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A lot of water has flown under the bridge since Plymouth released its last car model. The final performance took place in 2001. However, the brand is still holding pride of place in the motor-car manufacturing history. In olden times Plymouth vehicles were kings in the low-priced US passenger market but managed to overextend themself, paving the way to the line of pickups, vans and commercial trucks. Let’s have a flashback to the most symbolic events.
The first appearance of Plymouth vehicles – a sole creation of Chrysler Corporation (now DaimlerChrysler) - dates back to 1928. It was at Madison Square Garden when Chrysler, for the first time ever, introduced a competitor to the entry-level budgetary solutions from Ford and Chevrolet. The first branded cars boasted all standard features as well as a unique facility – expanding hydraulic brakes.
During the 1930s (a period of Great Depression), Plymouth played an integral part in Chrysler’s strives to keep afloat. Solid sales of low-priced vehicles ensured the survival of the company, while a number of other makers sank to the bottom. In 1933 it released PC model with a flathead-6 engine and a downdraft carburetor. Later on, it was advanced to PD ‘DeLuxe’ model. These creations became a hit and were shipped to Australia, UK (under Chrysler Kew brand), Denmark, and Sweden.
In 1961 Chrysler introduced the Valiant that dramatically boosted overall sales. A few years later Plymouth settled down to the production of cars on a completely new platform. Those were all-big units, including Belvedere and Fury.
Era of Memorable Cars
During 1960s-1970s Plymouth has unveiled its most memorable solutions. Hence, in 1964 the company received acclaim due to the output of the Barracuda. This vehicle is regarded to be the first sporty solution in Plymouth’s inventory, based on Valiant. The model was available in two modifications with a small 273 cubic engine or Slant Six engine. Its main target was to rival Mustang from Ford and Camaro from Chevy – and it eventually succeeded to become a top-flight American muscle car.
In addition, the designer launched Belvedere GTX model in two versions: a convertible with Hemi 426 V8/Super Commando 440 engine & a coupe with hardtop and bucket-seats. The Road Runner was developed particularly for sports purposes; it joined Chrysler’s line of units with big-clock engines and manual 4-speed transmission.
In 1978 a new compact vehicle, called Horizon (Dodge Omni twin), came to the limelight. Thereat, the maker sparkled with a range of other models, including Acclaim, Neon, Laser, Volare, and Breeze; the latter were rebadged modifications of Mitsubishi and Dodge solutions.
The Last Display
In between 1990 and 2001, Plymouth has partially lost its identity. In order to improve the situation, the team decided to present all new vehicles with a new sailboat logo. Yet, whatever marketing mix was applied, the brand hasn’t managed to boost sales and return customers’ appeal. Stats testify that 1973 was the most fruitful year in terms of sales with 973.000 units sold; after 1990 the company rarely surpassed the 200.000 margin.
In this light, Chrysler attempted to reline the vehicles on a new full-size LH platform, but afterwards declined the idea. In late 1990s only four models were marketed under Plymouth badge: Breeze (mid-size sedan), Neon (compact car), Voyager and Grand Voyager (minivans), Prowler (sports car).
In late 1999 DaimlerChrysler announced it would phase out the production of Plymouth vehicles. In 2001, the last year of existence, the company introduced Neon, PT Cruiser, Voyager, and Prowler models under Chrysler or Dodge logos.
Trucks & Vans
Plymouth was well known for constructing vans and commercial trucks alongside mainstream passenger models. Nonetheless, most of its pickups, delivery trucks, mini-vans, and other solutions were rebadged Chrysler or Dodge: Voyager (van and mini-van) – Dodge Sportsman and Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country/Chrysler Voyager respectively, Trail Duster (sport utility vehicle) – Dodge Ramcharger, Scamp (pickup, front-wheel) – Dodge Rampage.