St. John's

27 July 2013

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Lot 117

1956 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible

  • Chassis no. 15970732

Sold for $90,750

200 bhp, 276.1 cu. in. overhead-valve V-8 engine with four-barrel carburetor, two-speed Powerflite automatic transmission, independent front and semi-elliptic leaf spring rear suspension, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115 in.

  • 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.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more