1932 Plymouth PB: Comfortable cruiser

Staff reports
Farm Forum

In 1932, one of the more popular Plymouth models was the PB. It was a 2,875-pound four-door sedan car that carried a base price of $635.

A total of 38,066 Plymouth PB models were manufactured, and a farmer in rural Maryland purchased one of them. After the newness wore off, the PB became the mode of transportation around his farm. Years later it was sold to a father-and-son team who over the course of seven years restored the handsome black-over-maroon car with black fenders.

The third owner, Ed F. Ianuzi, was on an outing with his wife and had stopped for a snack when they noticed an antique-car show underway across the street and became captivated by a freshly restored 1932 Plymouth four-door sedan with a “for sale” sign in the window. Ianuzi inquired of the owner and was told two others also were interested — he’d have to wait his turn.

Mr. and Mrs. Ianuzi were just a few blocks into their test drive with the seller in the back seat when Ianuzi made an offer at a traffic light; the seller accepted and Ianuzi’s wife handed him the check she had already completed. The elated Ianuzis returned home and the Plymouth was delivered on the back of a truck the following Monday.

With great care, the Plymouth was rolled off the truck on its four 5.25×18-inch, four-ply Allstate Safety Tread tires with a fifth one gracing the rear of the car. Ianuzi entered the cozy cabin, turned the ignition key with his left hand, stepped on the starter with his right foot, and the Plymouth began to purr rhythmically.

At the top center of the wood-grained dashboard is the freewheeling control; to the left is the choke, and to the right is the throttle. Below those three knobs is a chrome-plated instrument cluster with a cylindrical speedometer in the center, oil pressure and water temperature gauges to the left, and ammeter and gas gauge to the right.

The driver’s vision through the 9-inch-high, one-piece windshield is kept clear with the aid of an overhead vacuum wiper. The passenger can’t see where he’s going — unless the owner paid for the optional right wiper. The wiper hung down from the top to allow the windshield to be pushed open at the bottom for greater ventilation.

Designers of the 1932 Plymouth went to great lengths to visually enlarge the car. One of their ploys was to extend the engine hood past the fire wall up to the windshield, thus eliminating a vertical line that would visually shorten the car. However, this design created a problem since the cowl was effectively eliminated; the solution was to cut a pair of rectangles at the rear of the lengthened hood and allow the two cowl vents to protrude through the hood.

The designers outdid themselves in the rear passenger compartment. Imagine, a low-priced car offering a floor-mounted foot rail, in addition to contoured armrests and, above them, recessed thumbscrew cranks to operate the quarter-panel windows.

The front-seat passenger had access to a pocket in the right front door. Ianuzi found some weak parts at the rear of the car that he promptly cut out and replaced with healthy metal. He then had the hind quarters of the car repainted. All parts of the black top, maroon body, black fenders, ivory 40-spoke wheels, and pinstriping match perfectly.

Ianuzi went so far as to clean, paint, and polish the exposed parts of the undercarriage. Even the nuts and bolts holding the car together were polished. The small hubcaps were slightly less than perfect, so Ianuzi located a perfect replacement set. In 1932 the Plymouth was capable of a 0-to-40 speed in 9.7 seconds, with a top speed of 70 mph.

Even though it’s a comfortable cruiser, Ianuzi never drove it to work. And who can blame him?

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