When we started in 1998 the focus was helping fellow owners of '46-'48 Plymouth Model P15s or Dodge Model D24s get their cars back on the road. Over the years this grew to include '48-'53 Dodge "B" Series Pilothouse trucks. Next the community grew to any flathead powered mopar product including Chrysler, DeSoto and foreign marques like Fargo. Today we have a community reaching around the globe sharing a common interest in cars and trucks powered by the venerable mopar flathead.
What will I get from this site?
Lots of good stuff! First information to help you successfully get your project safely back on the road. Our forum is filled with friendly members willing to help just by asking a question. We have technical articles to help you with common tasks, plus reference information to make the job easier. Since our original focus was the P15, D24 and B series most of the articles are directly applicable to those platforms. But Chrysler used the same technology for many years and it is usually easily adaptable to early or later years and other family marques. We will soon be expanding the range years for our Plymouth and Dodge models.
Why own a Series P15 or D24? (or any flathead mopar!)
If you are looking to get started in owning and restoring old cars you have literally thousand of choices. However the hobby has gone through cycles where it became a speculative business venture driving prices so high ownership was outside the range of the average collector. With the recent recession some affordability has returned. The postwar vintage flathead mopars have always had lots to offer and now are even more affordable. They include features found on more "modern" cars including synchronized transmissions, four wheel hydraulic brakes, reliable electrical systems and body styles that still make people turn and look. These features translate into a car that is safe, easy to repair and fun to drive. Reliability is high so you can use them as a daily driver. Mechanical parts are readily available, and trim parts can be found with some digging. Don’t think they are totally immune to high prices. Just check Hemmings for the asking price for a Dodge convertible or Plymouth woody. However, you can pickup a sedan or coupe usually in the $1,000 - $2,000 dollar range and get started in a great hobby. If you are anticipating selling your car for a big profit after fixing it up, you are considering the wrong series of cars. With the exception of convertible or woody, these rarely draw $10,000 in mint condition. So why do people own them? Because they are fun to drive and fun to work on.
How available are mechanical parts?
To our benefit Chrysler believed in long production runs. For example, the basic flat head six was in production from the mid-thirties until the early sixties when it was replaced by the slant six. Basic parts for major systems like brakes, engine and transmission components are available from multiple suppliers. Many can be purchased over the counter at local chains such as NAPA. Because interchangeability of parts between the different Chrysler marques (Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto and Chrysler) is very high, the search is also easier.
How about trim and sheet metal parts?
Trim parts in most cases are marque specific. Body components such as hoods and fenders, are usually shared by different models in a series. These components were used on many different Chrysler products and generally fit with little or no modification. Post WWII demand for new cars was insatiable. Chrysler sold as many of these products as they could manufacture. As a result many quality parts are sitting in junkyards waiting to get your car back on the road. A Hollanders Interchange manual is a worthy purchase.
Where do I find one?
Probably the best source is your local Criagslist. Other sources include local papers and weekly car guides. Subscribe to the Plymouth Owners Club and Walter P. Chrysler Club (WPC). Also check out our classified ads for both vehicles and parts.
What are common problem areas to check before buying?
Rust, wiring and brakes. Rust outs in the floor, quarters, trunk pan and trunk lid are common. Directly beneath the tail lights and rear quarter panels are also problem areas. These cars do not have the benefit of modern rust fighting technology so finding a rust free car is the exception. Also, cars from states where road salt is used usually have substantially more rust damage than southern and western cars.
The original wiring insulation is rubber, covered with cloth. Again, it is the exception to find a car where the wiring has not deteriorated. Fifty plus years of seasons takes its toll on any material! If the rubber insulation easily cracks when you flex it, be prepared to add replacing the wiring harness to your list of tasks. Original, show quality wiring harnesses are available from multiple suppliers, and the installation is straightforward. I personally feel this is not area to go lowest bid. Be advised the only electrical system protection is a single fuse for the headlight circuit. Most circuits do not have any fuses. A new harness is not cheap, but an electrical short in an old harness could result in your entire project going up in smoke in a matter of minutes.
I have never talked to a P15 or D24 owner how didn’t have his share of stories about the brakes. Leaking wheel cylinders are a common problem. Again, parts for complete rebuilds are readily available from multiple suppliers. For safety’s sake, after you buy a car be prepared to do a complete brake job including wheel cylinders, master cylinder, lines, shoes and drums. Check our Technical section for more information. And don’t forget to repair the parking brake, which is mounted on the rear of the transmission!
Can they be used as daily drivers?
Yes, from my personal experience a well maintained vehicle easily handles the requirements of being a reliable daily driver. Performance is adequate for acceleration onto freeways and they cruise nicely at 65. Keep the brakes and electrical system in good shape and add seat belts for your safety. Those big plush seats make for a really comfortable daily driver. Gas mileage is reasonable for a 3,200 pound car. Add a clock and original Mopar 802 pushbutton radio and you will be traveling in style.
Why so many names like Deluxe, Special Deluxe and Custom?
Each series provides a low cost base level model and a more expensive step up model. In the Plymouth series you could purchase a base Deluxe or the Special Deluxe with more options. Also, these trim options were limited to certain body styles. For example a Special Deluxe was not available in a 2 door Sedan Body style. On the Dodge D24 you could choose between the base Custom or plush Deluxe. Check the Reference and Spotters Guide pages for complete listing of the models, including production numbers.
I’m interested, where do I start?
Start by joining our forum (it's free) and introducing yourself. From the forum you may find fellow owners in your local area who can help you. Also pick up a copy of Hemmings, the Bible of the car collector. Check your local car trader publications and Craigslist. Most important, don’t forget to have fun.