Featured here is a mid 1950’s classic the 1955 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe. The Plymouth Belvedere was manufactured by Chrysler Corporation from 1954 to 1970. The Belvedere was Plymouth’s top of the line offering.

The 1955 Plymouth Belvedere and the Forward Look

plymouth belvedere specs
1955 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe

That was the first year of the new Chevy Tri-Five cars. With the Sport Coupe the new Sportone body trim and racing style two-tone paint gave this model a fresh look.

This was the first year of legendary Chrysler Stylist Virgil Exner’s “Forward Look”.¬† Exner had an automotive background particularly with Studebaker and Chrysler. While at Studebaker his team design the 1947 and 1948 Studebaker models These were called the New Look models and were their first new designs after the war. In fact, Studebaker was the first automaker to come to market with new designs after the war’s end.

As car enthusiasts know, the decade of the 1950’s was an exciting time for automobile styling. After the end of World War Two most automakers didn’t introduce new postwar models until 1949. So heading into the fifties car styling would change quite often mostly for competitive reasons. The 1950’s are also know in the design world as the decade of larger and larger tail fins, much of this reflecting a general aircraft/jet age theme.

1955 plymouth belvdereIn regards to Plymouth specifically, they gained the reputation of having a stodgy image. In other words, their cars weren’t head turners. They didn’t stand out. Plymouth’s car designing looked older and lacked the excitement of being truly different. This all changed in 1955. The change from 1954 to 1955 was astonishing. and if you compare photos of both car model years you’ll see the big difference. Plymouths now were longer, lower and wider. They looked modern. The 1955 model year stands out as the first year that Chrysler Corporation put an emphasis on styling for all their passenger cars.

The Forward Look was quite popular and would change the direction of mid 50’s car styling. It’s said that Exner’s designs at Chrysler had an influence with both Ford and General¬† and Motors.

1955 Plymouth Belvedere Specifications

55 plymouth belvedereEngine options for the 1955 Belvedere models included a 230 cubic inch straight six and two V-8’s, a 241 cubic inch V-8 and a 260 cubic inch V-8. Horsepower in that order was 115, 157 and 167.

There also was a V-8 option with a four barrel carburetor delivering 177 HP. Of significance is that 1955 was the first year that Plymouth offered these V-8’s.

Transmissions available were three and four speed manuals (on the column) and a two speed automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums. Power brakes were available.

Front suspension was independent coil springs with the rear being a longitudinal leaf spring.

Dimensions for the 55 Plymouth Sport Coupe included a wheelbase of 115.0 inches, overall length 203.8 inches, width 74.6 inches, height 62.2 inches.

Total Plymouth production for the 1955 model year was 675,000 vehicles. The most popular model was the Belvedere.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below…

1955 Ford Victoria

1955 Chevy Bel Air

Reference material for this article includes..Virgil Exner: Visioneer: The official biography of Virgil M. Exner, designer extraordinaire by author Peter Grist…Popular Science Magazine, July 1955Riding the Roller Coaster: A History of the Chrysler Corporation by author Charles K. Hyde.

1955 Plymouth Belvedere Collector Popularity

forward look car stylingAs mentioned above, the 1955 Plymouth Belvedere and all Chrysler products from that year reached a significant milestone with new modern styling. In addition, the Belvedere was Plymouth’s most popular automobile in 1955.

Current asking prices for the 55 Belvedere Hardtops in excellent condition are in the range of $19,000 to about $23,000. Several examples that need restoration are priced below this range in the $10,000 to about $12,000 area. As collector car prices are concerned, the 1955 Plymouth Belvedere is a relatively affordable way to start or add to your car collection.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)