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The Plymouth Story

(A story about Walter P. Chrysler and the Companies that were involved in the start of Plymouth Cars)

By Scott Whiteman

Index & Hyperlinks – click a title to go direct to that section of the text.

Part 1. 1900 to 1928: W.P. Chrysler and the Chrysler Corporation Beginning
The Walter P. Chrysler story and all the related companies which affected or eventually made up the Chrysler Corporation; Buick, Oldsmobile, Maxwell, Willy-Overland, Hudson and Nash.

Part 2. 1929 to 1936: New Models, Mergers and Innovations
Willys, Maxwell and then Chrysler Corporation, new models Plymouth, DeSoto, Dodge & Fargo.

Part 3. 1937 to 1949: Mass Production, Product Improvements, then WWII
The beginning of Mass Production, and new product improvements and innovations, material shortages and then came World War 2 with no production or improvement for over 7 years.

Part 4. 1950 to 1962: New Body Styles, Construction, Engines & Transmissions
New body styling & Unitized body construction, the Forward Look designs, V8 and Slant-6 engines, the Automatic Transmissions, and the end of the line for DeSoto.

Part 5. 1963 to 1976: Second Generation of Modernization and New ModelsImproved body styling, better quality, reliability and structure with Unitized body construction, many new models released and some deleted.

Part 6. 1977 to 2001: 21st Century Designs with more New and Deleted Models
Lee Iacocca joins Chrysler, Government bailout, introduction of the Mini-Van, K-Cars, Prowler, PT Cruiser, then the end of Plymouth.

Part 7. Engines: The history of Chrysler and Plymouth Engines
The Flathead Engines: 4, 6 & 8 cylinders.  The OHV Inline Engines: 4, 6, Slant-6.  The “V” Engines: V-6, V-8, V-10, AMC, A, LA, Magnum, Powertech, B, RB, Hemi- Gen. I, Gen. II & Gen. II.

Part 8. Transmissions: The history of Chrysler and Plymouth Transmissions
Standard 3-speed, 3-speed with overdrive and 4-speed manual.  2-speed semi-automatic, 3-speed with Fluid Drive, CVT, and 6-7-9 speed automatics.

Part 9. Plymouth Models and Plymouth Production from 1928 to 2001
A list of all Plymouth models and a list of both Plymouth and other major manufactures production quantities.

Part 10.Decoding: Understanding Serial Numbers, VIN Numbers & Fender Tags
Reading and Decoding the manufacturing Identification tags or plates.  Started with simple serial tags placed on each car built, then included body and engine information, and then a full blown description of where, when, how, and all the parts included in a particular vehicle, including interior and exterior paints and fabrics.

Part 11. References: Authors, Websites and Book References
A list of Authors, Websites, Books, and other document used to generate the Plymouth Story.

Please note that is document is for Reference Only.  I have strived to make it as accurate as possible and have documentation to back up all the information listed, however there can still be errors on my part or with the reference data used.  So, if I get additional or new data that is needed to correct or update this document I will immediately make any change needed.

Part 1-A: 1900 to 1928-   W.P. Chrysler and the Chrysler Corporation Beginning

Preface:  During my research on Plymouth Cars I found a few contradictory bits of information listed by various websites, people and historical documents, so the following information is as accurate as I can make it at this point.  As time goes on and when I get new or updated information I will update this document accordingly.  There is also an excellent source on the Plymouth history titled the “Illustrated Plymouth & DeSoto Buyer’s Guide”, it was written by Jim Benjaminson, who is a senior member of the National Plymouth Owners Club.  That document has very detailed description on all the models, their designs, the interiors and the engines used in Plymouth and DeSoto’s from 1928 through 1974.   However, I wanted to provide the readers with a little different point of view, such as how did Chrysler get started, what were Chrysler Corp. models, their production quantities over the years, a complete list of all motors used in each model, and what VIN and Body Tag/ Serial Number are and how to decode them.

The Plymouth Story:  To better understand the Plymouth Story it is important to understand it’s origin and how Walter Pl Chrysler came to start the Chrysler Corporation.  Between 1900 and 1911 W.P. Chrysler (April 02, 1875 to August 18 1940 – age 65) worked in the Railroad industry as a Roundhouse Mechanic, Valve-Setter, Machinist, Master Mechanic, Foreman, Superintendent, and eventually the Works Manager at the American Locomotive Company in Pittsburg, PA.

  During this same time period in 1904 the Maxwell-Briscoe Company was formed by Jonathan Maxwell (who had worked with Ransom Olds) and Benjamin Briscoe, and in 1907 they constructed what was then the largest automobile manufacturing facility in the world.  The Maxwell-Briscoe company would eventually become the starting point for the Chrysler Corporation and the Large manufacturing facility would continue to operate under the Maxwell and then Chrysler name until 2004.

  Then in 1911 W.P. Chrysler was offered the Plant Manager’s position at the Buick manufacturing facility in Flint Michigan by Charles Nash, who was at that time the President of Buick, and Chrysler accepted that position.  Then in 1916 William Durant, who in 1908 founded the General Motors, repurchased G.M. back from the Bank Stockholders.   Hearing that news Walter Chrysler immediately submitted his resignation, because he knew Durant’s history of being very flamboyant and not a very good businessman.  However, before Chrysler had even moved out of his office Durant came to the Buick facility from New York and asked Chrysler to stay on, because he knew of Chrysler’s history of running the Buick facility very efficiently.  Durant offered Chrysler a salary of $10,000 per month and a $500,000 Stock Bonus at the end of each year if he would stay on for 3 years.  Walter Chrysler reviewed his options and then accepted the offer.

  In 1919, at the end of the 3-year contract at Buick, Chrysler resigned, and Durant purchased back all of Chrysler’s GM stock for $10 million.   A year later in 1920 another Bankers Group, that had controlling interest in the Willys-Overland Motor Company and knew of Chryslers reputation, asked Chrysler to come in and turn the company around.   They offered him $1 million a year for 2 years and Chrysler accepted the position.  Chrysler made some improvements, but was not totally successful because of conflict between John Willys and himself, so he left after the 2-year contract was completed.  While at Willys Chrysler met three (3) key Engineers, Fred Zeder, Owen Skelton & Car Breer, who would follow him to Maxwell after Chrysler left Willys.

  Between 1910 and 1920 the automobile had become very popular and affordable, thus the competition between the major low cost manufacturers became very fierce.  The following is a list of those major manufacturers and their sale price during this time period; The Success sold for $250, the Black for $485, the Western-Gale for $500, the Oldsmobile for $650, the Maxwell at $695 and the Ford Model T for $700.  With all of these manufacturers there were still both reliability and safety issues with all of these early model cars, so there was still room for new companies with better and more reliable automobiles.

