. Then some one else does “all” the mechanical work. Then someone else paints it. Then you add up all the money you threw at it and then try and claim it’s rare and worth every penny saying it is an investment. You say beauty is in the eye of the holder. Right, better holder for ever because you see everything you paid for and the rest of us say behind your back there are a lot of other vintage cars you could have fixed for less and be driving just the same. Then someone wonders why they cant sell their car. But dad said… Dads dead. Wecome to reality.

    Like 2
  24. Del

    Bob. 20 grand to paint a car ?

    Move to another state.😁😂🤣

  25. Bob Member

    Del.. I live in southern Florida. Everything is overpriced down here. But it is 80 degrees today and I hate cold and snow.

    Like 2
  26. Charles

    My brother retired from painting cars at a dealership after 40 yrs. They used to loan him out to other dealers for custom painting where perhaps your painting just a fender and you want it to match the paint fade of the rest of the car. I think when he was doing side jobs at home he never charged more than $2500.00 for painting the whole car or truck what ever color you wanted. The expence is the paint itself. But if you tape a car or truck properly. The painting is no big deal. I’m up here in Michigan. So I to would tell you your paying to much in Florida. My guess is with the Florida heat, your painters want a lot of money to suit up and paint sweating thier butt off. Trailer it some place else for paint.

    Like 1
  27. Bob Member

    Charles, Another issue is that the cost of living is so high down here. Not to mention property taxes. So, I shall take your advise and truck the 38 Buick someplace else and have her painted.

    Like 2
  28. Charles

    Sounds like a plan.

    Like 1
  29. Del

    Bob. I know what you mean.

    Its minus -23 celsius here tonite.

    Freeze the b—s off a brass Monkey.

  30. Kenneth Carney

    Bob, I feel your pain. I lve in Central Florida and the cost of living is just as
    high here. Seems everything is overpriced and out of reach of the average person–especially used cars.
    My SIL needs a car in the worst way but
    just can’t afford to buy one here. If the
    down payment doesn’t get you, the
    income restrictions certainly will. Most
    all the used car lots here require that a
    prospective purchaser have an income
    of $2000 a month before they’ll even
    talk to you. No average person I know
    living here even comes close to meeting
    these rediculous restrictions. And if they
    do, they aren’t buying used–oh no no,
    they’re buying brand new units instead.
    And Charles, you talk about getting raped
    on a car lot, you should see what a ’98
    Chevy Malibu is selling for here in Tampa
    right now–$33,500! And that’s on a used
    car lot! (gulp) Said Malibu is a tired looking specimen with close to 300K miles on it! The whole situation to me
    is entirely absurd and needs to change.
    And while I’ve never been a fan of big
    government interference as to how
    businesses are run, something needs
    to be done to help average people survive
    here. Start by putting strict price controls
    on the used car industry here in Florida
    and work from there. That would really
    make me happy, how ’bout you?

  31. Charles

    And on top of that, dealers in florida send their flood cars up to Iowa to pawn them off. They think we dont know what to look for. Man them doors are full of silt. Then the insurance companies send their cars up from claims and their the same way. My step father was living down there in florida. He got a loan and bought a car in Michigan on a visit and drove it home. Got a much better deal. It’s a shame people have to go to those measures just to get a car. I see it and feel yout pain. Just bought a truck in Michigan. 2010 Dodge Ram. 130,000 miles. Hemi. Chiped computer, after market exhaust and intake. This sucker breaths and runs like a raped ape. Paid $12,000 from a dealer in Fowlerville Michigan. Drove it back home. No problems just a long ride. Couldn’t be happier. Something to think about.

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