Q: I read your column and enjoy it very much. I wanted to know if you have any information about the 1950 Plymouth Business Coupes? My husband and I own one and it is a 5-window coupe. We are having it restored and wondered how many are around? I have attended many car shows and I have yet to see one. Is that because not very many were made?
I would appreciate anything that you can find out for me. Our Plymouth is at LJC Jr. Enterprises in Vestal, N.Y. where all the paint and body work will be done. Any information will be much appreciated. Carl and Joyce Rogers, Rome, PA.
A: Carl and Joyce, you do have a rare piece of automotive history on your hands, as just 16,861 1950 Plymouth Business Coupes were ever produced in a total run of 610,954 Plymouth cars that year.
Powered by a 217.8 cubic inch inline 6-cylinder that produced 97-horses, the 1950 models were pretty much a re-run of the all-new, post war 1949 Plymouths with a few grille and rear end tweaks. Noted for its two-door only, (no back seat design) and room for just three-passengers in the front, Plymouth Business Coupes became favorites with drag racers and also was the very first car Lee Petty, of the famous Petty racing family, drove in NASCAR competition.
However, the most famous 1950 Plymouth Business Coupe was the "High and Mighty" fielded by a group of Chrysler Corporation engineers. Their car (see photo) featured huge exhaust headers, very high stance and a powerful 354-inch Hemi racing engine. It wasn't much on looks, but boy did it run and became a prelude of things to come from one of the most famous factory racing teams in history, The Ramchargers. Their first race car "High and Mighty" won the C/Altered class at the 1959 U.S. Nationals.
As you note in your letter, your car is at LJC JR. Enterprises, which happens to be owned and operated by Larry Carasea. It turns out that Carasea himself is a well-know drag racer and noted for his abilities with body work, paint application and producing some dazzling, magazine quality cars and trucks. Ask him about the Ramchargers when you go to see your car, and he'll tell you even more about these classic 1950 Business Coupes.
In summary, I'd say your 1950 Plymouth Business Coupe is more rare these days than many think, especially when you take into consideration the normal attrition of a car like this and junkyard crushing. In my opinion, I'd guess that perhaps a few thousand Business Coupes have survived, if that.
Thank you for the nice letter, and I'll soon see Larry as we race at the same track during the warm days, Skyview Drags in Tioga Center, N.Y. When we get some photos, we'll let our readers see your Plymouth Business Coupe, although it will be a stock restoration instead of a "High and Mighty" replica.