  In 1921 W.P. Chrysler purchased a controlling interest in the Maxwell Motor Company, and then in 1925 he became its owner.  On June 06, 1925 the Chrysler Corporations was formed, and its headquarters was in Detroit Michigan.  Then in 1926 to compete with both Ford and Chevrolet low cost models Chrysler introduced a new low cost Maxwell, and the model was the Chrysler 52 with a 4-cylinder engine.   Then 2 years later, on July 07, 1928, the Plymouth model was released.  This was an update Chrysler 52 with a new 4-cylinder engine, but still had the same 109 ¾” wheelbase Maxwell frame.   The new Plymouth was called the Chrysler-Plymouth model “Q” and even though production started on June 14th of 1928 only 3500 cars were considered as 1928 models and the balance of 62,597 cars produced after July 01 were considered 1929 “Qs”.

Part 2-A: 1929 to 1936-   New Models, Mergers & Innovations 

When Plymouth was introduced in 1928 there are two (2) different versions on how it got its name; First being for the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock and their strength and endurance to forge a new home in the New World, and Second the name came from the Plymouth Twine Company that provided farmers with reliable and strong twine and rope.   Whichever is the real reason for the Plymouth name it soon became one of the top 3 leader in the automobile industry, providing strong and reliable cars and some trucks.

 The years between 1929 and 1936 were a busy time for the Chrysler Corporation.   In 1928 Chrysler first purchased the Fargo Motor Car Company, next introduced the new Plymouth and mid-level DeSoto models, and then purchased the Dodge Brothers Company from the Dillon-Read Company.  In 1929 mass production started under Chrysler for Plymouth, DeSoto, Fargo Trucks & Cars, and Dodge Trucks.  The Fargo vehicles were phased out in about 3 years because they were in direct competition with the Dodge Truck division.

  Also between the years of 1929 and 1936 the Chrysler Corporation was making many improvements in all of their models, like; Rubber motor and radiator mounts, engine oil and air filters, true engine oil pumps, introduction of hydraulic brakes, Oilite bearings, newly designed Safety Road Wheels, and wind tunnel body designs (Airflow).   In 1929 the tire size was changed from 20” rims/ tires down to 19” rims/ tires and then in in 1936 the tire size would be reduced down to 16” rim/ tires.  The exhaust manifold was moved from the back of the engine to the front to reduce heat inside the car.  Then in 1932 wire wheels became a standard versus wooden spoke type wheels. Also during the 30’s there were many improvements to Plymouth’s frames, such as the “X” frame configuration, ballooned frames that contoured with the body, and an assembly method of bodies setting down over the frame instead of on top of the frame.

  Chrysler took their “Model Year” standard from Dodge, which established that all vehicles built July 1st or later in any given year would be considered the following year’s model.  So, like mentioned in the earlier section only the first 3500 Plymouths built in 1928 were considered 1928 “Q” models and the balance of 62,597 were considered 1929 “Q” models.

  Initially Plymouth were priced higher ($725) than Ford ($595) and Chevrolet ($580), but it offered some features that the other manufacturers did not offer, such as hydraulic brakes unlike Ford and Chevrolet and all steel body and frame construction unlike Chevrolet, and within a few years it would become much more price competitive. 

Here is a comparison of the top three (3) major U.S. cars companies in 1934:

Compare models 

Between 1929 and 1938 Chrysler Corporation would offered many different engine options in all four (4) of its brands.  In 1933 Plymouths came standard with a new 6-cylinder engine, which began with 176ci, then 201ci, then in 1942 it went up to 218ci, and finally in 1954 it was bumped up to 230ci.  This flat-head 6-cylinder engine would remain basically the same engine used in all Plymouth cars through 1959, when in 1960 the slant-6 was introduced.  The Flat-Head 6 would still continue in use for another 8-10 years in trucks and marine type vesicles.

Engines available during the 20s and 30s were; Flat-head I-4: Plymouth- 171ci, 176ci, 186ci & 196ci, Flat-head I-6: Plymouth- 176ci & 201ci, Dodge- 189ci, 190ci, 201ci, 208ci, 212ci & 218ci, DeSoto- 175ci, 189ci, 205ci, 212ci, 217ci & 218ci, Chrysler- 181ci, 196ci, 201ci, 217ci, 218ci, 219ci & 288ci.  Flat-head I-8: Dodge- 208ci, 240ci, 241ci & 282ci, DeSoto- 208ci, Chrysler- 240ci, 274ci, 282ci, 299ci, 324ci & 385ci.  (for complete details of all engines and models used by Chrysler Corp. see Part #7)

  Also during the 1930s there was a growing demand for easier shifting transmissions.  This effort actually started in 1904 with the first automatic transmission being developed by the Sturtevant Brothers, followed in 1908 with Ford’s 2-speed Planetary Transmission, next in 1934 together REO and GM developed the first real automatic transmission, and then in 1935 Chrysler introduced the Fluid Drive concept.

There were many car companies competing to sell their cars, and here is a list of most of them from 1900 to the present:

Car companies list

In 1928 Plymouth “Q” production was at 3,500 cars built and sold.

  In 1929 Plymouth “Q” and “U” production was at 108,345 cars produced.

  In 1930 Chrysler made a strategic move and put Plymouths into over 7,000 Dodges, DeSotos and Chryslers dealerships, thus providing the buyer with a choice of four (4) different series and price ranges to choose from.  The 1930 Plymouth “U” and “30U” production for the year was at 102,400 cars produced.

  In 1931 Plymouth production for the “30U” and “PA” models were at 145,298 cars produced.

  In 1932 Plymouth replaced Buick as the number 3 spot for car sales, and it was also the last year for both the Plymouth Roadster and Phaeton models.  For 1932 the Plymouth “PA/ PB” models production was at 186,106 cars produced.

  In 1933 there was the first major change for Plymouth since it was launched in 1928, this was the introduction of the “New Six” model.  The 1933 model had major body changes and the introduction of a new 6-cylinder engine for the first time.   This was a major event for the Chrysler Corporation, who took over Columbia Broadcasting for 2 ½ hours with many celebrities promoting the new Plymouth.  This broadcast was narrated by Lowell Thomas and had many guest like W.P. Chrysler, B.E. Hutchinson, Fred Zeder, Harry Moock, and race car drivers Billy Arnold and Barney Oldfield.   At the same time Dealers in 25 different cities around the country held huge Sales events for the “New Six” Plymouth.  In 1933 Plymouth production for the “PC/PCXX” models were at 298,557 cars produced.  The huge increase in production over the 1932 model was attributed to the “New Six” model introduction.

  In 1934 Chrysler Corporation introduced the Chrysler and DeSoto Airflow models, which were not a great success by themselves, but the design technology introduced would be used by Chrysler and other U.S. auto manufacturers for many years to come.   This led to new body designs for Plymouth with teardrop fenders, sloping hoods and rear bodies, slanted windshields and radiators, and integrated fenders and running boards into the body.  In 1934 the millionth Plymouth was sold to a lady in Turlock, California, who claimed to have also bought the very first Plymouth.  Also 1934 was the first year Plymouth offered an optional in dash radio.  Plymouth production for the year was at 321,171 cars produced.

  In 1935 Plymouth production for the “PJ” model was at 350,884 cars produced.

