(first posted 10/22/2011) So probably the first thing to get out of the way is just what exactly a Plodge is. It is, like the name suggests, the combination of a Plymouth and a Dodge. These hybrids were the result of the unique Canadian market conditions (as well as a few export markets) of the time. Canadian protectionist import policies made it very expensive to import car production from the US so almost all low to medium priced makes had Canadian production.
Oddly enough any Plodges produced for other export markets were built in the US not Canada. Having Dodge and Plymouth both share the majority of mechanical components, sheet metal and often complete cars offered substantial cost savings in the small Canadian market. Thus both Dodge-Desoto and Chrysler-Plymouth dealers were able to offer a full range of vehicles. The Plodge name was never officially used but is informally used by enthusiasts to identify their Canadian mutts.
Generally but not always, a Plodge was more Plymouth than Dodge but used Dodge grilles, tail lights, trim and often Dodge interiors. Plymouth made a better starting point than Dodge as it was a smaller, cheaper car which Canadian buyers generally favored. It should be noted that at the top of the Dodge range was a American Dodge based car which was generally offered in the 30s and 40s but still built in Canada. Uptake was usually in the less than ten percent range with the vast majority being Plodges.
Our subject is a Canadian built 1949 Dodge Special De Luxe. This one is a Dodge D25, which would be an early 1949 that uses the 1946-1948 Plymouth P15 body shell. In Canada, the company built the older style cars at the same time as the new 1949 style cars for three months. Obviously differences between the US and Canadian Dodge are the front fenders ending at the door and less flat front end on the Canadian one. Less obvious is that the US one rides on a slightly longer wheelbase. The rear end is almost all Plymouth with exception of Dodge badge.
Dodge and Plymouths of this era aren’t known for being beautiful or having high performance but they are known for rugged reliability and high quality construction. A lot of this reputation comes from the use of a flat head six cylinder engine. Already an old design by 1949 it was a low speed, torque rich engine which lead a relatively unstressed and long life.
Almost all the Chrysler vehicles of the era used a variant of this engine although the larger trucks used another, larger flat head six. The flat head six engine dates back to 1929 but lived to 1959 in cars and 1968 in trucks. That didn’t end its life as it was used as late as 1972 as an industrial engine. The Plodges of this era used the slightly smaller Plymouth 3.6 liter version with 95hp. And the one illustrated above has been modified, and undoubtedly makes quite a bit more power than that.
Back in 1948 (1949 figures are for the newer style) a Special De Luxe two door sedan it would have cost $1,491 and weighed 3,135lbs. This Special De Luxe looked to be a very nicely preserved example or possibly an older restoration. A few bits of peeling paint and some blankets on the seats but overall in very nice condition. Something you could have pride in but also have no fear in using at the same time. Being quite robust and simple cars these would make an ideal vintage car to own.
Love that Plodge coupe, and it’s in just the perfect color, too!
It is on my bucket list to own a 46-48 Mopar sedan, it doesn’t really matter which. Although i kind of favor the DeSoto, one of these would suit me just fine.
I wonder if the Plodge used the Fluid Drive/3 speed of the Dodge or the straight 3 speed of the Plymouth?
I once drove a friend’s 51 Dodge Meadowbrook with the flathead 6 and a Fluid Drive 3 speed. Just put it in second and drive all day long in town, just stay off the faster streets.
If you want a rare one of these, look for a 2-door sedan. While Ford and Chevy both made huge numbers of both 2-doors and 4-doors, every Mopar make in that era sold way, way more 4-doors than anything else, and the 2-door sedans are about as rare as either of the coupe styles.
In the mid-70’s someone abandoned a 1948 Dodge 2-door sedan on some property of ours. I put in a battery, hot-wired it, and it started right up, to reveal a nasty-sounding knock. I towed it to Tacoma and sold it to my gas station guy or traded it for some work, can’t even remember now which. At any rate, the car was in quite nice original shape with no body rust, nice woodgrain inside, and shiny black paint; just needed a motor. In the process of laying hands on a title I found out that the last registered owner, a nice church lady, had sold it to her daughter’s ex-boyfriend.
The outlying former British colonies got their US cars from Canada to avoid spending US dollars so these Plodges are quite normal some were fitted with the Kew engine a smaller bore flathead designed for the English tax system. Nice car though any Chrysler coupe is rare over here.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm I’m thinking Slant-6+Torqueflite upgrade = win. At least in an “upgrade the mechanicals but stay in the spirit of the original” sort of way.
Gag. That’s called a street rod, and there’s way too many of them already. I still wish we could go back to the time before “American Graffiti” came out and most people who fixed up an old car restored them to factory original specs, not modern/vintage hybrids. And back then, if you had a street rod, you didn’t get on the display field at the local antique auto show.
Hey at least I didn’t say: “Small Block Chevy wwwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”
Now you did!
Now just stay off Syke’s lawn!
Oh, please. A restored vintage vehicle with tasteful drivability upgrades is not automatically a “street rod”. Also, cars are not high art (whatever that is), they’re appliances.
The people who want to preserve them as they were originally and keep them off the road except for “special events” are just as annoying as people who install 22″ rims and replace the suspension with bouncy kits.
I’d much rather own a daily-drivable classic than a museum piece. Well, except maybe a 1930 Bentley Speed Six. I could tolerate one of those in museum condition. 🙂
I agree. Myself, I would love to do an old Willys wagon with a 4.0L/AW4 powertrain.
“It is on my bucket list to own a 46-48 Mopar sedan, it doesn’t really matter which. Although i kind of favor the DeSoto, one of these would suit me just fine.”
