|Fate||Withdrawn from market (2001); models discontinued or rebranded as Chrysler|
|Founded||July 7, 1928|
|Defunct||June 29, 2001|
|Headquarters||Auburn Hills, Michigan
|Parent company||Chrysler Corporation|
|Engine(s)||3.3 L I6 (82 bhp)|
|Transmission(s)||3 speed manual|
The Plymouth automobile was introduced on July 7, 1928. It was the Chrysler Corporation's first entry in the low-priced field, which at the time was dominated by Chevrolet and Ford. Plymouths were actually priced a little higher than the competition, but they offered standard features such as internal expanding hydraulic brakes that the competition did not provide. Plymouths were originally sold exclusively through Chrysler dealerships. The logo featured a rear view of the Mayflower ship which landed at Plymouth Rock. However, the Plymouth brand name came from Plymouth Binder Twine, chosen by Joe Frazer for its popularity among farmers.
The origins of the first Plymouth can be traced back to the Maxwell automobile. When Walter P. Chrysler took over control of the trouble-ridden Maxwell-Chalmers car company in the early 1920s, he inherited the Maxwell as part of the package. After he used the company's facilities to help create and launch the Chrysler car in 1924, he decided to create a lower-priced companion car. So for 1926 the Maxwell was reworked and re-badged as the low-end Chrysler "52" model. In 1928, the "52" was once again redesigned to create the Chrysler-Plymouth Model Q. The "Chrysler" portion of the nameplate was dropped with the introduction of the Plymouth Model U in 1929.
While the original purpose of the Plymouth was simply to cover a lower-end marketing niche, during the Great Depression of the 1930s the car would help significantly in ensuring the survival of the Chrysler Corporation in a decade when many other car companies failed. Beginning in 1930, Plymouths were sold by all three Chrysler divisions (Chrysler, DeSoto, and Dodge). Plymouth sales were a bright spot during this dismal automotive period, and by 1931 Plymouth rose to the number three spot among all cars. In 1931 with the Model PA, the company introduced floating power and boasted, "The economy of a four; the smoothness of a six." In 1933 Chrysler decided it would finally play the cylinder game and catch up with Ford and Chevrolet. They went to the parts shelf and took out the '31 DeSoto flat head 3.1 L. 6 and ,with a down draft carb,dropped it into the new 1933 PC which was introduced on Nov. 17th 1932. However for some reason Chrysler shrunk the wheelbase down to 107" from 112" and the car would not sell. By April 1933 they had gone to the Dodge division and 'stole' the 112" Model DP chassis which they put under the PC body with DP front fenders,hood and rad shell. They jumped the model designation up to the 1934 'PD' code and sold this car as the 'DeLuxe' 1933 Plymouth. This car sold very well and is the majority of cars left today in collections. The PC became the 'Standard Six',it had been the 'Plymouth Six' at introduction, and was sold through to the end of 1933 but in much lower numbers. It is consequently in the minority in collectors hands today. The PC was shipped overseas to Sweden,Denmark and the UK as well as Australia. In the UK it was sold as a 'Chrysler Kew', Kew Gardens being the location of the Chrysler factory outside London. The flat head 6 which started with the 1933 Model PC stayed in the Plymouth until the 1959 models. It went beyond that in Dodge trucks and as Chrysler industrial power plants such as back up at radio stations. In 1939 Plymouth produced 417,528 vehicles, of which 5,967 were roadsters, or two-door convertibles with rumble seats. The 1939 Roadster was prominently featured at Chrysler's exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair, advertised as the first mass-production convertible with a power folding top. It featured a 201-cubic-inch, 82 horsepower (61 kW) version of the Chrysler Flathead Six engine.
For much of its life, Plymouth was one of the top selling American automobile brands, along with Chevrolet and Ford ("the low-priced three"). Plymouth even surpassed Ford for a time in the 1940s as the second most popular make of automobiles in the U.S.
Through 1956, Plymouth vehicles were known for their durability, affordability and engineering. In 1957, Chrysler's Forward Look styling theme produced cars with much more advanced styling than Chevrolet or Ford. Because of its new "Forward Look" styling, however, 1957 total production soared to 726,009, about 200,000 more than 1956, and the largest output yet for Plymouth. The marque also introduced its limited production Fury line in 1956, and it too benefited from the crisp Forward Look designs.
Most Plymouth models offered from the late 1970s onward, such as the Acclaim, Laser, Neon, and Breeze, were badge-engineered versions of Chrysler, Dodge, or Mitsubishi models. Chrysler considered giving Plymouth a variant, to be called the Accolade, of the new-for-1993 full-size LH platform, but decided against it. By the late 1990s, only four vehicles were sold under the Plymouth name: the Voyager/Grand Voyager minivans, the Breeze mid-size sedan, the Neon compact car, and the Prowler sports car, which was to be the last model unique to Plymouth.
After discontinuing the Eagle brand in 1998, Chrysler was planning to expand the Plymouth line with a number of unique models before the corporation's merger with Daimler-Benz AG. The first model was the Plymouth Prowler, a hot rod styled sports car. The PT Cruiser was to have been the second. Both models had similar front-end styling, suggesting Chrysler intended a retro styling theme for the Plymouth brand. At the time of Daimler's takeover of Chrysler, Plymouth had no unique models besides the Prowler not also available in the Dodge or Chrysler lines. Further, while all Plymouth dealers also sold the Chrysler line of cars, many Dodge dealers sold only Dodge; it would have caused much greater disturbance to the dealer network to discontinue Dodge than Plymouth. Consequently, DaimlerChrysler decided to drop the make after a limited run of 2001 models. This was announced on November 3, 1999.
The last new model sold under the Plymouth marque was the second generation Neon for 2000-2001. The PT Cruiser was ultimately launched as a Chrysler, and the Prowler and Voyager were absorbed into that make as well. Following the 2001 model year, the Neon was sold only as a Dodge in the US, though it remained available as a Chrysler in Canadian and other markets. The Plymouth Breeze was dropped after 2000, before Chrysler introduced their redesigned 2001 Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring sedan.
The Plymouth division went through numerous slogans, including the following:
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