  In 1936 it was the last year for the side-mounted spare tire.  Production for the “P1 / P2” models jumped up to 520,025 cars produced for the year.

   In parallel there were other events going on in the automobile industry that would eventually affect the Chrysler Corporation, and most notably were;

  1. In 1908 John Willys bought the Overland Company and eventually formed the Willys-Overland Company.  Willys-Overland continued to build cars through 1942.  In 1938 Joseph Frazer left Chrysler and joined Willys-Overland, and then in 1939 several companies were asked to bid on a new General Purpose (GP) vehicle for the military.  Willys won the contract and between 1941 and 1945 they produced almost 336,000 Jeeps (GP).  Then in 1953 the Kaiser Motors Company purchased the Willys-Overland Company, and then in 1970 the Kaiser-Jeep Company was purchased by AMC.
  2. In February 1909 eight Businessmen, with Financial backing from Joseph Hudson, formed the Hudson Motor Car Company.  Several years later Roy Chapin Sr., who previously worked for Ransom Olds, became President of what was then the Hudson-Nash Company.  The Hudson continued to be produced through 1957 when it became part of AMC.
  3. In 1916 Charles Nash, the former President of General Motors, purchased the Thomas Jeffery Company.  The Jeffery Company was best known for the Rambler automobiles, which had been produced from 1900 to 1914.  Then in 1917 the firs Nash automobile was built, and they continued to be built until 1954 when Nash and Hudson merged forming the American Motors Company (AMC). Note that the Rambler name was used by Jeffery from 1900 to 1914, then Nash from1950 to 1954, and then finally AMC from 1954 to 1969.
  4. Then in 1986 the American Motors Company would be purchased by the Chrysler Corporation.

Part 3-A: 1937 to 1949-   Mass Production, Product Improvements, then WWII
  Between 1937 and 1949 there were both the highs and lows in the auto industry.  The highs being increased year over year production numbers for most manufacturers, and the lows were when pre-WWII military build-up caused material shortages and then in December of 1941 the U.S. was plunged into WWII.   Once the U.S. was officially in the war all production and sales of cars stopped until the war was over in mid-1945. 

  For Plymouth the highs were that they made many vehicle improvements, like replacing the cloth roof inserts with steel panels, and having the headlights and taillight inserted into the fenders for both appearance and making them stronger. There were also some various chassis and body changes, with engine horsepower increasing up to 92 horsepower, and the old flat windshield were redesigned to a slanted Vee’s type and they became fixed in place.

  Also between 1937 and 1940, except for 1938, the highs for Plymouth was that the average yearly production was over 447,000 cars produced a year, and 1941 was expected to be a huge record setting production year.   This could have happened if it hadn’t been for Government driven material shortages for items like copper, brass, rubber and steel that was needed to support the military.  However, Plymouth still had a great production year with 522,080 cars being produced.  Right after December 07, 1941, when the U.S. was plunged into war, the Government started a Rationing program that officially began in February 1942.  This rationing program restricted raw materials, gasoline and tires for cars already made.   One forgotten fact is that during the war years there was a mandatory speed limit reduction in all of the U.S., reducing the maximum speed limit down to 35 mph in an effort to save gasoline.

  In 1937 the Chrysler Corporation paid of the Dodge Brothers purchase Debt, and it was the first year that the total corporate production exceeded 1,000,000 cars.  In 1937 Chrysler introduced a new type of Shock absorbers and hypoid rear axles.  Production of the “P3/ P4” models was at 566,128 cars produced.

  In 1938 production of the “P5/ P6” models drastically fell because of military buildup causing material shortages and the year ended at only 285,704 cars being produced.

  In 1939 there were other notable things that happened with Plymouth and the Automotive industry;

  In 1940 Plymouth introduced a new transmission with blocker-type synchronizer, which made for much easier shifting.  Also in 1940 the doors had a new rotary safety latches and the hinges were canceled, then in 1949 all 4 doors were hinged at the front.  Plymouth used Sealed Beam headlights, and Running Boards were an optional delete item and then in 1941 they were eliminated.  Production for the year ended at 430,208 cars produced.

  In 1941 Chrysler introduced a new and improved Safety Rim, which later would be adopted by other manufacturers, also in 1941 it was the last year for the 201ci engine and it was replaced by the 218ci engine.  The 1941 Plymouth model switched from the old butterfly type hood to the new and more modern alligator type hood, and the battery was moved from under the driver’s side floor to under the hood.   Another major event for Plymouth is that the 4 millionth Plymouth was built at the LA Plant.  Production for the year was 522,080 cars produced.

  In 1942 only 152,427 Plymouths were produced, and the last 1942 Plymouth was built on January 31, 1942.  At the same time Willys started production of the General Purpose Vehicle (Jeep), and as many of you know Willys-Jeep would first be bought by AMC and then in 1987 AMC would become part of the Chrysler Corporation.

  From February of 1942 through September of 1945 no Civilian Automobiles were produced by any of Chrysler divisions, and the total Chrysler Corporation production quantity was only 1880 vehicles, with Plymouth building 770 of them.  Also in 1945 Jeep started building its first Civilian Jeep, the CJ2A.  The Plymouth bodies from 1945 to 1949 had very few updated, being basically a 1942 model with the same 218ci engine.  However, there was a change to the tire size in late October of 1947 the tire size changed to 6.70 x 15.  Another tire peculiarity was that each car was shipped with 4 rims/ tires on the car and 1 spare rim.  Plymouth production was coming back to full-strength, however they did not keep exact production records from 1945 through 1949, so they only have a total of 1,059,489 cars built for those years.  The only other major change for 1949 was that Plymouth came out with an all steel bodied 2-door Suburban station wagon.

Part 4-A: 1950 to 1962-   New Body Styles, Construction, Engines & Transmissions
  In 1950 the three low price leaders were very competitive, with Plymouth being at a disadvantage because the only engine option they offered was the old flat-head 6 which had been around since 1933.  However, they did make some improvements by introducing wrap-around tail-lights, with stop lights included, which allowed them to deleted the center stop light.  The engine size remained at 218ci, but with increased hp to 97.   This was the last year for the Wood-bodied station wagon.  The good news was that again there was a production record of 610,954 cars (P19/ P20) being produced.

  In 1951 the Deluxe and Special Deluxe model names were dropped and replaced with Concord, Cambridge and Cranbrook.  The model numbers were P22 for Concord, P23S for Cambridge, and P23C for Cranbrook, for some reason they jumped over P21.  The engine size stayed at 218ci @ 97 hp.  However, for the Chrysler Corporation this was the first year for the new Hemi engine in the 1951 in Chryslers, in 1952 they were available in DeSotos, and then in 1953 they were available in Dodges.  Plymouth production for the year ended at 611,000 cars being produced.

  For 1952 the three models remained the same and there was only a minor change to the engine.   In 1952 Plymouth was the only big manufacturers that only offered a 3-speed manual transmission.  Production dropped to 396,000 cars made.

