QOTD: What Car Is This ?

Some time ago, while I’ve been looking through a local classified advertisement website, an ad caught my eye immediately. The seller stated the car to be an Opel “built before 1960s”, but to me it seemed quite obvious – even with whatever little information I could extract from the ad – that actually a large prewar American car was for sale, and for a relatively reasonable price, considering the condition of the parts shown on the photos.

By that time, I’d been in a passive search for an affordable American classic car for quite some time, with a specific interest for something built before WWII, so it was only natural that the ad sparked my interest. Unfortunately, I was unable to properly contact the seller at the time, and later the course of events completely distracted me from this issue.

Recently, the same car resurfaced on the same website (strangely enough in “Off-road vehicles / SUVs” category, again as an Opel – it seems that the people who are selling it have no idea what it really is; which is not surprising considering that the seller specifically states that it lacks the serial number tag) – but with a new seller, new photos and a new price, which I no longer consider reasonable, so I’m not interested in purchasing it anymore (update: the second ad was rejected by the website’s moderators, no reasons specified).

However, I am nevertheless interested in identifying it, which I found myself shamefully at a loss to implement, even with all the help from Mr. Google. As you can see for yourselves, the car has been more than a little “Cubanized”, but I have no doubt that a person with an in-depth knowledge of American prewar car building – which I regrettably lack – will find that an easy task.

Having only the photos from the first ad to look at, I was almost sure that it was a GM product from the early 1940s, most likely a Pontiac. It was difficult to judge anyway, because only the windshield and part of the hood were clearly visible on those photos.

However, a closer look revealed that many small details just don’t fit this theory, and the photos from the latter ad debunked it completely. E.g., the shape of the hood is wrong for a Pontiac, and the hood side vents, clustered into three groups, while superficially similar to that of the ’40 Pontiac, still seem to be different. Four small horizontal slots right below the center of the hood also don’t seem to be present on any Pontiac model I could find a picture of.

The rear-end shape says “Chrysler product” to me, however the car overall does not fit any Plymouth or Dodge model from this era I recall. Knowing Chrysler’s history, probably that’s some relatively obscure export model built for Europe ? Just a theory…

Headlight and taillight seem to be not original, the taillights obviously coming from a late-1950s Moskvitch. The strange assortment of different wheel disks suggests that the car’s chassis also could be modified. Rear wheels arguably seem to still have the original hubcaps, but the design of the hubcap is not too specific to be used for identification.