1959 Plymouth Suburban Sees Daylight After 52 Years, Looks Surprisingly Clean


Introduced in 1934 and still in production as of late 2021, the Chevrolet Suburban is the longest continuously used automobile nameplate in history. But did you know that Plymouth also sold a vehicle with the same badge from 1949 to 1978? This incredible barn find is here to tell the story of America’s other Suburban. Plymouth began using the Suburban name in 1949, a full 15 years after Chevy debuted the proto-SUV. Originally a station wagon version of the De Luxe, the Suburban was quite a revolutionary vehicle, as it was America’s first all-steel body grocery getter. The Suburban became a separate series in 1956 when Plymouth grouped all of its station wagons under this name. Plymouth offered three different models based on the Plaza, Savoy, and Belvedere. The nameplate was dropped in 1961, but it returned between 1968 and 1978 as part of the Plymouth Fury range. The wagon you’re looking at here is a Sport Suburban, which means it was based on the third-generation Plymouth Belvedere. It was also one of the last Plymouths with body-on-frame construction, as the company switched to unibody layouts for cars in 1960. But the really spectacular thing about this Suburban is that it was last registered in 1969. This means that it spent 10 years on the road and a whopping 52 years in storage. How did it happen? Well, the story goes that the owner got involved in a small accident that put a few dents into the left front fender and hood and parked it into the garage to fix it. For some reason, he never got to fix it, and the car remained in storage until 2021, when the now-deceased owner’s family sold the property that included the garage. And even though it spent more than a half-century off the road, the wagon looks surprisingly clean inside and out. Yes, the gray paint has seen better days and the bumper and the hood need a thorough makeover, but all the other body panels are straight, the chrome still shines, and there’s not a lot of surface rust to worry about. The interior also needs some attention, including new carpets and door panel armrests, but it’s still a nice place to spend time in after all these years. It boasts an interesting color combo, too, with door panels in light gray, dark gray, and cream and seats in two shades of red with white inserts. The engine bay and the chassis confirm that the Suburban was stored in proper conditions. The undercarriage is surprisingly clean, while the engine bay appears to be complete. Does it still run? Well, the seller says the keys are missing, and the V8 doesn’t turn by hand, so it’s safe to say that it’s locked up. No surprises here. The mill in question is a 318-cubic-inch (5.2-liter), one of two V8 engines that Plymouth offered in the Sport Suburban. The base model was rated at 230 horsepower, but Mopar also offered a 260-horsepower version. There’s no info as to which one rests on this wagon’s front axle, but it’s definitely a 318. The range-topping, 361-cubic-inch (5.9-liter) “Golden Commando” V8 delivered 305 horses. While 1959 Plymouth Suburbans aren’t as valuable as other classics from the era, they’re definitely more expensive and harder to find than the Belvedere they’re based on. And the fact that this wagon is so clean after 52 years in storage is downright amazing. Sure, the engine may need a rebuild to fire up, but apart from that, this Suburban is just a few small repairs away from becoming a road-worthy survivor. If you’re into wagons that look like Christine’s grumpy cousin, this 1959 Suburban might be your thing. The Mopar is currently available on Craiglist for $14,500. For reference, Concours-condition Suburbans from this era cost more than $40,000.