  In 1953 it was the Silver Anniversary of Plymouth, but because it was also the Golden Anniversary of Ford this was not even mentioned.  At the beginning of 1953 Plymouth was the only one of the 3 low priced leaders that did not offer as an option either power steering or an automatic transmission.  However, Plymouth continued to improve in other areas such as a fully boxed frame with 4 cross-members, the engine horse power was raised up to 100 hp.  Then later in the year they offered as an option both a 3-speed with overdrive and Hy-Drive semi-automatic transmission.  In late 52 the 1953 model offered a new 2-speed PowerFlite automatic transmission for an additional $189.  Despite some shortfalls with the Plymouth versus Ford and Chevrolet 1953 was again a record setting production year, with 650,451 cars produced.  Also in 1953 Kaiser bought the Willy-Overland Company, and then in 1970 Willys was bought by AMC.

  For 1954 there were no major body changes.  There were still the 3 model lines, but with new names; the Belvedere, Savoy and Plaza.  There was the 4-door Sedan, a Sports Coupe, Convertible Coupe and the Suburban wagon.   In 1954 Plymouth also found out that because it took extra horse power to drive the new PowerFlite transmission that the 218ci/ 100 hp engine just didn’t have enough power and the cars were sluggish.  So, they started installing the 230ci / 110 hp Dodge engine when the PowerFlite option was included.   Demand for the 1954 Plymouth slowed down and in February production was on a “for sold orders only” basis, with the year’s total production ending at 463,148 cars produced.

  In 1955 Plymouth finally came out with an OHV V-8 engine, designated as the “A” or Poly engine, Ford had introduced their V-8 OHV in 1954 and Chevrolet also introduced their V8 engine in 1955.  In 1955 all P26 models were built with the Flat-Heat I-6 engine and the P27 models were built with the new V-8 engines.  The “A” engine started out with 277ci / 197 hp and its last year in cars was 1967 with the 318 ci/ 230 hp version. There were 2 different 318ci engines, the first being the “A” Poly engine and the second being the LA engine, with few interchangeable parts.  Production for the year ended at 705,455, with the increase attributed to the new body style and the V8 engine.

  In 1956 Plymouth offered a 3-speed automatic transmission, the TorqueFlite, and it was the first year for the Fury.  The 1956 had some body changes, but was basically an updated 1955 model.  Production for the year was 571,634 cars built.

  In 1957 there was a dramatic body change for most auto manufacturers, with Chrysler coming up with what they called the “Forward Looking” design.  All of Chrysler Corporation cars got large fins on the back making them look like aircraft.  Torsion-bar front suspension was also introduced in 1957.  Production for the year was up to 726,009 cars produced.

  From 1958 through 1959 there were only few changes made to Plymouths, except the body fins kept getting larger.  Production for 1958 was down to 443,799 cars produced and 458,261 cars produced in 1959.

  In 1960 Chrysler introduced a complete new product line named the Valiant, which was launched as a compact model.  The Valiant was originally a standalone model for Chrysler, but that only lasted for one year.  Then in 1961 the Valiant was repositioned as a sub-model for Plymouth.  The other big change for Chrysler Corporation was the introduction of the new Slant-6 engine, which replaced the old Flat-Head I-6-cylinder engine in cars.  1960 was also the year Chrysler started utilizing Unitized Body Construction with sub-frames.  Production remained low at 483,969 cars produced.

  In 1961 for the first time since the early 1930’s Plymouth was no longer the #3 manufacturer, first being replaced by the AMC Rambler and then later in the 1960s by Pontiac.  In 1961, ahead of Ford and Chevrolet, Chrysler Corporation cars started using Alternators in place of generators.  Plymouth production dropped even lower to 356,257 cars produced and this was also the last year for the DeSoto car line.

  In 1962 sales continued to drop because of poor body styling and the down-sizing of Plymouth models.  In 1962 Chrysler also started using full body unitized body construction.  Total production for the year was down to 339,527 cars produced.


Part 5-A: 1963 to 1976-   Second Generation of Modernization and New Models 
  In 1963 there were major body design changes in an effort to improve sales, which was successful with production up from 339,527 in 1962 to 488,448 cars produced in 1963.   1963 was the beginning of the new letter platform series, which basically was the car body and platform size.   The smaller compact cars were the “A” series, which included the Valiant and Barracuda, the mid-size cars were the “B” series, like the Savoy (1950-1960 & 1960-1964), Belvedere (1954-1959 & 1960-1970), Satellite (1965-1974) and Fury (1956-1958, 1962-1964 & 1975-1978), the “C” series, with only the Fury for Plymouth (1959-1961 & 1965-1974), and the “E” series for the Barracuda/ Challenger (1970-1974).  Two other innovation for Chrysler products were introduced in 1963; a) first the new “Hamtramck” Gear Reduction Starter Motor, noticeable because of its high speed sound, and b) all cars came with a 5-year / 50,000-mile warranty.

  In 1964 there weren’t many body or engine changes, but production continued to increase with 551,633 cars produced.  In April of 1964 the Barracuda was introduced just ahead of the Ford Mustang.

  In 1965 Plymouth reintroduced a full sized model, the Fury “C” class.  In 1965 the mid-size models became the Belvedere and Satellite, and the Push-Button transmission control was replaced with either a column or floor shifter.  In 1965 Plymouth set a record production number of 728,228 cars being produced.

  In 1966 Plymouth made major body design changes to make the cars look larger, they became boxer than previous models.  1966 was the first year that the Generation II Hemi engine were used in production cars, they were installed in the Belvedere and Satellite models.  Also in 1966 4-passenger seat belts became standard equipment.  Production dropped down a little in 1966 down to 687,541 cars produced.

  In 1967 Plymouth the GTX model was introduced.  Production again dropped down to 638,075 cars produced.

  In 1968 the Road-Runner was introduced, which was a no-frills sports sedan.  Production improved in 1967 with production total of 790,239 cars produced in the year.

  The 1969 Plymouths were basically minor upgraded 1968 cars.  Production for the year ended at 751,134 cars sold.

  In 1970 Plymouth had a busy year, even though there were only few changes to the A, B & C bodied cars.  For 1970 there was a whole new line of cars introduced, which were designated as the “E” body model, this included a completely new Plymouth Barracuda and in 1971 the Dodge Challenger.  Next under the Valiant line there was a brand new “A” body car introduced, it was named the Duster, then in 1971 Dodge introduced their version named the Demon.  There still remained 2 different body styles for “A” body cars, the Valiant/ Dart and the new Duster body style.  Then for NASCAR type racing Plymouth came out with a modified Road Runner called the Super-Bird, with Dodge having the Daytona version, this was a 1-year only model with only 2783 cars being built.  Also in 1970 AMC bought the Kaiser-Jeep Company.  Plymouth production for the year ended at 747,508 cars built.

  In 1971 there was a major body restyling on the “B” bodied cars, which was change them from a boxy body to a more-sleeker body style.  Also in 1971 Plymouth introduced the Valiant Scamp and the Dodge Dart Swinger.  Plymouth then introduced a new sub-compact car named the Cricket (English Hillman- Avenger).  1971 was the last year for the Gen II Hemi engine and the last year for the GTX model.  Overall production dropped a little for Plymouth down to 702,113 cars produced.

