Gary S 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe 4dr Sedan

The first car I ever bought with my own money

As a kid I had always dreamed of having a classic car. I got my first job as a pizza chef at age 16 and put away a little bit of money from each paycheck. Then one day in 1981, I saw a colonial blue 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe with a for sale sign in the window. It was parked on Pacific Coast Highway in Lomita, CA. I was immediately taken with its art deco rounded lines, Rolls royce style full stainless steel wheel covers, sailing ship hood ornament, airplane rear license plate light, gobs of chrome on the front end, western style lettered guages on the dash and split front windshield. It had only one dent, located on the trunk. The seller told me it got hit by a trailered boat and was knocked into the Pacific Ocean.

It had a flathead six cylinder engine, an oil bath air cleaner and a three on the tree column shift manual transmission. I negotiated the price to $600 and the seller threw in a used glasspack muffler.

I did not know how to drive stick shift and everything was manual on the car. In tight spaces it was a beast to turn! A neighbor who drove a 1967 427 Corvette taught me how to drive stick shift on the Plymouth. I drove the wheels off of it. Valve spring retainer clips kept failing on the engine and the fabric covered wires would often spontaneously catch fire. I put a set of fake wide whitewall tire inserts, called 'Mickey's' which would flap when driving at slow speeds. I eventually sold it and bought a 1955 Oldsmobile Holiday 88 hardtop, but I still have fond memories of the Plymouth.

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Chris Campbell Traverse City, MI September 17, 2014 at 22:17
    My first purchased car was a 1938 Buick Special. I paid either $100 or $150 in 1966. I had big plans for restoration but very modest skills at bodywork. It needed a lot of that because it was Michigan car. I did find 4 fenders from the desert in Arizona via Hemmings. I cleaned out the rocker arm pivot tube so oil would flow, replaced piston rings, and adjusted main bearing shims. Then life got complicated and 48 years later the car isn't done--still waiting. It's interesting that the Buick was 26 years old when I bought it, the same age as my '86 Mustang GT is now, but what a difference in the cars' conditions at that age!

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