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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

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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

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

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Florida, United States

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Ontario, Canada

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Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Ontario, Canada

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

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Indiana, United States

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

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Ontario, Canada

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

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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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

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more