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roadhound

Mystery Coupe in Echo Canyon

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Recently, I was driving the Lincoln Highway through Echo Canyon and spotted an unusual sight just to the south of the roadbed. Toward the eastern end of the canyon, down a 10 foot embankment, and across a small creek was the remains of what looked to me like a 1940's era coupe. The paint was faded, there were bullet holes in the door, and it was half submerged in the soil.

As I hiked down to get a closer look a number of questions popped into my head. What year, make, and model is it? How did it get there? How long has it been there? Was it the sight of a shootout between police and bank robbers? 

The water in the creek was to wide for me to leap across and short of ripping out a fencepost I couldn't find a suitable material to make a bridge, so, I was left to making my observations from a distance. I was able to see that all the glass was missing with the possible exception of a tail light on the drivers side. It didn't look like the steering wheel or much of the interior was intact but it was difficult to tell with it being submerged in the soil the way it was. I did observe a small piece of the rear bumper sticking up out of the earth which leads me to believe that the frame is intact.

If anybody knows the story of this relic I would be interested in hearing about it.

Roadhound
http:\\rick-pisio.pixels.com
http:\\www.rwphotos.com 

echo coupe 1.jpg

echo coupe 2.jpg

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Looked through my 'Encyclopedia of American Cars 1930-1980' to no avail.  Will go out on a limb and say it looks like either immediate pre-war (1941-42) or just after (1946-47) to me.

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Thanks mga707 for taking the time to look through your encyclopedia. My thoughts in regard to the age of the vehicle were along the same lines. The car is way before my time but I have read that post war models varied little from their pre-war predecessors.  After spending an hour or so googling different makes and years my best guess would have to be a late 40's Plymouth or Dodge, although I haven't yet found anything that matches exactly.

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1 hour ago, roadhound said:

Thanks mga707 for taking the time to look through your encyclopedia. My thoughts in regard to the age of the vehicle were along the same lines. The car is way before my time but I have read that post war models varied little from their pre-war predecessors.  I have no clue as to the make.

Correct.  Most '46-'47, and many '48 models as well, were '41-'42 bodies with 'freshened' trim.  It was a unique seller's market given the pent-up demand caused by the lack of new car production during the war years, so anything that was built sold, usually at or above above sticker price (lots of 'under the table' payments to dealers to guarantee a spot on the delivery list!).  The 'independent' manufacturers came out with 'all-new' postwar cars first, starting with Studebaker in mid-1946 with their Raymond Loewy-designed 'aero-look' 1947 models.  Hudson, Nash, and Packard all followed at some point during the 1947 model year.  The 'big 3' were slower, with both GM and Ford holding off until the 1948 model year to bring out all-new top end brands (Lincoln, Cadillac, and some Buick and Oldsmobile models) and until 1949 for their 'bread and butter' lower-priced marques.  Chrysler Corp. was even slower, keeping their pre-war bodies through early 1949 and replacing them with a 'second series' of new 1949 designs in mid-model year. 

Edited by mga707

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Ah,  my boys, me thinks 1946 Plymouth 2 door Deluxe.  You should have been there...... when they came out! :)  The rear tail light distinct rectangular with chrome trim), elongated rear side window, and fastback line are keys.for me.

Thanks Roadhound and MGA for the great ride!

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!!

 

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Outstanding! I thought it was a Plymouth or a Dodge but the only good view I could find was of a Dodge and the forward rake of the doorpost didn't look right. 

Now that we know what it is we have to figure out how it got there. I heard a story told by an old timer sitting in the corner of the bar in Ogden that may answer that very question.

The Legend of Elmer Lockwood

He grew up on a farm in Oklahoma during the depression, the 6th of seven children. He served his country during the second world war but wasn't a good soldier. His Army buddies call him "Screwball." He set the record for hours of KP duty in his division. When he got back he was unable to hold a job and suffered today from what we would call PTSD.

It was raining hard on the day before Christmas Eve in 1949 when he got in his '46 Plymouth 2 door Deluxe Sedan and headed up Weber Canyon to the small town of Morgan to rob a bank.  

During his escape he lost his bearings and got turned around in the hard blowing snow . Instead of heading west to the flat, open, land surrounding the Great Salt Lake he headed east, further into Weber Canyon. That limited him to 2 options; head south on the old Lincoln Highway towards Coalville and back towards the Great Salt Lake or head east, towards Evanston and wide open Wyoming. He figured they would be waiting for him in Coalville and hoped that the Wyoming State Troopers hadn't been alerted yet. East it was.

As he sped through the town of Echo he could see 2, maybe 3, Utah Troopers in his rear view mirror about a half mile back. He turned east and headed up Echo Canyon Road, right foot pushing as hard as it could into floor trying to get all he could out of the 217 cubic inches under the hood. Would the 95HP be enough?  

