I have always been amazed by how many men who were around my father’s age had a Plymouth for their first car back in the 1930s. When Chrysler launched the Plymouth, it was a car with looks and features a cut above a Chevy or a Ford. It’s true that the Plymouth lacked the Ford’s eight cylinder appeal, but it more than made up for it in looks and extra quality. Early ‘30s Plymouths are particularly handsome and may have been even fancier than I thought.
According to Terry Kesselring, the leather upholstery in the 1934 Plymouth PE coupe he brought to the Hot Rod & Restoration Show (www.hotrodshow.com) was a factory option. The car is an AACA National 1st Place winner that was turned out by Kesselring’s business—the Antique Auto Shop—in Hebron, Ky. This shop started business way back in 1969 and has done cars from a 1912 Rauch & Lange electric Stanhope to a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T with a 440-cid V-8 and a four-speed manual gearbox.
In 2004, the business moved into a clean and modern 14,000-sq.-ft. facility. It does full or partial restorations, mechanical repairs, show winning body work and paint and metal fabrication. Packard restorations are a specialty.
Getting to meet restorers such as Terry Kesselring was one nice benefit of attending the Hot Rod & Restoration Show this year. Previously, the car show part of the event was pretty much a hot rod display with one or two restorations. This year the number of restored cars in the Steele Rubber Show Car Program was increased and it made the entire event more comprehensive.
There weren’t fewer hot rods—there were just more restorations.