My sojourn to Lebanon, Missouri and the 28th annual It’s a Gas! Petroliana swap meet was a winner as it has been for me every year since I started going over a decade ago. Two of my 2020 TKCS-STL volunteers were along for the ride. It was a totally new experience for 14-year-old Eddie and 15-year-old Ignacio (Nacho).
One of my ‘finds’ this year was a 22-page, full-line sales brochure for the 1942 Plymouth automobiles that looked like it just came off the press! Chrysler’s ad men didn’t spare the superlatives when describing the 1942 Plymouth calling it “Plymouth’s Finest,” “The most beautiful low-priced car,” “Best Engineered,” “Graceful and Gracious” – well, you get the idea. The list continued over the entire 22-pages.
Despite the looming conversion of manufacturing to military products, the 1942 Plymouth featured many special features including a new-for-42 center-mounted brake light above the license plate; doors which covered vestigial running boards and “smart two-color arm rests which add life and zest and sparkle to the harmonized interiors!”
Plymouth’s venerable in-line six promised “the ever new thrill of Plymouth’s 95 horsepower, L-head engine which saves gasoline and oil.” As I remember, these engines were as smooth and quite as grandma’s Singer sewing machine.
If you’re a ‘senior’ baby boomer as I am, your grandpa may have owned a 1942 Plymouth. This was the last year of consumer automobile production before government-imposed rationing would force all auto makers to shift their production to military items to fill the pipelines with needed weapons of war. In the brochure, Chrysler proudly states the “products of Chrysler Corporation” including army tanks; anti-aircraft guns; aircraft parts; army vehicles; marine and industrial engines.
FIN MAN FACTOID: By the spring of 1942, gas, steel and rubber were in critically short supply. In order to fill the needs of our military, strict rationing was mandated. A maximum speed of 35 mph was imposed and carpooling was strongly encouraged.