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New St. Peterburg, Florida Patrol Cars….1944

A St. Petersburg, Florida press photo dated June, 22, 1944, with the following caption; Purchased last Saturday by the city of St. Petersburg at a cost of $1,186.85 each, these three new Plymouth sedans will go into service as police cruisers as soon as the radios are installed, as announced by Chief of Police E.D. Vaughn.

With only seven cruisers now available to the police department and many of the present cars in poor condition, the new cars will alleviate the critical need for more cars.

Shown with the cars left to right are acting Lieutenant M.A. Shiver, Patrolman L.P. Kraus and P.A. Ambrose.

What can the Plymouth experts tell us about these cars ? The Old Motor photo.

7 responses to “New St. Peterburg, Florida Patrol Cars….1944

  1. These are all 1942 Plymouths. The cars with the short fender molding and deleation of the rear fender moldings was a 1942 change to cut costs on the use of metals and plating. I believe these are all special deluxe models and Plymouths were a popular vehicle for police use.

  2. Posted for Dave Mellor, This looks like 3 levels of trim on 42 models. The near car has a more deluxe bumper and beauty rings than the center car. Both of these have the chrome and more trim so they are most likely pre -cut off(Feb 42). It could be deluxe and standard or as parts dwindled. The far car appears to be a blackout model with drab paint and painted hubcaps and trim.They say after the cutoff the manufacturers weren’t allowed to sell cars to the general public. They still made staff cars and stockpiled them to be used as needed. Towards the end of the war they had way more than they would need so they would release a few to places like this

  3. Did Chrysler continue production of 1942 models through the war years? Obviously regular production for civilian consumption was shut down, but were Plymouth sedans built for military and government use?

    • John, You are thinking about this the same way as I have. They may look like 1942 models but unless they were left overs from a stockpile, I would date them as to the year they were produced and they may in fact be 1944 models.

      Maybe someone with knowledge of war time production can clarify this for us?

  4. According to Don Butler’s Plymouth-DeSoto story, Plymouth – and all U.S. car production was stopped by law from February 9, 1942, although several manufacturers had already converted to war production. Some time around then, and probably by the same law, cars could no longer be sold to the public. They were held for release to emergency users, which is probably what happened here, although it’s amazing they lasted into 1944.

    Some truck production resumed in 1944, but as far as I know, no cars were produced until the first postwar car, a Ford, rolled off the assembly line in 1946.

    • as an 80 year old, i’ll agree that ’41’ was the last production year for Plymouth…although the cars were registered
      as 42’s. My father had one, a coupe, and used it through the war as he was the local M.D. Was not until late 46
      new cars were available…

  5. As noted they are 42’s. two of them are “blackout” models indicated by painted trim rather that chromed pot metal or stainless. When production stopped so did sales, and untransported production was warehoused and released on a war priority need based applications. Police Departments were probably pretty high on the needs list.

    The 46 plymouth was mechanically identical, but there were some notable sheetmetal changes. The aero air scoop under the front bumper was deleted, and the rear fender wheel cut out was changed from the full tire exposure to a more covered look.

    Front parking lamps were relocated to align with a grille bar onthe post war models.

    Dashboards were also redesigned for post war models.

    The middle car is a on blackout model and the other two must be early blckout models as they still had plated bumpers, and stainless rocker moundings. Later blackouts lost these items as they got used up from the parts bins.

    Dodge also produced black models in 42. Not sure if Chrylser and DeSoto were so effected.

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