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The Great ‘38 Thread of '22


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I thought I start a new 2022 thread of all the fun things I like to do in my ‘38 cars. 

This evening after work it was time to get under my P6 and hook up the speedo cable again. I missed it with all the excitement of my new engine. I adjusted my clutch. It was a little too high I think. In 3rd if I floored it at low speed i could feel it start to slip. Maybe it’s the extra torque we picked up with the 237? We’ll see. 

Tonight I headed out for brief trip to the carwash. Then pick up a little beer for Sunday’s practice with my band buddies.  Gas was $1.959/L. About $6.16/US gallon in US funds. 

She’s running good. The tranny appears to be all sealed up well. The modern output shaft seal I got on e-bay did the trick. A little sealant on the main and countershaft ends before reassembly dried those up. Getting better every day. 

Odometer 99,626 miles



Edited by keithb7
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  • keithb7 changed the title to The Great ‘38 Thread of '22

Today was a nice warm spring day. We  headed out in our Plymouth with our grand-dog for a romp.  

We stopped at a coffee shop briefly. When we went to order, the cashier, a young immigrant from India said in a heavy accent, “Oh, so you’re the one with the premium car. I love! It’s premium! I love it!”. I laughed and replied, “Yes that’s my car. I’m not sure its premium, but yes we do like it too”.





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  • 2 weeks later...

This evening out for bit of a rip. Headed to get a thermostat housing gasket for my other ‘38. Heather was with me as she needed to run into Home Depot for a few things. 

I started up the fresh engine. Heather commented “So you don’t use your key to start it? You did something with your foot?”
I laughed. I’ve owned the car for 4 years. She’s been with me countless times. She’d never noticed before.  She said “Nobody could ever steal this car.  They’d have no idea how to start it”.   “Nor shift gears” I replied. 

Headed off to grab a coffee next. Park and enjoy the view. 


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Today my ‘38 Chrysler was on the agenda. The thermostat housing and by-pass parts were reassembled. All new hoses & gaskets. Housing surface was milled 0.025”. The cylinder head mating deck pitting got a smidge of JB Weld, a file and then sanded. Seems all good now.  Then she got an oil change and filter. The stock fuel/vacuum pump rebuilt and installed. If you recall when I bought this car is had an incorrect pump and a fuel pressure regulator. The   Axles greased.  I’ll buy annual insurance this afternoon then its ready for driving season!


I welcome anyone with any ‘38 Mopar to contribute to my thread.  Let’s see all those ‘38’s!  -Keith





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  • 4 weeks later...

Order Take out. Drive to the park by the river. Beautiful warm spring evening. Enjoy our meal in the Plymouth.  Take in the view and the breeze.  At 99,793 miles tonight. 

Reason 153 to own an old Mopar!


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Tons of positive feedback from the general public while out for a cruise last evening in my Plymouth. Interest from all ages. Again, I am pleasantly reminded how much the 20-something crowd reacts to the car. I am trying to understand why the loudest, and largest number of drive-by approvals seem to come from that age group. My '38 Plymouth has a different vibe going on. The paint is peeling off the doors. The side runners, the original rubber coating is worn away in chunks. There's a hole in the front fender. General wear and tear for an old car. I don't wash it nearly enough. I've never waxed it for fear of more paint falling off. I am not picky about its presentation. Yet a lot of people seem to approve it as is. I am left thinking, its approachable? Maybe it looks easy to own? It's been nursed along for 84 years, never restored. I guess folks just appreciate that about it. I don't know. It'll never win a best of show. It'l never play in the big boys club of restored cars. Yet it seems to win the the hearts and adoration of many, not just the owner's.


You've all been aware of the work I have done to this car to built a solid, reliable daily driver.  Indeed it is very reliable now. Any time I have to leave the house for any excuse, I choose my '38 Plymouth. From Mar to Nov, it sees regular use. I maybe went farther than I needed to when I pulled the engine in 2020 and completely rebuilt it. Sure it had some issues to be addressed. An in-frame rebuild probably could have nursed it along for many more years. Yet there is something extremely satisfying about the whole experience. So very smug feeling when you drive down that long hill and there is no oil seen when you accelerate away at the bottom. When you push the throttle down at 10 mph and that new found torque pulls the car along briskly. Smooth, quiet, and confidently. I guessed there must have been a couple 100 things that needed to be addressed when I acquired this old Plymouth. It turned out to be more like 1,000.


No, it's not done. It's a continuous work in progress. It would be an odd feeling if it were all done. What would I do in the garage every weekend? Lol. I guess I can state that I am extremely satisfied with the results so far with this car. From the front nose cone to the exhaust tip, anything I've touched I've enjoyed every minute.


