Although the earliest automobiles were open-topped, the convertible concept didn’t appear until the late 1920s. The first drop top to arrive on the scene with a power-assisted top was the 1939 Plymouth Convertible.
The Plymouth lineup originated in 1930 and helped the Chrysler brand prosper through the Great Depression.
The convertible was a rarity, as Plymouth was the only division of the Chrysler brand to offer open-air cars. Of the 417,528 Plymouths that were rolled from the assembly line that year, a mere 5,976 of them were convertible coupes, and an additional 387 of them were four-door convertibles.
Under the hood, the Plymouth’s 3.3L 201 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine, paired with a three-speed sliding gear manual transmission, received 82 horsepower. The convertible had a 117 in. wheelbase with independent coil spring front and semi-elliptic spring rear suspensions, and four-wheel drum brakes.
The revitalized Plymouth debuted a longer length, with wider styling than previous models. With more curvaceous exterior styling, this classic featured a tall, peaked “prow” with horizontal chrome grille trim and a modern V-type windshield. Distinctive rectangular headlamps were integrated into the front fenders, giving the car more personality.
The convertible is still an important part of the Chrysler lineup today. The modern-day 2013 Chrysler 200 Convertible supplies the same open-air driving fun experienced back in 1939, with a more contemporary design and an advanced suite of features.
Do you or someone you know have a classic Plymouth Convertible? Let us know in the comments below.