The Plymouth Pickup Truck
I really don't remember when I first heard about it, but I do remember the source - Sherwood Kahlenberg of the WPC Club. Sherwood and I were talking on the phone one day many years ago. He mentioned that he had some photos of a 1934 Plymouth pickup. I distinctly remember my reaction, "Sherwood, they never made such a thing!" Now, when I said, "they," I was referring to the Plymouth Division of the Chrysler Corporation. But I've long since learned not to make too many hasty remarks about ANYthing in the automotive world. Sherwood assured me that he indeed had photographs of the pickup and that he would send them to me.
As things go, the photos took some time in arriving. Many years, in fact! And the story gets even stranger. I ran into Sherwood at the 1987 Chrysler Long Lead Preview in June, 1986 at the Chelsea Proving Grounds. When I reminded him of his promise to send those 1934 Plymouth pickup photos, he again assured me that he would send them right away. And this time it wasn't long before they arrived at my house.
About the same time I got a letter from Don Bunn containing a photocopy of a letter and photograph as they had appeared in the September, 1986 issue of Street Rodder magazine. Here was a photo of a '34 Plymouth pickup, along with the owner's name and address! So I wrote to the fellow, asking for more information on the pickup. This pickup was in Texas. The first one I had heard of had been in California, and the California truck had been in a fire which had done considerable damage to it.
When I told the Texas owner of the details about the California truck, sending him my photographs, I came to discover, upon his reply, that the "two" trucks were actually one and the same vehicle! How the pickup had made its way to Texas is unclear, but it had apparently passed through the hands of several owners.
Through the courtesy of Randy Johnson of Austin, Texas, the truck's current owner, clearer pictures of the pickup have been obtained. These photos show that the truck box and rear fenders are clearly 1937-38 units, meaning the truck was not a factory built. The attention to detail in its construction is amazing. The rear gravel pan seems to be from a 1940 Plymouth, but as to the origin of the cab, that remains a mystery.
Dash details have not been provided, so I cannot identify it as either a Dodge unit or a cut-down Plymouth sedan or coupe body. As is the case with so many of these vehicles, all the original identifying numbers are missing, including the serial and body numbers. The engine is missing as well. It is obvious that the chassis is of the Deluxe PE series, but that is about all that is "definate" about this vehicle.
The pickup is in need of a total restoration, and it is quite likely that, when completed, it will emerge in street rod form. Regardless, it will still be a highly unusual 1934 Plymouth, making one wonder about how many trucks Plymouth could have sold had they offered a factory-built version of it in 1934. No doubt there was some work being done on just such a project in 1934, given the fact that Plymouth entered the light- duty truck market in 1937 and that there has to be a three- year "lead-in" time for any new vehicle.
I have heard stories of the factory building such "specials" for well-heeled dealers. But these stories have never been substantiated. And, to add a little fel to the fire, records obtained from the trade paper Automotive News indicate that 123 Plymouth trucks were registered nationwide in 1934. Now, if they never made any, how could 123 Plymouth trucks be registered in 1934??