This morning as I open the garage door, I have decided to devote time to my Chrysler. A little neglected so far this spring. Today is her day. 



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I also have noticed this with the 20 something crowd Keith. I don't know if it is because older people are more reserved and don't share their emotion as easily as someone younger. When I drive my 50 Dodge around the 20 something crowd is the ones that mostly honk or roll down a window to say something. When we are at a car show they are the ones that want their picture taken with the car. Interesting for sure, promising for the future of this hobby.

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Out for errands today. A couple fine folks approached to discuss my Plymouth. 

One fellow followed me until I parked. He was quite interested in learning where I bought the car and how long I’d owned it. His Dad had one just like mine he said. The car was sold when his Dad passed.  Mine was not it. He was happy to see it though. 

Another fellow at Costco parking lot chased me down. “What make is it?” as many folks ask.  I must admit they certainly didn’t splash big emblems on these old Mopars. Just the little ship on the trunk. The little ship on top the rad nose cone. He was pretty fascinated with all the mechanical repairs I’d done. Big grins. I told him the best part about the car was all the strangers it attracts. I get to meet and chat with them about my hobby. He liked that comment. 

99,882 miles. 



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Marg attracted some friendly strangers tonight. They confidently called my car a “Mayflower” a couple of times during our discussion. Due to the ship logo I assume. Was that a thing back in the day? Did a lot of folks refer to these as Mayflower models?


One fellow assumed I was running upgraded 12V. That I’d dropped in a V8. He looked at the tires and said “Running glass plys hey.”  

“Nope. Bias tires. Original size too. As she would have been new. Original 6V. Works great. No complaints”,  I replied. I opened the split hood…Silence. I waited for him to speak first. “Very nice” he replied. “Clean and tight.” He praised my efforts to care for this car. “Take care of it” he said. 

He progressed around all 4 corners. Inspecting. Commenting on the “good old Detroit iron”. We talked about the maintenance and repairs I had done to make my Plymouth reliable and road worthy. As we parted, he seemed satisfied. Content with story that unfolded. I think we got a passing grade. 

Here we are, trying to play nice with modern contraptions. 

99,903 miles. 




Edited by keithb7
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I love this car, Keith! I'd guess that kids in their 20s almost never see anything this old riding around. I'm 50, and it wasn't too unusual to see 30s cars still in use when I was a kid. Plus, your '38 looks so friendly and approachable, like a big Irish Setter. Today's cars look so irritated and angry...that red jeep parked in back of you looks like it has a perpetual sinus headache.

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5 hours ago, Doug&Deb said:

Just curious Keith. What attracted you to me 38 model year? I had a 38 Plymouth like yours in the late 70’s and it was a great car. 


3 Things I point out to people, that I quite like about the car:


1. Split engine hood

2. Split Rear Window

3. Suicide rear doors


The period design. Bolt on round fenders. Cab shape, narrower front seat. Torpedo head lights. Foot starter.

The mostly stock condition of the systems & components. 6V + ground. Vacuum wipers. Generator. 3 speed manual. Stock brakes.

The 2nd half of the 30's was a great era in my opinion. I've got all the features I want in a car. Cab heater, synchros, full pressure engine oil system. Radio.I can hit 55-60 mph on the hi-ways. Decent brakes and lighting. 


It does not have all the stuff I don't want. Electric things all over. Power steering. A V8 . A/C. I like it's simplicity. It's quaint. Unique. Powerful enough. Fun. Just right for me.


What do I miss? Electric wipers. Turn signals. If I had those 2 things it would be all I really need in a car.

I saw it for sale for a reasonable price. I liked the torpedo head lights. I could not say no.  '38 Mopars are the year for me. I also have my '38 Chrysler. It's a little more fancy and has OD. Right on the edge of big changes in car design.

Edited by keithb7
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Turn signals are an easy addition and I believe there’s a fuel pump that would help with the wiper performance. Just sayin’! I love daily driving my 52 Coronet. It slows me down and I’m always getting positive feedback from people.

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I could add turn signals. I have elected not to yet. I’ve not found front indicator lamps I can live with yet. Ones that look sorta period correct for my Plymouth. Will consider researching again. 


Its not the performance of the wiper action that is a problem. Its finding good, correct vacuum motor rebuild kits to rebuild them. Not too easy to get. I could send them to “the known specialists” to be reconditioned. I contacted a few. Replies are weary. Doubtful they could rebuild. “Low chance” I was told. Finding a good used wiper motor that works? Taking your chances on ebay used, and they want a gold nuggets in trade. Been throwing good money at other parts that weren’t right or as advertised. Getting gun shy.  Keeping my eyes and options open. 6V old volkswagon wiper motors may work. They need to sit up behind the head liner though. Another hurdle to consider. 

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