1933 Plymouth PD rumble seat Coupe

Built in Detroit between September 6th-9th 1933, on the dock 12th ready for shipment to South Africa for a Johannesburg order, the early photos I have show it with 1934 artillery wheels. Being ordered in SA it’s right hand drive. Fast forward to 1970 a car enthusiast found it along the roadside while touring the area on honeymoon, fortunately his new wife was also into cars. These first photos were taken when found, apart from the first which was given to to him by the seller.

The South African that found it still has the 1948 Pontiac doing the tow from Bloemfontein to Durban, notice the registration OB 106 Orange County, Bloemfontein 106, also the tires were used as a towbar to move the car from it’s resting place to a safety until collected. The propshaft had been removed due to a thrown tooth in the gearbox. The gentleman that found it in 1970 was Ralph Barnes a member of Veteran Car Club of South Africa.

Letter from Ralph, his recollections of the history while in his ownership

Hi Tom                                                                                             5 August 2013

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 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. The last piece of this history is the gentleman I purchased it rom was Pat Gill better known for his involvement in Matchless Motorcycles (matchlesspat)

Post from January 2013:-

 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?

Yes this is the PD some 3″ longer in the front end with a 112 wheelbase? , I have found out today that the mascot is also included. This is too good to chop although each to their own. My thoughts are the same as your regarding its worth to me personally apart from I think it may cost a little more to restore in the UK. I am able to cope with the mechanics and tin work but paint over here is pricey, 2k minimum for a bare metal respray, but time will tell at the wkend, the seller knows where to go so I can talk that one thru.

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? Took two and a half yrs to secure a pair of sidemount covers that need work. In the next few days I shall have the car back in N Devon, then I can check out all the No. and we will see where that takes us. The only No. I have at present is of 5 digits which I think may be the frame No. but that’s a guess on my part. As said before this car was exported to South Africa where it spent its life until 2002 when it was imported to England and it has never been UK registered. I am lead to believe this could be the only known 33 PD of this body style in the UK, there is another but its a rag top. As I said the car will be with me Sunday next so lets wait and see. Turns out that its a Detroit built car, don’t know if it was exported in kit form but now have the details to apply for a copy of the build card.

March 2013:- Still trying to find what I can and have now received my copy of the Build Card. It tells me that the car was built for export to Johannesburg SA Sept. 33 the trim was leather 401 and paint was 545, can one of you wizards give me info of what those codes actually mean.

This is another PD without sidemounts

Post from December 2017 :- Can’t wait now to get my RHD PD RS looking like the one above, has been up on the 2 post for possibly 6 months now, one of the problems working in a tardis, need more space or less cars but there’s nothing I want to sell on. there is another unit coming up for rent but until I see it there’s no decision to make.

Let the work begin

Work in earnest started October 2013 after being made redundant at 66 yrs old had intended to work until I was 70 but decided to hang my tools up and play restoring my 1st Plymouth. The only rust section was in the rear panels where rain had puddled into the trunk, real big problem with Rumble Seat cars of the early 30’s. Picture time :-

Next I worked on to the Toe Board, this is the slopping panel in front of the pedals between the Floor and the Firewall. The car came with a homemade Ply piece but rom the factory it would have been steel. Managed to get a photo of a left hand with dimensions added and basically reversed what was symmetrical for my Rhd model. Used 1.2mm Zintec which is electro zinc plated steel as there was no weldin to do, only forming. Photo 1 is the Ply Toe Board that was not correct.

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