Plymouth is a subsidy of the Chrysler Corporation formed in 1929 as a lower-end vehicle. During the depression of the 1930s, Plymouth’s sales kept the Chrysler Corporation intact and by 1931 it rose to third in the automobile industry.
By the mid-1930s, Plymouth began to be exported to other countries around the world such as, Sweden, Denmark, UK and Australia. In 1939, 417,528 Plymouths were produced and 5,967 of them were convertible coupes with a rumble seat. It was advertised as the first mass-produced convertible with a folding power top.
Along with Chevrolet and Ford, Plymouth was one of the top three selling cars in America for the majority of its life. Plymouths were affordable, durable and were more advanced in styling than Ford or Chevrolet. In 1957, 726,009 Plymouths were produced which was about 200,000 more than the previous year.
However, poor quality material was used and with inadequate corrosion protection, it damaged Chrysler’s reputation. Even then during the early 1960s, enough Plymouths were sold to be profitable. With the addition of the Valiant in 1961, sales began to increase, but in 1962 under the assumption that Chevrolet was going to downsize their line, Chrysler produced smaller vehicles and sales once again began to drop. In 1963, Plymouth produced a line of larger vehicles and a restyling in 1964.
In 1965, Plymouth produced their largest vehicles ever and all were named the Fury. Fury I was the basic model, Fury II was a mid-range model, the deluxe model was the Fury III and the Sport Fury was the top of the line with bucket seats and a V-8.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Plymouth began producing “muscle cars” with either a Super Command 440 or a Hemi 426 V-8 engine. Late 1970s into the early 1980s saw a fall in sales and in attempt to regain sales, Plymouth produced compact front-wheel-drive Horizons. They sold well until 1987. While other manufacturers downsized their models, Plymouth’s attempt to make the Fury line smaller failed and the in 1981 dropped the Fury altogether from its line.
Plymouth’s division was disbanded in the 1980s and future models were renamed Dodges. By the late 1990s there were only four models sold with the Plymouth name, Voyager and Gran Voyager minivan, Breeze, Neon and Prowler.
After 1990, sales continued to falter with rarely exceeding 200,000 vehicles per year and Daimler-Chrysler announced they would drop the Plymouth after the 2001 limited run of models.
By 2001, Neon was the only model sold under the Plymouth name. Voyagers were now Caravans, the Breeze was now a Dodge Stratus and the Prowler was now a Chrysler PT Cruiser. After 2001 model year, the Neon became a Dodge and Plymouth was discontinued for good.
Image Caption: 1949 Plymouth. Credit: Wikited/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)