That First Really Cool Car

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That First Really Cool Car

Post by Specialdeluxe » Sat Jul 19th, 2008 11:56


That First Really Cool Car - By John Smeltzer (Johnny_S)

Here is my '49 Plymouth story. I turned 16 back in 1969. I wanted a car so bad I could taste it. Just like many young guys in the Midwest. Every day I scanned the local paper for deals that might just be the right one for me. One day I found a '49 Plymouth, Special Deluxe listed for $90. My dad said that he would look at it. So, since it was in another town I didn't get to see it myself. Dad called a friend of his in the nearby town and asked him to take a look. The report was favorable and it wasn't more than a couple of days before I had my very own 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe.....for $70. It had 66,000+ miles on it The rockers were rusted out and the sides were scraped up from running into one or two too many sides of the garage but all in all it was in really good condition. It was grey in color so I had it painted red by a body and fender guy nearby for $25. I bought the paint and did most of the body work myself. Not very well I might add but I learned a lot from it. In addition, I put seat covers on the mohair, threw on a chrome shift lever knob, puts some decals in the windows and called it good for the next 30,000 miles. And what a great 30,000 miles it was.

I learned to drive a "3 on the tree" in that car. Dated, fished and hunted out of that car. Went to football, basketball, baseball, track practices and games out of that car. Drove to work and college. I learned some pretty decent auto mechanics and auto body through my experiences with that car. It was a cool car.

Finally I got TOO GOOD for that car and parked it. Bought a '66 Buick Skylark 2 door you know! I pulled the engine out of the Plymouth. Rebuilt the king pins. Pulled the transmission. I generally wanted to keep it and fix it up. But alas it wasn't to be. My parents moved and I lost my storage place so I parked it on the edge of a ravine at my friends house out in the country on a farm. It sat there for years, fading in the sun but still in good condition. Then, one day my friend decided that he (or maybe his wife) had had enough of looking at those old cars sitting in the back 40. So they (my '49 Plymouth and a '49 DeSoto and several other cars) got pushed into the ravine for "fill". The lesson was really sent home when I went back 10 years or so later and pulled it out of the ravine. The raccoons and just time itself had made short work of my '49 Plymouth. I have since saved the bumpers and window trim and a few of the gauges. I keep the "Special DeLuxe" side markers in my office just to remind myself daily of that first really cool car. The rest has probably been melted down for scrap and turned into a Toyota or something as horrible.

So that's my story. There are a lot of others in the middle of all that. Like the snow filled engine compartment from ramming a snow drift 4 feet deep at 40 mph when I was hunting red fox. Or the story about water in the spark plug wells on the flathead 6 virtually everytime I would drive it in the snow. Or trying to convert the system to 12 volt negative from 6 volt positive. Or the fake bullet holes on the window. Or the one where my brother brought an "unloaded" shotgun into the back seat and proceeded to shoot a hole in the bottom of the front seat, release 40 years of pent up dirt and almost taking out my passenger (good news was that there were no injuries....just crumbled pride). Or the one about overheating the engine trying to drive it to the paint shop with the grill all taped up and ready to paint. You get the point. Lots of stories, lots of memories.

Good going in your Plymouth! :driving:

Paul Schettner
' - Webmaster

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