  In 1972 there were not many changes in body styles or design for the year.  In a related car updates, the AMC Jeep was redesigned to fit the AMC I-6 engine, which would continue in production until 2006.  Production for Plymouth was up a little for the year ending at 756,605 cars produced.

  Again in 1973 there were very few changes to existing models.  1973 was the last year for the Plymouth Cricket and the Dodge Colt.   Production for 1973 increased to 882,196 Plymouth cars being produced.

  In 1974 there were 2 new models introduced and 2 models that were cancelled. The new introductions were the Trailduster and Voyager Van, both versions of existing Dodge products, and then the Barracuda/ Challenger and Satellite models were discontinued.   Also in 1974 the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant were identical for the first time.  Production for 1974 dropped down to 779,894 cars being produced.

  1975 was the first year for the “C” Body Gran Fury models, in parallel with the standard Fury.  Production for the year dropped dramatically down to 454,105 cars being produced.

  For 1976 the Duster, Scamp and Valiant models were discontinued, with the Valiant being replace by the Volare and the Arrow sub-compact was introduced.  Production for the year was up to 519,962 cars produced.

Part 6-A: 1977 to 2017-   21st Century Designs with more New and Deleted Models
  In 1977 the “C” Body Gran Fury model was discontinued.  Production for the year ended at 546,132 cars produced.

  1978 was the last year for the Fury model.  There were 2 new models introduced that year with the first being the Sapporo (Mitsubishi), a sports coupe, and a new line of compacts cars named Horizon for Plymouth and Omni for Dodge.  Also that year Chrysler Canada introduce the Plymouth Caravelle, based on the Dodge Diplomat.  Plymouth production dropped down to 501,129 cars produced for the year.

  In 1979 the Arrow pick-up and the Champ (Mitsubishi) was introduced.  1979 was also the first year that Dodge produced more cars than Plymouth, with 372,449 cars for Plymouths and 404,266 cars for Dodges being produced.  In 1981 and 1982 Plymouth would again produce more cars than Dodge, but from then on Plymouth would produced fewer cars than Dodge.

  In 1980 the Chrysler Newport was introduced, it was based on the Plymouth Gran Fury.  There was also a new Plymouth “R” Body car introduced, it was named the Gran Fury.  1980 would be the last year for the compact Arrow (Mitsubishi), the Volare and the Road Runner.  Production for the year was way down to 280,974 cars being produced.

  In 1981 the new Reliant (K-Car) was introduced and it was the last year for the Plymouth Trailduster.  Production for the 1981 Plymouth was up a little to 393,633 cars produced.

  For 1982 a new mid-sized “M” Body Gran Fury was introduced and the “R” Body model was dropped.  1982 would also be the last year for the compact Arrow pick-up.  Production for 1982 dropped drastically down to only 247,936 cars being produced.

  In 1983 the new Scamp pick-up was introduced for 1 year only.  1983 was also the last year for the full size Voyager Van and the Sapporo sports coupe. In 1983 Plymouth introduced the Turismo (formally the Horizon TC3) and the Colt, both used Peugeot and VW engines.  Production for the year increased a little to 273,489 cars being built.

  In 1984 the new Voyager Mini-Van, the Colt Vista and the Conquest were introduced.  Production for 1984 was up to 357,764 cars produced.

  In 1985 the Turismo had Duster version.  Also in 1985 the Plymouth Caravelle was imported from Canada, where it actually started production in 1983.  Production for the year was up again at 393,711 cars produced.

  1986 was the last year for the Duster version of the Turismo and the Conquest.  Production for the year dropped a little to 350,573 cars produced.

  In 1987 the P-Body Sundance and the Grand Voyager were introduced.  Also in 1987 Chrysler Corporation purchase the American Motors Company (AMC).  Production for the year went up to 443,806 cars produced.

  1988 was the last year for the Caravelle.  Production for the year was now on a downward spiral with only 336,070 cars being produced.

  In 1989 was the last year for the Reliant and Gran Fury, with the new Acclaim being introduced.  Production again dropped down to 268,442 cars being produced.

  From 1990 to 1994 the Horizon, Colt, Colt Vista, and Sundance models were discontinued.  In 1994 the Neon replaced the Sundance and the Colt, and the Mitsubishi Laser was introduced.  Production & Sales continued to fall; 1990 was 286,289 / 1991 was 257,985 / 1992 was 135,721 / 1993 was 155,308 / 1994 was 169,370.

  From 1995 to 1998 many models were eliminated, in 1995 Plymouth only had 3 models, being the Acclaim, Neon and Grand Voyager, with 1995 being the last year for the Acclaim.  In 1996 Plymouth introduced the Breeze, in 1997 Plymouth introduced the Prowler, and then in 1998 Chrysler was bought by Daimler-Benz.  Production for those years were; in 1995 it was 124,571 / 1996 it was 185,705 / in 1997 it was 155,563 / and in 1998 it was 143,245.

  From 1999 to 2001 Plymouth was just hanging on and then the decision was made to eliminate the whole Plymouth line, with the last Plymouth being produced on June 28, 2001.  Production was 195,714 for 1999, 108,546 for 2000, and 38,657 for 2001.

Part 7-A: Engines: The history of Chrysler and Plymouth Engines

The Flat Head Engine: Follow this link to open a table listing Mopar flathead engines.

Overhead Valve Engine: Follow this link to open a table listing Mopar OHV engines.


Part 8-A: Transmissions:  The history of Chrysler and Plymouth Transmissions
  Getting the power from the internal combustion engine to the wheels of the automobile has always provided a set of endless challenges.  With this said since the early 1900’s there have been very few true new engineering designs, only progressively successful progress on improvements to existing concepts.  This includes engines, tires, suspension, differentials, and transmissions.

  The importance of the transmission is two fowl; first that it is a mechanical separation between the engine while it is running and the wheels that move the vehicle forward or in reverse, and then second to transfer the engine’s energy to the wheels at different engine speeds and wheel speeds.   For electric motors this is not the same situation because the electric motor can be at zero RPM and then start rotating, whereas the internal combustion motor needs to idle from 400 to 800 RPM.   So when a vehicle is at a stop you cannot have the engine connected directly to the drive wheels, and that is why clutch mechanisms, transmissions and different gearing ratios are needed to progressively match the engine RPM to the wheel RPM.

  The modern manual transmission was first introduced to the automobile world in 1894 by Frenchmen Louis-Rene Panhard and Emile Levassor.    Their first prototype did not work very well and then in 1995 they introduced a new prototype in an automobile that not only proved their concept of a multi-gear transmission but also served as the prototype for most rear wheel drive vehicles built in the early 1900s.   Unlike other engine powered vehicles (horseless carriages) at the time their prototype had a vertical engine in the front, with a 3-speed transmission, which drove the rear wheels.  The only different technology that they used was chains from the transmission to drive the rear wheels versus a drive-shaft and a rear axle.   Implementation of differential technology in a car came along 3 years later in 1998 when Louis Renault built a front engine vehicle using a 3-speed transmission with a drive shaft hooked to a “Live” rear axle.

