1928 Plymouth 1937 Plymouth Plymouth: The First Decade

March 18, 2001 – Lick Observatory and Plymouth Ranch

The California Chrysler Products Club tour met at the Lick Observatory high above Silicon Valley. The weather was perfect and the views were stunning. To the east, over the Central Valley haze, the snow clad Sierra Nevada range stood out sharp and clear. To the north Mt. Diablo was visible. Unfortunately the San Francisco Bay was fogged in. After a tour of the 36" refractive telescope built at the end of the 1890s, we headed down San Antonio Valley road to “The Junction”.

The Junction is literally in the middle of nowhere: About 50 miles from San Jose on a very steep, narrow winding road. About 40 miles from Livermore on a narrow and winding road. Based on the map, it is about 40 miles from I-5 on what looks to be another narrow and winding road. Since it is a good place to stop in the middle of picturesque country side, a large number of people make it a stopping point. There must have been hundreds of motorcycles there.

On this particular day, The Junction was also the destination of a tour put on by a Bay Area chapter of the Horseless Carriage Club of America. A large number of pre-1916 cars, many of show quality, were there. In addition to the brands we think of today (Buick, Cadillac and Ford) were some of the grand old names: Stevens-Duryea, Thomas Flyer, Pope-Hartford, and Studebaker. I had never heard of a Patterson before, but there was one there. Of the more unusual cars, there was an air cooled Franklin and two steam cars: A Stanley and a White.

After a “pre-lunch” at The Junction, we toured a few miles north toward Livermore to the "World Famous Plymouth Ranch" for a tour and the real lunch. Richard Main and Linda Turnipseed have a large spread of land where Richard has gathered together more than thirty 1955 and 1956 Plymouths. Quite a sight to see. The tour ended at about three in the afternoon and small groups convoyed north to Livermore and from there to their various homes.

Lick Observatory We met at the Lick Observatory high above Silicon Valley
Lick Observatory A nice Chrysler.
Lick Observatory work
                    vehicle Complete with a faded University of California sticker and California exempt tags, this military surplus L-6 engined Power Wagon stands ready for duty.
Lick Observatory One final look at the cars before heading down the mountain.
Roadside stop A roadside stop. There were about twenty vehicle on the tour. Cars ranged in age from 1933 through the mid-1980s. There were two very nice 1937 P4 Plymouths.
HCCA at “The
                    Junction” HCCA cars at “The Junction”. Here we have a Buick, a Patterson and a couple of Fords.
HCCA at “The
                    Junction” HCCA cars at “The Junction”. Here we have an air cooled Franklin, a Thomas Flyer and in the background a Studebaker..
HCCA at “The
                    Junction” HCCA cars at “The Junction”. How many Pope-Hartfords have you seen?
HCCA at “The
                    Junction” HCCA cars at “The Junction”. This Stanley steamer was in show condition.
HCCA at “The
                    Junction” HCCA cars at “The Junction”. Stevens-Duryea was an important manufacturer in the early days of American auto manufacturing. How many have heard of it today?
HCCA at “The
                    Junction” HCCA cars at “The Junction”. The Stevens-Duryea and a car which I have forgotten the make of. I wish I had taken the time to record every car there. Hats off to the HCCA for fielding a wonderful collection of cars on their tour.
HCCA at “The
                    Junction” HCCA cars at “The Junction”. Another shot of the Franklin, Thomas Flyer. I think one of the other cars is a Mitchell.
Barn at “Plymouth
                    Ranch” The barn at the “Plymouth Ranch”. There is only room out of the weather for a small number of cars.
Barn at “Plymouth
                    Ranch” A future convertible.
The field at
                    “Plymouth Ranch” The field at the “Plymouth Ranch”. Quite an amazing collection to have gathered in only a few years.