1939 Plymouth coupe

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In the late 1920s and 1930s, Chrysler Corporation successfully marketed Plymouth as a low-priced rival to Ford and Chevrolet. Strong sales of the new make constituted a bright spot in the automotive industry during the Depression. Plymouth stood at number three in production volume by 1931, and output reached a half million cars per year five years later. Several other auto manufacturers had introduced "companion" makes in the 1920s, but only Plymouth achieved high volume and found a lasting place in the market.
The streamlined styling of the 1939 Plymouth is among the best examples of art deco automotive form and ornamentation developed in the 1930s. The P-8 Deluxe Coupe was among the first cars that featured a gearshift lever on the steering column instead of its traditional location on the floor.
The coupe body became popular in the late 1920s, when more people were shopping for closed cars at low prices. Coupes were popular among traveling salesmen, young people, single women, and others who needed room for only one or two people. Open runabouts and roadsters preceded coupes and evolved into sporty convertibles. The word "coupe" is French for "cut," meaning a standard vehicle cut in size. It was first applied to downsized horse-drawn carriages that held one or two passengers.
Chrysler Corporation
Plymouth Motor Corporation (Division of Chrysler Corporation)
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
glass (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 68 in x 74 in x 195 in; 172.72 cm x 187.96 cm x 495.3 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Richie Clyne
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
America on the Move
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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