  The “Live” rear axle, that Renault adapted to his automobile, was developed in 1893 by an American named C.E. Duryea.  This axle (differential) used a number of gears to overcome the problem of rapid tire wear because when making a turn in a horseless carriage or a horse drawn carriage with a solid “dead” rear axle the outer wheel will drag thus wearing it out much faster.  So with a “Live” rear axle the outer wheel will be able to travel more distance than the inner wheel, no matter which wheel become the outer one.

  Since the first early models of the French vehicles there have been many improvements to both the differential and to the transmission, with synchronizing gear system that permits the drive and driven gears to be brought into mesh with each other smoothly without the gears clashing.  This technology forces the gears to reach the same speed before they are engaged, and the first U.S. manufacturer to use a synchromesh transmission was Cadillac in 1928, which was an improved version of the transmission designed and patented by Porsche.   Between the first sliding gear transmission and the perfection of the synchromesh transmission there were many versions of the transmission, like the Planetary transmission introduced by Ford in 1908 and the Wilson Pre-selector transmission introduced in 1930.  All manual transmission designs since the Panhard-Levassor unit have had one common goal to make shifting easier, and that of course led to the automatic transmission which was strictly a U.S. innovation.

  The first attempt at an automatic transmission was developed in 1904 by the Sturtevant brother’s in Boston.  This transmission provided 2-speeds forward that would engage and disengage by the action of centrifugal weights.  As the engine speed increased the weight swung out to engage bands, unfortunately this was not very successful because the weight often times flew apart because of the materials used at the time.

  The next attempt at an automatic transmission was done by the Ransom E. Olds Motor Car Company (REO 1904-1975) in 1934.   This transmission was named the REP Self-Shifter and was actually 2 transmission connected together in series.  This transmission also used centrifugal concept with multiple-disc clutches.  Then in 1937 REO and GM worked to introduce a new Oldsmobile 4-speed semi-automatic transmission, named the Automatic Safety Transmission.  This allowed the driver to just push in the clutch and the transmission would shift itself, and was and $80 option.   in 1938 they sold of 28,000 of these transmissions.

  In 1938 Buick introduced a 5-speed semi-automatic transmission, but it was dropped in 1939 because of reliability. Then in 1939 GM developed the Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, which was introduced in the 1940 Oldsmobile.

  Even though the Hydra-Matic transmission was developed by GM its major component was the torque converter, and that was pioneered by Chrysler between 1935 and 1937.   The actual development of the torque converter was done by Hermann Foettiger in Germany around 1908, but it was Chrysler that refined this technology for use in the automobile.  Chrysler did not use the torque converter in production until 1941 when the Fluid Drive transmission system was introduced, this used a standard trans mission behind a torque converter.  By the early 1950’s all major U.S. automaker had introduced their version of an automatic transmission.
  There were many other innovations to the drivetrain throughout the years, like;

  1. The Clutch stared in 1893, which used leather lined plates.  Then in 1921 a reliable dry clutch was introduced by Englishman Herbert Frood.
  2. The Universal Joint (U-Joint) was first introduced in 1902 by Peerless, followed by the implementation of roller bearings in 1908 by the Franklin Company, and then needle bearings in 1910 by the Hupmobile.
  3. The introduction of the differential in 1998 by Luis Renault, then in 1926 the introduction of the spiral-beveled ring and pinion by Packard that greatly reduced noise, then in 1956 the locking differential by Studebaker.
  4. Four Wheel Drive was introduced in 1906 by Otto Zachow and William Besserdich.
  5. Overdrive was introduced in 1934 in the Airflow models.
  6. The Constant Variable Transmission (CVT) was introduced in the mid-1990s.

The following charts show the different transmissions and the years that they were available for Plymouths:

Follow this link to open a table describing the items below:

Chrysler Corporation Manual Transmissions
Non-Chrysler Corporation Manual Transmissions
Chrysler Corporation Semi-Automatic Transmissions
Chrysler Corporation Automatic Transmissions
Non-Chrysler Corporation Automatic Transmissions

Part 9-A: Plymouth Models and Plymouth Production from 1928 to 2001

Follow this link to open tabular data about production numbers.

Part 10-A: Understanding Serial Numbers, VINs & Fender Tags

  In the early 1900x automobile manufactures did not need to track each vehicle they produced because build quantities were very small, but once they started producing hundreds of cars the they needed some way to track the build process.  So they started using various methods to identify each vehicle they produced, most just started using a simple tag with a serial number.  In the 1930s and 1940s Chrysler Corporation would issue blocks of serial numbers issued to each manufacturing location, then as each manufacturer got more sophisticated they found that they needed to start tracking more information than just a serial number.  They especially wanted to track the five (5) major components used to build each vehicle, which are the chassis, the rear differential, the transmission the engine and the body.  Chrysler Corporation eventually wanted to maintain so much data that one tag turned into two tags and that was the beginning of the Fender and VIN tags.

  In the beginning Chrysler products only had the one (1) tag that was riveted onto the cowling, next this tag was riveted onto the right hand door hinge pillar, after that they were riveted onto the left had side door hinge pillar.  At that point the second identification tag was needed so it (the fender tag) was riveted onto the top of the Left-Side front fender well.  Besides these two (2) tags there was also numbers stamped onto the chassis of the car in various locations and each engine also had its own identification number.

The VIN Tag
  To be able to reduce the amount of space required for all of the information needed on these tags the automobile manufacturers started using code letters & numbers to identify all of the pertinent data.  From 1954 up to 1981 all U.S. car manufacturers started using various forms of what is now the VIN (vehicle identification number) tag system.  Then in 1981 the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) established a standard for all VIN number tags, which was based on the European Standard ISO-1979 / ISO-1980.  This required that all on-road vehicles sold in the U.S. must have a standardized VIN tag placed on each new vehicle consisting of 17 characters, without the letters “I”, “O” or “Q” to avoid confusion with the numbers 1 and 0.  The first Standard covered 1981 through 2008, and then on April 30, 2008 the NHTSA adopted a final rule amending 49 CFR part 565, which extended the VIN standard to the year 2039.  There are currently four (4) different world standards that control the requirements for the VIN tag data, and they are; FMVSS 115, Part 565 for the US and Canada, ISO-3779 & ISO-3780 for Europe and some other countries, SAE J853 for some other countries and ADR 61/2 for Australia.


Fender Tag 60-65

1st digit - Make: 1= Valiant/ Barracuda slant-6, 2= Plymouth/ Dart slant-6 (1965), 3= Plymouth V8 (1964) & Belvedere slant-6 (1965), 4= Dodge (1964), Coronet slant-6 (1965), 5= Not used, 6= Dodge V8 (1965), 7= Dart slant-6 (1964), D= Dodge (1965), L= Dart V8, R= Belvedere V8 (1965), V= Valiant/ Barracuda V8, W= Coronet V8 (1965).

