Brochure images are from the collection of Hemmings Motor News
The United States may still have been suffering the effects of the Great Depression in 1935, but that challenging economic setting only motivated the automakers to improve their offerings, rather than coasting on previous successes. While each of the low-priced Big Three automakers updated their 1935 models, it could be said that Plymouth made the most extensive changes, and arguably had the freshest and most contemporary-looking car in the $400-$700 (roughly equivalent to today’s $7,170-$12,545) price range.
While six-cylinder Chevrolet Standard series models were largely carried over, their upscale Master De Luxe siblings sported GM’s new all-steel “Turret Top” construction and available “Knee-Action” coil spring front suspension. Ford countered with its famous V-8 engine and equally updated styling. But Plymouth had pioneered front coil springs, hydraulic brakes, and steel-intensive construction in that price range, and its new 1935 “PJ” models added a new X-brace frame with additional body mounting points, a modified suspension design, improved engine cooling, and more.
That engine remained Plymouth’s L-head inline-six, which diplaced 201.3-cu.in. and made 82 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, figures that compared favorably to Chevrolet’s OHV 80-hp “Stovebolt” six and Ford’s 85-hp/144 lb-ft, 221-cu.in. V-8.
While styling is a matter of taste, few would argue that the latest Plymouth had delightful details, from its pretty Mayflower mascot to its artful, Streamline Moderne hood vents. And its Airflow-inspired body — available in myriad two- and four-door styles — had a longer, lower appearance than the competing Ford (especially in the hood), with sleek curves similar to the Chevrolet Master, but larger window openings that gave it a lithe, less chubby appearance.
This Chrysler brand offered at least two brochures for 1935, as we have a colorful version that highlights most of the body styles (four-door, four-door touring with extended trunk, two-door, two-door touring with extended trunk, business coupe, rumble seat coupe), leaving out the 7/8-passenger Westchester Suburban wood-bodied wagon, the commercial sedan delivery vehicle, and most surprisingly, the open-top convertible coupe. Some engineering details are shared in this smaller 16-page piece, while much more can be found in the larger, 24-page brochure, with its stylish blue and metallic silver ink. Unfortunately, an image was clipped from this example at some point in its history, but by the process of elimination, we’re guessing it was the “De Luxe 2 Door Touring Sedan.”
The popularity of Plymouth’s line was no surprise, with the Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805-1942 reporting that 63,536 PJ Business Six models were built for 1935, along with 249,940 PJ De Luxe models. These figures couldn’t compete with Chevrolet’s (793,437 for calendar year 1935) or Ford’s (942,439 built that calendar year), which explains the scarcity of Mopar survivors, comparatively speaking.
Have you seen a 1935 Plymouth lately?
Click on the brochure images below to enlarge.