Plymouth Suburban

Here is another interesting steering wheel that was part of our recent haul. The ship logo gives away its Plymouth brand, and this 1950 Suburban is one of the models that it would have been found on:

1950 Plymouth Brochure

Unlike the pre-war woodies, the Suburban featured an all-steel body with a box-type steel frame. Not exactly a speed machine, it was powered by a 217.8 cubic inch six cylinder L-head engine that generated 97 hp @3600 RPMs.

According to ads, the seats were upholstered with “luxurious, long-wearing plastic” and were completely washable. Behind the rear seat was 42″ of cargo space. The rear seat was able to be folded down, however, with the metal back forming part of the floor. In that position, the cargo space was 68″ long, 55″ wide and 36″ high.

1951 Plymouth Brochure

This is an interesting 1950 ad for the Suburban. The dealership is uncertain when it will have access to more Suburbans due to “work stoppages in coal and in automobile plants”.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a table of “Annual work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers from 1947-2018”. According to that table, work stoppages in 1949 resulted in 43,420,000 days of idleness or .38 percent of total working time. That percent was only exceeded in 1959. Workers in diverse industries throughout the country were demanding better wages, insurance and pension plans, and the automobile industry was no exception. In 1950, the “Big Three” automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler, all reached agreements with the UAW. Chrysler’s agreement only came after a particularly painful stoppage that began just as the production of 1950 models approached top volume and which lasted more than 100 days.

In 1950, LA TImes editors drove this new Suburban down the coast to Ensenada for the “Travelogue of the Week”.


“All Purpose Plymouth Suburban.” Detroit Free Press, 18 June 1950, p. E-8.

“Chrysler Strike Idles 112,000 Auto Workers.” Mount Pleasant News, 25 January 1950, p. 1.

“Continued Picketing May Delay Reopening of Chrysler Plants.” The Kokomo Tribune, 5 May 1950, p. 1.

Lawrence, David. “Chrysler Strike Shown to Have Been a Blunder”. Alton Evening Telegraph, 25 May 1950, p. 6.

Plymouth. Advertisement. The Daily Missoulian, 19 February, 1950, p. 12.

Rogers, Lynn. “Contracts Depicted in Baja California.” The Los Angeles Times, 10 September 1950, p. V-8.

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