Built on Detroit between September 6th – 9th 1933 for a Johannesburg order which is why this is a rare right hand drive model, this car came with all the bling up front, the Rad shell is chrome all-over, with large chrome headlights and matching twin trumpet horns. History is everything with these old cars and from what I have found out I know virtually everything about this one.
1933/34, Purchased by the grandparents of Attie Steyn of Bloemfontein, I am of the opinion that it may not have been sold until 1934 as the early photos show it sitting on steel artillery wheels which were first available for the 1934 PE model, obviously stronger than the wire spoke wheels and perhaps more suitable for the rough country roads of South Africa.
May 1970. Ralph Barnes’s letter below explains his seven year ownership, how he came to find it and saved from further deuteriation.
1978 Ralph sold the car to Bert Seabrook of Durban (Plymouth Owners Club has Bert’s ownership on record), no idea how long he owned but he sold it to Dave Murray of Westville a suburb of Durban.
2002 Dave Murray sold the car to Pat Gill MatchlessPat a collector of Matchless Motorcycles and other vehicles of a rare nature.
2013, I purchased from Pat and this is what we are here for.
Hi Tom 5 August 2013 Letter form Ralph in answer to a request to the editor of Classic and Performance Car Africa for information on my recent acquisition.
I did my compulsory military training in 1965 in Bloemfontein. A fellow trainee’s parents lived on a small farm just outside of Bloemfontein and they were extremely good to us trainees, often taking a group of us to their farm at the weekend. I became good friends with them and , in May 1970, went back to visit them with my wife, Lynette, whom I had married in March 1970. (We lived in Durban) On the road out to their farm I noticed the Plymouth standing in the yard of a smallholding. I enquired if it was for sale, concluded a deal and said I would be back to fetch it. Then I worried if it would still be there when we went back for it so asked our friends if I could bring it to their farm until I could organise a trailer to get it back to Durban. Our resourceful farmer friend suggested towing it with an old tyre which you can see still tied to the bumper in one photo because it had no brakes and the gearbox. I inflated the tyres with a handpump (I had lots of energy in those days) and, miraculously, they held air, and proceeded to tow it very slowly the couple of miles to our friend’s farm. Needless to say, everyone thinks you are crazy when you “rescue” an old car like that.
A week or two later, after borrowing a trailer, we went back with my 1948 Pontiac and collected it. Incidentally, Durban to Bloemfontein is about 500 miles. Once home I stored it in a garage near where we lived. Time went by, other projects took priority and after storing it for about 8 years I sold it to Bert Seabrook who did start a restoration. I met him in a motor spares shop a year or two later and he was working on the braking system. More than twenty years went by, we had moved to Westville, (a suburb of Durban), I had joined the Veteran Car Club and became friendly with a chap in the neighbourhood who owned a 1928 Dodge DA roadster. We came to hear of a 1929 Dodge owned by a Dave Murray, also in Westville, so arranged to go and see it, and there, sitting alongside it in Dave’s garage, was a ’33 Plymouth Coupe that looked rather familiar………..the rest of the story you know.
The guy in Bloemfontein that I bought the Plymouth from was Attie Steyn (pronounced Utty Stain) and the car had belonged to his grandparents. The one photograph is of them with the car.
13th January 2013. My post on AACA.
Hi gents, I am about to view the above that is basically a rolling chassis with a running engine and gearbox, the prop has been removed to ease movement. My understanding is that it comes with a full set of parts with the exception of:- missing sidemount covers, door cards, wood is there on the headlining but no fabric or vinyl, glass is missing and it requires a 10″ steel plate welding under the rumble seat. Apart from a few dents or dings the body is sound as are the fenders and hood.
Almost all of its life it was based in South Africa and not shipped to the UK until 2002 where it has been dry stored for the last 10 yrs.
Here’s the difficult part, I know nothing of the Plymouth brand or what should be there and is not, bit of a no brainer I know, but with pension funds the way they are now, could this be a worthwhile project for the future or just another money pit?
14th January 2013
I will have photos next wkend 19/20th and as far as I know the glass is the only major parts that is not there, things like the twin horns, door furniture, window winder especially the rear window mechanism are all there, radiator core and chrome shell which is good, headlights with glass and mountings, seats have been retrimmed, full instrument panel, loom rewired. Not sure if the rad cap is there or not and the rear lights are thought to be wrong but may have been standard in the export pack sent to SA. back in 1933.
My intention would be to restore to a good standard and run for 10yrs or so then depending on how it stands up to the British climate either pass down thru the family or sell on.
These are all I have to go on at present.
22nd January 2013
Managed to strike a deal on Saturday with the owner, I paid more than I wanted and he got less, its the part of buying and selling I most dislike. The metal is in incredible condition apart from the last section in the trunk floor, quite a straight forward piece to make.
The floor is another thing, its steel to the back of the front bench, under the bench is ply with an inspection hole to access the battery, the toe boards are wood and we have a hole thru to the dirt in front of the bench, will post pics after I collect it.
Could do with some info on the sidemount tin and has anybody got the metalwork to secure the covers?