The first Plymouth automobile debuted on July 7, 1928, to help Chrysler Corporation compete with Chevrolet and Ford in the entry-level market. The name was inspired by Plymouth Rock and the first Pilgrim colony in the United States, and the Mayflower ship was stamped on the radiator.
In 1928, Walter P. Chrysler took over after Horace and John Dodge died and Lewis Reed became an original member of the Chrysler family.
Plymouth went on to become Chrysler’s top-selling brand from 1930 to 1978.
Some notable Plymouths:
• Barracuda: The muscle car had a decadelong run from 1964 to 1974, though the last generation, 1970-74, is considered the true Mustang and Camaro competitor and remains a popular collector car today.
• Road Runner: Dubbed Plymouth’s “muscle car icon” by FCA, the Road Runner was introduced in 1968. It was based on the Plymouth Belvedere. Plymouth paid Warner Brothers $50,000 for the rights to use the Road Runner and Coyote characters throughout the car’s run, according to Ateupwithmotor.com. Chrysler’s engineering department modified the car’s horn to sound like the cartoon bird’s “beep-beep” as well.
• Superbird: Created to entice stock car racing’s Richard Petty back to Plymouth for NASCAR, the Superbird was a modified Road Runner hardtop with an iconic large wing and nose for aerodynamics.
• Voyager: Plymouth was also at center stage when Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca introduced a new product in November 1983: front-wheel-drive minivans in the form of the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan.
Plymouth went defunct at the end of the 1999 model year in Canada and consequently, DaimlerChrysler decided to drop the make after a limited run of 2001 models. This was announced on November 3, 1999. Plymouths were sold at Reed Brothers until 1969, when the Plymouth brand was given to the Chrysler dealers.
Plymouth production ended on June 28, 2001, when the last car, a silver Neon, rolled off the line at a plant in Belvidere, Illinois.
Anyone grow up with a Plymouth in their driveway?