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A Tale of Two Plymouths | The 1959 Plymouth Station Wagon

Guest Post by Billy Elliott

When I was about eight years old, Dad bought our latest used car. He must have really needed this latest one. Our family was growing, and we needed a bigger car for sure. Dad also needed a dependable car for work. So one day, he comes home on payday with our “new” used station wagon.

It was a 1959 Plymouth 2-door station wagon. It was actually called a “Suburban”. There was some sort of dispute between Chrysler-Plymouth and General Motors over the name “Suburban” around that time (GM won).

1959 red plymouth station wagonPhoto Courtesy Richard Rowlands, Venice, California

The Plymouth Suburban was sort of like a sedan delivery. It was a no-frills car, no V-8 (it was a six), and no automatic transmission (it was a “three on the tree” column shift 3-speed). There was no carpeting; instead, it had a full rubber floor-mat from front to back. It’s faded blue paint wasn’t very impressive, but the fins on the back that were so typical of the late 50’s styling were kind of cool.

A payday or two later, I remember Dad walking through the door with the announcement: “I bought another car.”

We all ran outside to see what we were going to be riding around, and were amazed that Dad actually bought ANOTHER 1959 Plymouth Station Wagon!

There in our driveway sat looked like a brand new ’59 Plymouth four-door station wagon. It was SALMON PINK and shined like a new penny. The interior was perfect and even had the original transparent-plastic seat covers on it. This car was nice! It had AIR CONDITIONING and a BIG V-8 with a PUSH-BUTTON Automatic Transmission! These buttons had the letters


printed on them, stacked up tall next to the speedometer. The driver actually pushed a button for the gear they wanted. Detroit was very cool back then! We thought we had died and gone to junkyard heaven!
THIS car was a 9-passenger! There where two forward-facing seats, like in a sedan; but the third seat faced to the rear. It had a power window control next to the third seat, and I loved to drive with the window down (still do).

“I only paid $50 for it,” said Dad.

“They should have paid you to take it off their hands,” said Mom. “It’s so ugly!”

But Dad really found a jewel that Friday night, and it was our family car for a while.

One night, Dad and Mom were driving in our neighborhood with JENX67 sitting between them in the front seat (no car seat law back then – OR SEATBELTS for that matter). As they drove through our neighborhood, someone decided that the windshield needed a big hole in it, so they threw a rock and nailed it dead center. Shards of glass flew inside the car and into the faces of the three front-seat passengers.

Now, I’ve seen my Father mad before. But I can’t remember seeing him THAT MAD! He was furious, and stopped the car and searched for the person who delivered the stone to our windshield. Lucky for whoever did it, Dad did not find him. We were all relieved the rock-thrower remained anonymous — for his own good. Our Dad would have probably ended up in jail that night if he had.

After that, the Pink Plymouth sat parked in our driveway with a big hole in the front glass. It never got fixed, because apparently to replace the windshield would cost more than the $50.00 Dad paid for THE CAR…and sadly went to the junkyard one day along with the Blue Plymouth.

Today, American STATION WAGONS are very collectible; especially PINK ones with TAILFINS, PUSHBUTTON AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS, and A/C.


Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. jenX67

    @Kat – Thanks for your support of Bill! And, yes, SALMON. Ewwww. Like Flesh colored. blech.

  2. jenX67

    @Taru – Thanks for leaving a comment. It’s always nice to know who is reading and have new folks participate in the dialogue. I’ll check out your site.

    @okiesister – Thanks for encouraging Bill’s posts!

    @Nadine Hightower – That is such a great story – about getting sideswiped and the $50 car. Some stories are universal!

  3. Taru

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  4. jenX67

    @yogi – That is SOOOO true. They all look alike!

  5. Poetikat

    I love these guest posts of your brother’s, Jen. It’s like being in the back seat. I nearly jumped for real when that rock hit the windshield. I was worried you’d all been scarred with the broken glass.

    Salmon pink, huh? I’d love to see a pic of the old girl.


  6. wildbillyelliott

    You gotta love that haircut in the picture of us together at the top of this post!

    What’s up with the “combed-forward” look?

    Mom used to tell the barber to “leave enough on top so he can comb it back”.

    I guess that day we were out of DIPPITY-DOO.

  7. Nadine Hightower

    How funny….My ExHubby paid $50 for our 59 Olds!!

    One of the unique things about the Olds was the speedometer. It turned and was different colors the faster you drove the car. It was a bottom of the barrel model no air and no carpet. But a tank just the same. It had been in 2 wrecks before I got a hold of it. a crunched fender and a dent in the door.
    I was side swiped once but no damage done. A tree fell on it in the driveway….I just drove it right out and kept on going, no damage done.
    Yeah, Detroit was cool back then and made cars to endure.

  8. okiesister

    Cute picture of you guys!
    Another great guest post.

  9. Yogi♪♪♪

    It seems that back then they were into more gizmos than now. I can’t hardly tell a Toyota from a BMW from a KIA any more.
    I had an acquaintance in high school who had a car with the push button transmission. What’s wrong with that idea?

  10. Anonymous

    Isaac says that the car today could get as much $100,000. Your dad was way ahead of his time.


  11. Debra W

    Great guest post, Jen’s big brother! It’s interesting seeing the perspectives of different siblings who grew up in the same family!

    Jen, when you get a moment, pop over to my blog. Make sure you read my post on Sunday, March 22.

    Hope you are having a great week!


  12. jenX67

    Great story, Bill. I really love the series, and everyone can relate to the windshield replacement being more expensive than the car was worth. I sure wish I had a big pink ’59 Plymouth. In my dreams I’m driving the ugliest used car around town, working out all my isooz and fearz. =)

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