Feibusch's 1950 Plymouth business coupe

Feibusch's 50 Biz Coupe
Bill Ward and Rick Feibusch reflect the ownership of a 1950 Plymouth business coupe
Published by: All Car Central Publishing
Date published: 06/06/2014


Feibusch's 50 Biz Coupe
by Bill Ward

Rick & Carolyn Feibusch of Venice, California are the lucky owners of this beauty. They bought the car in finished form (well, as finished as they get) from a fellow up in Santa Rosa, CA who owned a show-quality 1947 DeSoto and was selling it for the widow of the late owner. We bought it on Thanksgiving 2005 while visiting Rick's folks up there.

The car was stored in Santa Rosa for a few months until they set up a garage at home, then they drove it over 500 miles south to Venice Beach (Los Angeles) without one bit of trouble - Used no oil and got 17mpg.

They have been driving it weekly since and it is quite a hit at cruise nights as it stands out amongst the sea of Fords and Chevies. They replaced the springs (NOS) and shocks and changed the oil - That's it!


They figure that it was restored in the early 1990s, as it came with a number of trophys and awards from the 1993 - 95 era. The owner became ill and it sat in a garage for a long time.

The engine and interior are finished nicely but the front rubber mat is now cracking and will be replaced with carpeting. They were going to change it over to 12 volt but it works so well now, that it may not be necessary.



As a lifelong auto enthusiast and an automotive journalist, historian and appraiser in Los Angeles, I have owned well over 100 cars. This is the latest, I bought it Thanksgiving 2005 when I went to see my folks up in Northern California. A friend up there told me about the advert in the San Francisco Chronicle and, after calling, found that it was located in the little wine country town of Windsor, just a few miles from mom and dad in Santa Rosa.


While my specialty has been British cars, I have always had a soft spot for these early-1950s MoPars, especially Plymouths. While a wee lad growing up in San Francisco these cars were just about everywhere. The police cruisers were Plymouth 4-doors (detectives drove Ford V8s), almost all of the taxi cabs were Plymouths, and many of the city cars were black sedans with the little gold city seal on each front door.

Bill & Betty Ward's Red Plymouth


The best was the little red business coupe used by the chief of our local firehouse. He could often be seen streaking (a relative term in a sidevalve Plymouth) ahead of all of the wonderful open topped, prewar equipment that was kept in museum quality by the SF fire department at that time. I remember that there even were WOODEN WHEELS on one of the hook and ladder trailers pulled by a a shining open-topped Seagraves tractor from the mid-1930s! I lived by the Presidio army base, and because of the port, there were millitary staff cars on the streets on a daily basis. Yep, again, the Army used olive green Plymouth 4-doors and the Navy, little gray coupes. 1946 - 1952 Plymouths were the everyday workhorses of San Francisco in the early 1950s.

At 12 years old I was taught to drive in the pits at the Half Moon Bay Drag Strip by a friend of the family in his Aunt Blanch's '51 Fluid-Drive Dodge, and even though I was smitten with V8 mania (my first car being a '54 Olds Rocket 88 convertible), I jumped at the chance to buy a friend's '51 Plymouth fastback just to be able to drive it around for a while. Sure it was slow but it just made me feel good looking at it ..... and it always got me there without missing a beat.

But I always longed for a business coupe, like the fire chief, the sailors and in the 1960s, the Hells Angels, who seemed to like these and their Dodge Wayfarer counterparts as one could lock a complete disassembled Harley in the trunk!

My first Plymouth Coupe. I was on the way to the paint shop with a Morris Minor that I was working on and spied a baby blue car that looked like business coupe from afar, and yes, yes, it seemed to be a 1950 and oh-my-god!, there was a "For Sale" sign in the window! It was parked in front of my house by that evening.

This is where the story turns bad ..... WARNING ..... don't start a restoration until you have a plan and enough money (or at least credit) to finish the job. I took the blue car apart, bought new moldings from a guy in Massachusetts and had the bumpers replated and then started to remove every single ding and imperfection.


Unfortunately, life took some complicated turns and the Plym ended up finished in primer and parked at my storage between my '61 Nash Metropolitan and my '64 Buick Riviera (yep, I am a nutcase...). There it sat for almost 15 years. I used to visit it weekly and sit behind the wheel and dream about driving it again but ... OK, another WARNING ...... don't collect a dozen cars that need "fixin' up." At that point the car was joined by some Morris Minors, some Rileys, and a '59 El Camino. All ran, but they all needed work, therefore nothing got done.

When we moved to LA in 1990, we only had room for so many cars. We kept the MGs and a few of the Minors, but the rest had to go. I damn near cried when I watched them load my, now primered, Plymouth coupe on the flatbed. Never saw it again but I did tell my wife that if I ever find another coupe in a more finished state, that I probably would buy it. I looked at a few over the years, but never found one that was complete or solid enough or wasn't an ill-conceived hot rod.

Dead Man's Treasure I went to see this green car the day before Thanksgiving. We drove up to the seller's house in our other MoPar, a retro-wheeled PT Cruiser. I knew I would probably buy it if it ran well. It did. It was being sold by a wonderful guy, Al Lovi, who owned an amazing near perfect, UNRESTORED 1947 DeSoto. He was selling it for for the widow of a fellow Windsor, CA, Knights Of Columbus car club member who had died last year. He tossed us the keys and let us take a leisurely drive on lovely California wine country roads. We came back and bought it. He was happy as well to find someone who wasn't gonna make a street rod out of it.

The funny thing is, I never drove it again until we went to pick it up in April, 2006 - It was stored in a cozy garage waiting for me to sell my last Morris Minor and make room in our only garage down here (where rental garages can cost up to $250 a month!) and a break in the very wet NorCal weather at that time of year.


Spring returned to California and a friend bought our 43,000 original Minor convertible. Time for another visit to the folks in NorCal, where I drove our vintage Plymouth coupe home to LA with Carolyn following me in the coupe at 55mph in our "Old School" PT Cruiser - The Cruiser got 34mpg!!!! It usually gets about 24mpg, but that is at 75mph or better. Carolyn is a "close folower" in traffic (drives me nutz!) but in this case I suspect that she even might have been in "drafting" range. How else can you explain 34mpg.........


While driving slow is cheaper on gasoline, but safer is another thing. You have to interact with way more goofy driving at lower speeds, partly people who have not yet realized that they left their driveways or are shaving and talking on the phone between gulps of Starbucks, and partly jackass "boy racers" who have to make their transition between the onramp and the fast lane as unpleasant as possible for the old cars and big rigs that have to lumber along at 55 in the slow lane!

Come summer, we will be bringing the Coupe to events and shows in SoCal - Hope to see some of you there - come by and say Hi! Cheers,
Rick Feibusch Venice Beach, CA
Photos by Rick Feibusch

Rick Feibusch has since sold the Plymouth. (ED.)

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