2nd digit - Series: 1= Valiant V100, Dart 170, Belvedere I (1965), Coronet Deluxe (1965), Savoy (1964) and Polara (1965)2= Belvedere (1964), 440 (1964), Coronet (1965)3= Valiant V200, Dart 270, Belvedere II (1965), Coronet 440 (1965), Fury (1964), Polara (1964)4= Valiant Signet/ Barracuda (1965), Coronet 500 (1965), Sports Fury (1964)5= Valiant V100 wagon, Dart 170 wagon, Belvedere I wagon (1965), Coronet wagon (1965), Savoy wagon (1964), 330 wagon (1964)6= Belvedere wagon (1964)7= Valiant V200 wagon, Dart 270 wagon, Belvedere II wagon (1965), Coronet 440 wagon (1965), Fury wagon (1964)8= Barracuda (1965), Belvedere Taxi (1965), Coronet Taxi (1965)9= Belvedere Police (1965), Coronet Police (1965)O= Belvedere and Coronet Super Stock (1965).

3rd digit - Year: 4= 1964, 5= 1965

4th digit – Asy. Location: 1= Lynch Road Plant, 2= Dodge Main Plant, 3= Jefferson Ave. Plant, 4= Belvedere Plant, 5= Los Angles Plant, 6= Newark Plant, 7= St. Louis Plant, 9= Windsor Plant.

5th digit – Serial Number: The 5th through the 10th digits are sequential serial numbers starting with 100001 and up.


VIIN Tag 67

1st digit - Make: B= Barracuda (1967), V= Valiant, L= Dart, W= Coronet, R= Belvedere/ Satellite, X= Charger.

2nd digit - Series: E= Belvedere Fleet, Coronet Fleet.  L= Valiant 100, Dart 170, Belvedere I, Coronet.  H= Valiant V200 (1966), Valiant Signet, Dart 270, Belvedere II, Coronet 440, Barracuda (1967)K= Belvedere Police, Coronet Police, Belvedere II Super Stock (1967), Coronet Super Stock (1967)P= Barracuda (1966), Dart GT, Satellite, Coronet 500, Charger.   S= Belvedere GTX (1967), Coronet R/T (1967).  T= Belvedere Taxi, Coronet Taxi.

3rd / 4th digits – Body Style: 21= 2-door sedan. 23= 2-door coupe.  27= 2-door convertible.  29= 2-door Sports coupe.  41= 4-door sedan.  45= 4-door station wagon, 6-passenger.  46= 4-door station wagon, 9-passenger.

5th digit - Engine: A= Slant-6 170/ 101 hp (1966), 170/ 115 hp (1967)B= Slant-6 225/ 145 hp.  C= Special order Slant-6.  D= V8 273/235 hp (1966) E= V8 318/ 230 hp 2-bbl (1966), V8 273/ 235 hp 4-bbl (1967).  F= V8 361/ 265 hp (1966), V8 318/ 230 hp (1967).  G= V8 383/ 325 hp 4-bbl (1966), V8 383/ 270 hp 2-bbl (1967)H= V8 Hemi 426/ 425 hp 2 x 4-bbl (1966), V8 383/ 325 hp 4-bbl (1967)J= V8 Hemi 426/ 425 hp (1967)L= V8 440/ 375 hp 4-bbl (1967).

6th digit - Year: 6= 1966, 7= 1967

7th digit – Asy. Location: 1= Lynch Road Plant, 2= Dodge Main Plant, 3= Jefferson Ave. Plant, 4= Belvedere Plant, 5= Los Angles Plant, 6= Newark Plant, 7= St. Louis Plant, 8= For Export. 9= Windsor, Ontario Plant.

8th digit – Serial Number: The 8th through the 13th digits are sequential serial numbers starting with 100001 and up.

VIN 1968-1979

1st digit - Make: B= Barracuda, J= Challenger, L= Dart, R= Belvedere/ Satellite, V= Valiant/ Duster.

2nd digit - Series: L= Valiant (1968-1974), Dart (1968- 1974), Dart Swinger (1968- 1970), Dart Special (1971- 1974), Coronet (1968- 1974), Charger (1971- 1974)M= Dart Swinger 340 (1971-1972), Dart Sport 340 (1973), Dart Sport 360 (1974), Road Runner (1968- 1974), Super Bird (1970), Road Runner GTX (1972-1974), Coronet Super Bee (1968-1970), Charger Super Bee (1971).  H= Valiant Signet (1968- 1969), Barracuda (1968- 1969), Barracuda Cuda (1969), Scamp (1971- 1974), Dart 270 (1968), Dart Custom (1969- 1974), Dart Swinger (1971- 1974), Satellite (1968- 1970), Satellite Sebring (1971- 1974), Satellite Custom (1971-1974), Coronet 440 (1968- 1970), Charger (1970), Charger Coupe (1971- 1974), Coronet Custom (1971- 1974), Barracuda (1970- 1974), Challenger (1970- 1974), Challenger T/A (1970)P= Valiant Brougham (1974), Dart GT (1968- 1969), Dart SE (1974), Sport Satellite (1968- 1970), Satellite Sebring + (1971- 1974), Satellite Brougham (1971), Regent, Coronet 500, Charger (1968- 1969), Charger 500 (1970- 1971), Charger SE (1971- 1974), Coronet Brougham (1971), Crestwood (1971- 1974), Barracuda Gran Coupe (1970- 1971).  S= Duster 340 (1970- 1973), Duster 360 (1974), Dart GTS (1968- 1969), Dart GSS (1968), Challenger R/T (1970), GTX (1968- 1971), Coronet R/T (1968- 1971), Charger 500 (early 1969), Barracuda Cuda (1970- 1974), Barracuda AAR Cuda (1970), Challenger R/T (1970- 1971), Challenger Rallye (1972).  X= Charger 500 (late 1969), Charger Daytona (1969). O= Barracuda Super Stock (1968), Dart Super Stock (1968).  K= Belvedere Police (1968- 1970), Satellite Police (1971-1974), Coronet Police (1968- 1974).  N= Coronet New York Taxi (1970- 1971). G= Coronet New York Taxi (1972- 1974).  T= Belvedere Taxi (1968- 1970), Satellite Taxi (1971- 1974), Coronet Taxi (1968- 1974).

3rd / 4th digits – Body Style: 21= 2-door sedan. 23= 2-door coupe.  27= 2-door convertible.  29= 2-door Sports coupe.  41= 4-door sedan.  45= 4-door station wagon, 6-passenger.  46= 4-door station wagon, 9-passenger.

