- The Washington Times - Friday, July 28, 2000

Almost six decades have come and gone since Louis Cheslock, a teacher at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, drove home in a shiny new $750 black Plymouth two-door sedan in 1941.
The effect of the occasion was not lost on his 10-year-old son, Barry, who began a lifelong love affair with 1941-vintage Plymouths. As for that first Plymouth, Mr. Cheslock jokes, "It was pretty well equipped, it had a heater."
The 1941 Plymouth saw the family through the gas rationing days of World War II. Afterward it was replaced by a 1947 Plymouth in which Mr. Cheslock learned to drive.
About 40 years of thinking about the old Plymouth was all Mr. Cheslock could endure. He had to have a 1941 Plymouth.
By 1985 he had found a two-tone green four-door sedan. Though it was ailing, he bought it. A second four-door Plymouth in even worse condition was purchased for use as a parts car.
For 10 years Mr. Cheslock not only had the joy of experiencing antique car ownership, but also was learning all the intricacies of 1941 Plymouths as he took parts from one to salvage the other.
By 1995 he had about squeezed all the fun he could from the Plymouth sedan when someone else decided he could not live without the car.
The time was right, so Mr. Cheslock sold the car thinking he had satisfied his appetite for a 1941 Plymouth.
Five years quickly passed. On March 16 of this year, the retired clock maker was cruising E-Bay when a cream-colored 1941 Plymouth convertible flashed on his terminal.
Closer examination disclosed the car was being sold by a Wichita, Kan., man. Although he thought about bidding on the car, reality set in.
He was in the midst of a construction project at home, with normalcy disrupted and no time or place for an antique car. In addition, it was half a continent away.
Ten days later he was once more scanning E-Bay when the 1941 Plymouth convertible reappeared. The high bidder from its earlier appearance had failed to come up with the cash.
Building an addition on his house or not, Mr. Cheslock after seeing the car for the second time thought "this car is meant for me."
After perusing the pictures and making the high bid, Mr. Cheslock was soon informed he was the new owner of the 1941 Plymouth convertible.
As the end of May approached the car was picked up in Kansas and delivered to Virginia.
Mr. Cheslock was anxiously awaiting when the truck pulled up in front of his Arlington home. The 3,206-pound Charlotte ivory car was rolled onto the street on wide, white-sidewall 6.00x16-inch tires.
"Lookswise, it met my expectations," Mr. Cheslock said. "However, it wouldn't start." Consequently, the 16*-foot-long con-
vertible was pushed up the driveway and into the garage.
Even with such adversity Mr. Cheslock was happy he had made the purchase. As it turned out the car was simply out of gasoline.
Research has shown that Plymouth built 10,545 model P-12 Special Deluxe convertibles, each one on a 117-inch wheelbase. This one was built in Detroit and was originally sold in Arkansas.
Beneath the engine hood capped with a ship for a hood ornament is a trusty 201-cubic-inch, 87-horsepower, six-cylinder engine fed by a Carter carburetor that would spring to life when the floor starter was stepped upon.
"They were advertised," Mr. Cheslock said, "as good hill climbers." His Plymouth carried a base price of $970 when new. The sale price of this car undoubtedly would have been higher since it is equipped with an eight-tube deluxe radio as well as a Mopar deluxe heater.
Chrome-plated bumper wing tips along with center bumper superguards were extra-cost accessories. Mr. Cheslock has added optional fog lights and the larger 10-inch hubcaps.
A feeling of deja vu sweeps over Mr. Cheslock whenever he occupies the driver's seat and grips the three-spoke steering wheel. He instinctively reaches for the correct switch or control in the correct location. He knows the top control is at the far side of the dashboard, with the emergency brake warning light at the other end of the dashboard.
The cloth top has a small, but glass, rectangular window unencumbered by defogging wires.
When the restored 1941 Plymouth was delivered, Mr. Cheslock saw the odometer had recorded 67,000 miles which he believes to be accurate. He hasn't added many miles since taking possession, but that is about to change.
"I feel confident of the car," Mr. Cheslock said with an eye toward future journeys.
"I'm hooked on 1941 Plymouths."

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