1941 Plymouth P11D Deluxe
6-cyl. 201cid/87hp 1bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
At the start of 1941 demand for new vehicles remained steady and industry was booming but by the end of the year the U.S. was gearing up for war. Overall auto production rose only 1.65 percent over 1940 and Chrysler sales declined 6.6 percent from the previous year. Plymouth sales dropped 15.7 percent to 546,811 units, but the division retained its number three slot in the market. Dodge dropped 4.5 percent but stayed in seventh place and Chrysler rose 22 percent to take eighth place from Studebaker. DeSoto gained 2.6 percent and stayed in 10th spot.
Tagged “The One for ‘41” all 1941 Plymouths received a new grille under a one-piece alligator hood, hinged at the rear. The grille was vertically divided into two panels with horizontal bars, with a chrome surround. Front and rear fenders gained three pressed ribs on their trailing edges. The battery moved from under the seat to the engine compartment. The trunk now had spring-loaded hinges and the stoplight was mounted high on the trunk lid, along with the license plate. Front park lights were raised above the headlight and (except for early cars) were designed to be visible from the side.
The 87-hp, 201.3 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine was unchanged, but an optional 7.25:1 compression ratio bumped power to 92hp. A “Powermatic” vacuum gear shift was offered. Base wheelbase was 117 inches, long-wheelbase models were 137.5 inches. Wheels and tires were 6 x 16 inches. Oversize wheels for Sedans were reduced to 18 inches.
Base model was the 1941 Plymouth P11 – the Roadking name was dropped. It could be recognized by lack of brightwork around the windshield, a single wiper and driver’s side visor. Front vent windows were optional but lacked any brightwork. Seven Plymouth P11 models were offered, plus a bare chassis.
The 1941 Plymouth Deluxe P11D wasn’t considered a separate model, but merely a P11 with some extra brightwork and a few more available options. Examples can be recognized by chrome trim around the windshield and side windows, and the word Deluxe on the hood side panels. In all, six P11 Deluxe body styles were offered.
The most notable aspect of the 1941 Plymouth P12 Special Deluxe was the availability of 2-tone paint and upholstery. Two-tones finishes also included the Westchester Station Wagon, whose recessed panels could be stained a dark mahogany color, if preferred. Special Deluxe models were often fitted with “winged” bumper ends and a central grille guard. A rear guard could be fitted that swiveled downwards, so that the trunk could open. Running boards could be replaced with a chrome strip. Rear fender skirts were increasingly common. Nine total body styles were available in the P12 Special Deluxe lineup.
This year would be the last for Plymouth’s PT-125 Commercial Car lineup until the Trail Duster of 1974. It was available as a Dodge-based pickup or a cab and bare chassis. Plymouth was gearing up for war production and needed plant space for military trucks. Plymouths remained popular overseas and a new factory was opened briefly in South Africa in 1942. It resumed production in 1946. Right-hand drive 1941 models included P11, P11 Deluxe, and P12 Special Deluxe.
On November 18, 1940 Plymouth sent a team of three drivers and a P11 4-door Sedan to map the route of the proposed Pan American Highway from the U.S. to Tierra del Fuego. The Richardson Expedition was led by journalist Sullivan Richardson, with Kenneth Van Hee and Arnold Whitaker. They took eight months to reach Magallanes Province, Chile, after 15,745 miles of jungle, mountains and desert (and a couple of boat trips).
Meanwhile back home, the 4 millionth Plymouth was built in Los Angeles. It was a Special deluxe Convertible Coupe.