The Plymouth began life as the Maxwell, the car made famous years later by television?s Jack Benny and his "chauffeur," Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson. The company was acquired by Chrysler to serve as its competitive line and compete directly with Ford and Chevrolet.
Solvent through the depression
The fist car called a Plymouth appeared in 1928. Plymouths were originally only sold at Chrysler dealerships. Later they also became available at DeSoto, Chrysler and Dodge dealerships. The success of the Plymouth line helped keep Chrysler solvent through the Great Depression.
In 1949 Virgil Exner joined the company and took the design chores away from the engineers. His fondness for fins and streamlining, called the "forward look," was an instant hit with the public. "Stylish" was added to the lexicon of words applicable to a company so far know for being only "reliable" and "affordable." Sales remained brisk through the 1950s, and Plymouth maintained the number three spot just below Ford and Chevrolet.
A history of logos
Plymouth sported a number of unique and memorable logo and hood ornament designs through the years. Originally, Plymouths used a representation of the Mayflower as its logo. Sometime in the 1940s the two-color stylish logo know as the "rocket ship" design appeared. There were many variations of the two designs over the years, always featuring a flowing line that suggested flight. The two designs converged in a new stylized "sailing ship" design in the 1990s, shortly before the Plymouth line came to an end. Its simple wing pattern on an unassuming polygon is perhaps the best known today.
Saved by the muscles
During the 1960s, Plymouth's design became more conventional and sales suffered. The number three sales spot was overtaken by other automakers, most notably by Rambler and Pontiac. If not for its forays into the so-called "muscle car," Plymouth may have ended then and there. Dan Lyons and Jason Scott wrote in their book "Muscle Car Milestones" that ?Plymouth made the muscle car market fun.?
Chrysler struggled during the 1970s and, some say, neglected one of its prouder lines -- the Plymouth. The make was discontinued in 2001, leaving a legacy of reliable, sporty and dependable cars that will long be remembered fondly by enthusiasts and the nostalgic alike.