5th digit - Engine: A= Slant-6 170/ 115 hp (1968- 1969)B= Slant-6 225/ 145 hp (1968- 1969), 198/ 125 hp (1970- 1971) 198/ 100 hp (1972), 198/ 95 hp (1973- 1974)C= Special order Slant-6 (1968- 1969), 225/ 145 hp (1970- 1971), 225/ 110 hp (1972), 225/ 105 hp (1973- 1974)D= V8 273/190 hp (1968- 1969)E= Special Order slant-6 (1970- 1974). F= V8 318/ 230 hp 2-bbl (1968- 1969). G=V8 273/ 235 hp 4-bbl (1967)F= V8 361/ 265 hp (1966), V8 318/ 230 hp (1967)G= V8 383/ 290 hp 2-bbl (1968- 1969), V8 383/ 230 hp 2-bbl (1970- 1971), 383/ 150 hp (1972- 1974), 383/ 155 hp (1972), 383/ 170 hp (1973- 1974 RR)H= V8 383/ 330 hp/ 335 (1968- 1969), 340/ 275 hp (1970- 1971), 340/ 240 hp (1972- 1973)J= V8 Hemi 426/ 425 hp (1968- 1969), 340/ 290 hp (1970 AAR / TA).  L= V8 440/ 375 hp 4-bbl (1968- 1969), 383/ 290 hp (1970), 383/ 275 hp (1971), 360/ 200 hp, 360/ 245 hp (1974)M= Special order V8 (1968- 1969), 440/ 390 hp (1969), 400/ 190 hp (1972), 400/ 175 hp (1973)N= V8 383/ 330 hp (1968- 1969), 383/ 335 hp (1970), 383/ 300hp (1971), 400/ 205 hp (1974)P= V8 340/ 275 hp (1968- 1969), 400/ 225 hp (1972), 400/ 260 hp (1973), 400/ 250 hp (1974)R= V8 Hemi 426/ 425 hp (1970- 1971)U= V8 440/ 370 hp (1971), 440/ 280 hp (1972- 1973), 440/ 290 hp (1972), 440/ 275 hp (1974)V= V8 440/ 385 hp (1971), 440/ 330 hp (1972)Z= Special order V8 (1970- 1974).

6th digit - Year: 8= 1968, 9= 1969, 0= 1970, 1= 1971, 2= 1972, 3= 1973, 4= 1974, 5= 1975, 6= 1976, 7= 1977,

7th digit – Asy. Location: A= Lynch Road Plant, B= Dodge Main Plant, C= Jefferson Ave. Plant, D= Belvedere Plant, E= Los Angles Plant, F= Newark Plant, G= St. Louis Plant, H= New Stanton PA, P= For Export. R= Windsor, Ontario Plant.

8th digit – Serial Number: The 8th through the 13th digits are sequential serial numbers starting with 100001 and up.


The following is an outline for the 1981 United States and Canada NHTSA VIN tag requirements.

(Note that both Chrysler and GM implemented these requirements in 1980)


The Fender Tag
  As noted in the VIN section above starting in 1960 all new Chrysler vehicles were built with two coded identification tags.  The information on each of these tags is important in determining how and where each new vehicle was originally built, but with so much coded data on these tags it makes I very difficult to understand and decode that information.

  To start the decoding process for the Fender/ Body tag the first thing one needs to do is to identify the vehicle’s model and its body platform.  From 1960 through 1974 there were 5 different Chrysler engineered body platforms; the “A” Body, “B” Body, “C” Body, “E” Body and “D-Y” Body.  Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth shared these same platforms.  The following chart shows each platform and the corresponding model built using it.

Click here to open the Body Platform chart.

From 1960 to 1968 each Fender tag contained the following coded information; a) The build date, b) the model, c) the interior, and d) the body paint color.  Then from 1969 to 1979 additional information was added to the fender tag, which were; a) the engine type, b) the transmission, c) the rear-axel type, and d) the upper door paint color.   There were some minor differences in the tags used to produce vehicles at the Lynch Road plant.   The examples below show the general decoding information for these fender tags, however each year and manufacturing location had some special coding.   For complete details for your year and model there are resources with this information.


Fender Tag – 1960 to 1965

Fender Tag 1960-65

Fender Tag – 1966

Fender Tag 1966

Fender Tag – 1967 to 1968

Fender Tag 1967-68

Fender Tag – 1969 to 1979 (except Lynch Rd. Plant)

69-79 exc Lynch Rd

 Fender Tag – 1969 to 1970 (for the Lynch Rd. Plant)

Lynch Road



Part 11-A: References: Authors, Websites & Books

   The following list of reference materials, documents, websites, books and Authors was used in compiling the Plymouth Story.

Reference Material Supporting document or material Hemi Dyno Test The Mopar “B” series V8 engines – 350, 361, 383 & 400 Jim Benjaminson – Illustrated Plymouth & DeSoto Buyer’s Guide 1928 to 1974
Book  American Cars 49-59: McFarland and Coy, 2008
Book   Standard Catalog of Chrysler Parts: Krause Publications, 2012 pages 433 to 483 Vehicle Standards- Australian Design Rule 61/02- Vehicle marking Dave Pollock: NPOC Tech advisor: 1950
U.S. eCFR Code of Federal Regulations: Title 49- Transportation- Part 565, VIN requirements
Euro Commission Euro Commission: Directive 76/114/EEC- Automotive Enterprise and Industry requirements  Gan’s AMC engine specifications
Book    Haynes Auto Manual: Somerset/ Haynes Publishing Group, 1977
Euro-ISO ISO 3779: Vehicle identification numbers VIN, Content and Structure
Euro-ISO   ISO 3780: World manufacturer identifier- (WMI) codes Jim Benjaminson: NPOC Membership Secretary & Treasurer, various e-mails  Mark Walker: NPOC Tech advisor, 1941  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), Federal VIN requirement- Title 49, Chapter V, Part 565


Randy Wilson: NPOC Tech advisor 1960
phone The Plymouth Bulletin: list of Plymouth Tech advisors Todd Fitch: NPOC Tech advisor, 1933
Wikipedia                              Chrysler Hemi engines
Wikipedia                              Chrysler PowerTech engines
Wikipedia                              Chrysler “A” engines
Wikipedia                              Chrysler “LA” engines
Wikipedia                              Chrysler Flat Head engines
Wikipedia                              AMC engines
Wikipedia                              Chrysler “B” engines
Wikipedia                              Chrysler “RB” engines
Wikipedia                              Chrysler Slant-6 engines
Wikipedia                              The Hudson Motor Car Company
The Plymouth Prowler
Wikipedia                              The Nash Motor Car Company
Wikipedia                              The Willys-Overland Motor Car Company
Wikipedia                              The American Motors Corporation (AMC)
Wikipedia                              Walter P. Chrysler
Wikipedia                              The Maxwell Motor Car Company
Wikipedia                              Plymouth Automobiles                    The history of Automotive Drivetrains   Brochures and information on early 1900s automobiles Dodge and Dodge Brothers             General information on Chrysler / Mopar cars                                   Atlas Chrysler/ Plymouth/ Dodge/ DeSoto OEM, Used & New parts
Book  Year One: Dodge/ Plymouth parts catalog #1199- Fender tag & VIN tag information
Book  Year One: Mopar Broadcast Sheet Decoder


There were over 100 documents used in compiling the Plymouth Story, with only the major supporting documents listed.

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