Today I sent my Dad an ebay listing of a ’48 T&C convertible. He said he’d rather have an all-steel NYer connie, “cheaper and I’ll be able to open the doors in the rain.” 🙂
I have never ridden in a car with a serene old-school straight-8. I guess that’s on my bucket list.
The 8s are so hard to find – new Yorker and that’s it. Windsors, DeSotos, and everything else got the 6, so I would take it.
I just googled a front view of a ’48 Dodge; looking at that makes the Plymouth front clip on the Plodges very obvious.
Duh, you already did that with the shot of the dark green coupe. Four lashes with a curb feeler…!
Looking closely at the grilles and parking lights, it looks to me as though none of them would interchange.
Indeed, a lovely example of an oldie and it looks good despite being a hybrid of Dodge and Plymouth.
Gotta agree, that blue is nice as well.
Always wondered if my 1936 Dodge was a Plodge, as we got genuine US Dodges and the Canadian Plodges here in New Zealand. Mine was a D2 model touring sedan, no idea what the engine size was, but it was the original one. My grandfather bought the car in 1950, and put it in storage in 1960; I bought it from his estate in 1994, not running and needing extensive restoration, and sold it in 1999 (kicking myself repeatedly as I type this) for a deposit on my house. It now lives 15km up the road from me. What made me wonder what mine was, was the body having loads of US factory options (twin side mounts, twin tail-lights, overriders, factory radio aerial, factory glass wind deflectors on the front doors), but the interior being extremely plain – lacking the extra dash trim/finishing of other 36s I’ve seen. Maybe a Plodge it was. And if I win a lottery I’m buying it right back again…
Prewar cars were mostly US models it was post war that the currency controls were put in place restricting car imports from non commonwealth countries The Aussies had it worse if they didnt assemble it they didnt get it. NZ still got most models and no small Ford V8s all ours had Mercury engines and our Chevs were V8s from 55.
The Canadian tariff was about 50%. In the summer of 63, while hitchiking in Alberta, I was picked up one afternoon by a guy in a new Thunderchicken. He said he paid $7600 for it. He kept it near 100 until we hit the mountains when he had to slow down. He drove all night with intermitant nips of a pint of whiskey. When he let me off the next morning he was much fresher than I was.
Back in 1975 a friend’s parents owned a 1949 Dodge for some reason. Had the fluid drive three-speed on the tree, that flat-head six, and absolutely NO suspension damping. The most fun we had with it, and it’s a wonder we didn’t kill ourselves doing this, but when doing about 30 mph, one could (and did) give the wheel a yank, left or right, then let go. The oscillations would get worse the more we let it go on. That thing had a prairie for a back seat, too. I was and still am 6 feet 3 inches tall, and I could sit back there with my legs crossed. It was just fun to ride in and drive, but I wouldn’t have wanted it for a daily driver, then or now. Bad ride!
I bought a Plodge for a winter beater once; 1965 Dodge Polara 440 (model, not motor size- mine had the 225 six). At the time I knew nothing of Plodges, but I did realize that it was very similar to the 1965 Plymouth Fury II my parents once owned. The first time I saw a US version of my car, I was mystified as to why it had a totally different dashboard and looked somewhat bigger. It took the advent of the internet for me to find out about our Canadian Alternate Car universe.
My parents had a ’49 Plymouth (the later model) and a ’51 Plymouth and yes, they were/are extremely reliable. Both of our Plymouths had manual transmissions, I learned how to drive on the ’49, but took my 1st drivers test in my sister’s ’54 Plymouth with it’s PowerFlite automatic transmission.
I always thought this model designation: Special Deluxe was kind of odd, but several makes of car used it or a similar name. I mean, to me, anything deluxe is automatically special….so Special Deluxe would be, special special, redundant.
Oddly, a Custom model was usually the cheapest/plainest model in a car’s line-up.
At least after reading this I know why these Dodge – Plymouth “hybrids” were produced.
This is a fine written and researched article on the “Canadian Car Universe” as Zipster said. Great details, and beautiful example!
Neat article. Just for grins, here is the Desoto version of the same Plymouth, known as the Diplomat. From what I understand, these were sold mainly in places like South America.
A friend’s 1947 DeSoto Diplomat at a car show in 2013. His father bought it new in Mexico City and it’s been in the family ever since….
Neat article on a very nice old coupe.
Nice car ! .
I think it’s beautiful and *very* stylish and having driven and worked on these I know they’re sturdy and well built and handle and ride well in their age/class group .
Last night I was taking SWMBO to dinner and passed a clean 1951 Plymouth four door sedan , I was excited , she said ‘ meh ‘ .
Love the article. Well researched. I just recently purchased my 48 Plodge (Dodge D25).
Love it… always get questions and looks wherever she goes. Solid sturdy original car.
Dang that’s pretty ! .
That beautiful Flathead Plymouth 6 is a 235 CID (230″ plus .060″) used to belong to Pete Anderson and was in his 50 Deluxe Sedan. Pete used an old Edmunds 2 x 1 barrel water heated high rise intake with adapters to mount a progressive 2-barrel on each spot. He added Langston Cast Headers, an EDGY Flathead a reground camshaft and a Langston modified HEI. He shifted it through Column shifted 3-speed, splitting 2nd and 3rd with a R-10 Overdrive. The dual exhausts dumped ou the rear after passing through Smitthy Mufflers.
IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLATHEAD I’VE EVER SEEN.
Pete sold the car about 5 years ago (replacing it with a Willys 4WD Wagon with a Continental Flathead 6) and shut down his website about the car. But the “Blue Skies Racing – Flathead Equipped” memory keeps calling out to me to build a 40’s or 50’s Dodge Pickup.