Wagon Wednesday - Plymouth Sport Suburban

Today’s Wagon Wednesday is sponsored by Corgi Toy’s # 445 Plymouth Sports Suburban. The Corgi model is based on the 1958 model of the Suburban station wagon, which Plymouth produced from 1949 to 1978.

At the site of the highest tides in the world.

#219 July ’59 until 1963
The Corgi #219 Plymouth Sports Suburban was released with detailed interior and no suspension in 1959. This car is always brown over cream with red seats. It was among the first Corgi Toys produced with an interior.


#445 Apr ’63 until 1965
In 1963 Corgi re-released this casting as model #445, adding suspension to it. They are usually tan over beige with red seats. A less common variation is red over pale blue with a yellow interior.

#443 June ’63 until 1966
A Mail Van version of the Plymouth Sports Suburban was released in June 1963 and remained in the range until 1966. They are always blue and white.

The 1:1


Prior to 1949, Plymouth had offered only a 4-door “woodie” station wagon, which was expensive not only to build, but also to buy. In 1949, Plymouth revolutionised the US station wagon market by introducing the industry’s first all-steel body station wagon, the Suburban. In addition, for the first time in a low-priced car, automatic “turn-the-key” ignition/starter combination was introduced. The Suburban featured a two-door body (plus tailgate) and seated six. The back row of seating folded flat to allow 42 inches (1,100 mm) of flat floor space, and became popular as a commercial wagon.



The Suburban for 1950 was accompanied by a four-door Special Deluxe wagon, the last of the “woodies”, for those wanting something a little more traditional. There were two Plymouth wheelbases, with the Suburban riding on the shorter 111-inch (2,800 mm) platform (the Special Deluxe was 118.5 inches). Vinyl upholstery was used, as this was more hard-wearing for utilitarian use. Motive power was the Chrysler Corporation’s smallest six, a 217.8 cid L-head that produced 97hp @ 3,800rpm.


The Suburban continued to 1955 with few changes other than annual styling applications (including a new body in 1953 and again in 1955). New for 1953 was the Hydrive automatic transmission, which was really a manual with a torque converter that eliminated shifting between second and third, sharing lubrication between engine and transmission. The 1954 models benefitted from a power upgrade to 117hp from the ageing L-head six, as well as an optional two-speed “Power-Flite” automatic. In 1955 Plymouth introduced a range of V8 engines, extending the power plant range to a 117hp 230cid L-head six, a polyspherical-head 157hp 241cid V8, a 167hp 260cid V8, and a 177hp 260cid V8 (with 4-bbl carb), the former two of which were available for the Suburban. All-new Virgil Exner styling (and a good year for all manufacturers in general) contributed to Plymouth’s best year ever of 705,455 cars.


No longer a Woodie?


The 1956 models came with more V8 power upgrades, up to 180hp 270cid V8, 187hp 277cid V8, 200hp 277cid V8, with a 240hp 303cid V8 for the Fury. Instead of simply being a part of the standard range of models (the Deluxe in 1950, the Concord in 1951-1952, the Cambridge for 1954 and the Plaza in 1955), the Suburban of 1956 was now offered in both Plaza and Belvedere lines. Tail fins were featured for the first time, in what Exner christened the “Forward Look”.


A radical new body arrived for 1957, again by Exner. Indeed, so modern was the design in comparison to the ‘56, that Plymouth’s ad men proclaimed that “Suddenly it’s 1960!” Styling on Suburbans was cleaner, without the huge ornate grille castings Plymouths had worn for so long. Although the sedans rode on a 118-inch (3,000 mm) wheelbase, the wagons were 122 inches (3,100 mm). By now the Suburban was a separate model line in its own right, a move that had come about the previous year.

Suburbans for 1958 were quite similar to those sold in ‘57, but with detail changes like an under-bumper grille and a V in the grille centre. The rear view mirror mounted on the dash moved off-centre toward the driver’s side. The old L-head six was still available and there were now three “Dual Fury” V8s; 225hp, 250hp (4bbl) and 290hp (2x4bbl), as well as a 350hp 350cid “Golden Commando” option.




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