Before his first birthday, Jim Benjaminson was photographed standing
on the front fender of his Dad's 1934 Plymouth coupe--on his third
birthday, he was photographed standing in front of his Dad's 1940
Plymouth. Although the original 1934 is long gone, Jim still has that
same 1940 Plymouth -- and a few other Plymouths, including two 1934s,
(along with several Brand X cars) to keep the '40 company.
Although his Dad was service manager for a Chevrolet-Pontiac agency
(there are several of the "other P cars" in the collection), Jim's first
love has remained those early Plymouths. "I've always been around
things mechanical"--either at the dealership where Dad worked, around
his uncle's scrap yard or at his other uncle's farm, there was always
something fascinating about machinery, be it old or new.
Like most gearheads, Jim was the one who talked about cars in
school, who drew cars when he should have been studying and snuck his
car magazines into study hall inside his books. But it was old cars
that really got him into the hobby at an early age, as he began
collecting cars in the early 1960s. A common statement is "I can kick
myself for not buying (insert any type or year of car here) when I
could have bought it for little or nothing."
But it was the lack of information available back then that led him
to researching the history of Plymouth and started him on his writing
career which now includes three books on the history of Plymouth and
DeSoto--and with more in the works. Jim joined the Plymouth 4 & 6 Cylinder Owners Club back in 1967. Since that time, he's held the position of membership
secretary for the club since 1974, served 7 years as the editor of the
Plymouth Bulletin magazine and currently holds the dual positions of
membership secretary and treasurer.
During his years in the hobby, researching various events Jim has
met with or talked on the phone with "famous" people of the hobby, such
as Sullivan Richardson, Arnold Whitaker and Kenneth Van Hee of the
Richardson Pan American Highway Expedition (Detroit to Cape Horn in a
'41 Plymouth), Ole Fahlin of the Fahlin-Swanson Plymouth powered airplane, Channing Powell of the Powell Brothers who built their Sport Wagons on revamped '41 Plymouth chassis, Irma Darre Brandt, the first
Norwegian female driver to compete in the Monte Carlo Rally, Wally
Parks of NHRA fame and driver of "Suddenly", the 1957 Plymouth
Bonneville speed record car and George Stecher, Chrysler turbine car engineer and driver of the car in race scenes for the movie "The Lively Set".
Though Jim was too modest to say anything, he has written several books, including the Illustrated Plymouth & DeSoto Buyers Guide, Plymouth Commercial Vehicles: Photo Archive, and Plymouth 1946-1959, which is reprinted at Allpar.
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