27 July 2013
1956 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible
- Chassis no. 15970732
Sold for $90,750
- Known history, with two owners since new
- Well-optioned dealer demonstrator car with Highway Hi-Fi
- Restored to original condition
- A beautiful and seldom seen top-of-the-line 1950s convertible
It was hard to beat Chevrolet and Ford’s offerings for 1956, but Plymouth swung hard with a revamped version of their all-new 1955 body, featuring taller, sharp-edged tailfins, a larger egg crate grille, new taillights, and Virgil Exner’s beloved aircraft-inspired styling theme everywhere one looked. The range of trim levels and body styles was simply dazzling, ranging from the entry-level Plaza and Savoy, up to the top-of-the-line Belvedere, which offered a vast amount of additional chrome trim and interior luxuries. A new convenience option was the Powerflite automatic transmission, operated by pushbuttons to the left of the steering column.
The Belvedere Convertible offered here, one of 6,735 top-of-the-line ragtops produced, was ordered as the dealer demonstrator for Burns Garage, of Walworth, Wisconsin. Accordingly, it was built in the eye-catching colors of Turquoise and Midnight Blue, all the better to draw buyers into the showroom, and with the best options that the factory could offer: a four-barrel carburetor, Powerflite, power brakes, and even the Highway Hi-Fi, which is an under-dash 16-rpm record player that was one of the first in-car entertainment systems. A boxed set of records for the player, not with this car but occasionally found at swap meets, included everything from the theme song to Davy Crockett to a dramatic reading from George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman—just the thing for those long family road trips!
The original owner of this car bought it from Burns Garage after prospective customers drove it 1,700 miles. He kept it until 2006, when it was sold to the second and current owner, who has known the car since he was 14 years old and spent nearly 20 years trying to acquire it. As one would expect of such a long-pursued dream, the car was given a body-off restoration with the best of care; the original colors and materials were recreated inside and out, and the original engine was retained. The only change from how this Plymouth appeared in Walworth in 1956 was the addition of chrome wire wheel covers, as Burns Garage would have made available “back in the day.”
Owned and enjoyed by only two caring owners since new, well-restored in its original colors, and carrying the best innovations of Chrysler’s “Forward Look” era, this is one of the finest extant examples of a seldom-seen Plymouth.
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