The Troopers were gaining on him.

Six miles into Echo Canyon, on a long straight stretch he lost traction on a patch of ice and felt the the rear end skid out the right. He slid sideways off the road and down the embankment finally coming to a stop on the bank of Echo Creek. He tried to start the motor but it wouldn't turn over. Trying to make one last stand he grabbed his handgun, pulled on the door handle, but before he could get out of the car the Troopers filled the door of the Plymouth with holes.  

The police left the car where it landed and in time the creek bed built up around it leaving just enough  exposed to frustrate anyone who tried to figure out what it was and how it got there.

The locals say that on a snowy winters night, on the eve of Christmas Eve, if you stand beside the car you can hear the ghost of Elmer Lockwood tell you "it's a 1946 Plymouth 2 door Deluxe Sedan."

46 Plymouth Deluxe in Echo Creek

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Rick,

That is amazing!! To think that you were in that bar to hear that story, and that the fellow telling it remembered Elmer was driving a 1946 Plymouth 2 Door Deluxe Sedan. Unbelievable! And the ghost to boot. That's a story almost too good to be true! :) Did you get the old timer's name?

Dave

 

PS I love the B&W.

 

 

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Rick,

That's a gem! If you keep telling that story before you know it, Elmer and his girl, Big Nose Mable, will become legend along with his bright yellow 1946 Plymouth 2 door deluxe sedan with the bored and stroked 6.

 

Of course I knew the '46 Plymouth as a kid, and if there ever was a muscle car, that was it. Zero to sixty in under a minute, and a true 70 mph on a long enough measured course with a tail wind, like maybe the Bonneville Salt Flats.

 

We had names for those cars in my day. My Buick convertible was a "deuce and a quarter" because it had a 250 hp engine under the hood. The '46 was called "Buck with a nickle change" I suppose because it had a blazing 95 horse power six to move its 3200 pounds.

 

Well, you have captured one of the old west's great events, in word and photos. Will there be a music video?

 

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

 

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Dave,

Glad you are enjoying my attempt at putting words to a picture. Maybe next time I will tell you the story of how I met a gentlemen named Piggy Malone standing beside the railroad tracks not too far east of where the photo of Elmer and Mable's Plymouth was taken.

I thought of going the Bonnie and Clyde route with it but then I would have to come up with the whole backstory for Big Nose Mable and explain how she could go from zero to sixty in less than a minute.

Your muscle cars and mine were a bit different. My era had 289's, 302's & 454's although by the time I got my license the first gas crisis had already hit and I couldn't afford the gas for any of them.

I am a bit confused on the deuce and a quarter, wouldn't that be 225hp?

Rick

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On 7/10/2019 at 9:30 AM, Keep the Show on the Road! said:

Of course I knew the '46 Plymouth as a kid, and if there ever was a muscle car, that was it. Zero to sixty in under a minute, and a true 70 mph on a long enough measured course with a tail wind, like maybe the Bonneville Salt Flats. [/quote]

 

Yep, checked the reference book again and your '46 Plymouth was indeed the fastest of the six-cylinder-engined 'Low Priced Three' models that year.  A whopping 95 horses, five more than either the Ford or Chevy sixes.  Of course, one could 'step up' to a 'flathead' V-8 Ford with an even hundred hp, but one would still be stuck with Ford's ancient suspension of the era, which Henry Senior had insisted by kept over son Edsel's protests.  After Edsel's untimely death (that father-son dynamic was so tragic) and grandson Henry II's release from the Navy to 'right' the company (and it's massive defense contracts) from dying Henry's dotage,  'Henry the Deuce' and his 'Whiz Kids' engineering team would soon pull FoMoCo out of it's long slow decline.  But for '46 your Plymouth was the choice that year for speed and handling.  All would change when the 'new' 49s came out, and Oldsmobile's amazing 'Rocket' V-8, when put into the lighter GM 'A' body (Olds was fortunate to offer both 'A' and 'B' bodies, being at the center of GM's hierarchy of brands) would become THE choice for both dirt-track racers and moonshiners.  Who were often the same people in that era.     

 

 

 

 

Edited by mga707
clarification of edit

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MGA707,

Gees, I feel like I am sitting at the foot of the master!!  All my knowledge comes from memory, and that ain't good! :)

My recollections of those days are as a school kid.  I didn't "hit the road" until I had a 1948 straight eight Pontiac in the 50s. I used to drag race it on 1st Street in San Jose. 

I was the king of the one block race. Ford V8's would take me in two blocks, but the signals were timed so if you went faster than the speed limit, you always hit a red signal at the next intersection. The Pontiac had enough torque and low gear to pull tree stumps, so it was always ahead in one block.

The good old days.....:)

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road.

 

 

 

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