Our featured automobile is a terrific looking 1959 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible. The large tail fins on this full size model is indicative of the styling of the latter 1950’s automobiles. With the decade of the 50’s and all of the new creative styling that emerged, the 1959 Plymouth Belvedere was the last of its kind. Plymouth would see many changes and challenges going into the 60’s.

1959 plymouth belvedere convertible
1959 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible

The Plymouth brand came out in 1928 as a lower cost offering from Chrysler. The Plymouth was created to help Chrysler compete against the lower cost Ford and Chevrolet models. With automaker’s being pressured severely during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the success of the lower cost Plymouth brand helped keep Chrysler afloat.

1959 Plymouth Belvedere Styling

The Plymouth Belvedere was produced from 1954 to 1970. The Belvedere started out as a hardtop style for the 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook and eventually replaced the Cranbrook in 1954 as the top of the line Plymouth.

The 1959 model year saw the Belvedere model replaced as the top of the line offering. The high performance Plymouth Fury would step in as the top Plymouth with the Sport Fury being on the very top. Belvedere was placed below the Fury with the Plymouth Savoy model being at the bottom of the list.

plymouth belvedere specsThe body design for the 1959’s first emerged in 1957. The styling was exceptional. The 57 Belvederes looked every bit a top of the line luxury automobile. The automobile looked great and had a luxurious style to it. Unfortunately, this new design actually ended up as being both a positive and a negative for Plymouth.

This new design for 1957 was rushed into production and while sales were going very well, Plymouth’s reputation for reliability and quality took a hit. Parts started breaking off and rust was a major problem. The rush to production seemed to be the culprit. As a result, customers started going elsewhere and it’s questionable whether Plymouth ever fully recovered it’s previous high quality reputation. Some would say that Plymouth would have had a better outcome if those 1957 models wouldn’t have sold as well as they did.

The 1959 Plymouth Belvederes continued with the 1957 bodies but with some changes The slat grille was replaced by a new anodized aluminum egg-crate grille, with the Mayflower ornament mounted on a black screen in the grille’s middle. Fenders and tail fins were changed where the fenders were designed to draw the eye to the car’s “eyebrows” and “dual headlamps. Plymouth smoothed out the tail fins and added stainless steel trim. The tail fins on this model really gives off an elegant look. You might say that 1959 for all car brands represented the pinnacle of tail fin size. As you can see from the Belvedere Convertible styling, Plymouth was certainly in the fray.

1959 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible Specifications 

The standard engine for the 1959 Plymouth Belvedere was a 230 cubic inch straight six producing 135 HP.  Available were several 318 cubic inch V-8’s with varying horsepower from 230 upwards.

Available transmissions included a three and four speed manual plus a two speed PowerFlite automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

plymouth belvedere photos
Good size tail fins on the 59 Plymouth Belvedere

Front suspension used an independent torsion bar with the rear comprised of longitudinal leaf springs.

Dimensions include a 118.0 inch wheelbase, 208.2 inch overall length, 78.0 inch width and 58.5 inch height. Curb weight is 3,590 lbs.

See additional Auto Museum Online article found on the links below…

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Reference material for this article includes…Motor Trend Magazine, Feb 1955…American Car Collector MagazineCars of the 50’s by Consumers Guide.

1959 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible Collector Car Popularity

plymouth belvedere tail finsIt’s interesting to note that the 1959 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible had a total production run of just over 5,000 units. During 59 the top of the line Sport Fury came in at just under 24,000 units. The Sport Fury was discontinued after the 1959 model year but reemerged in 1962.

Total 1959 Plymouth production was just under 417,000 vehicles.

The Plymouth Belvedere Two Door Convertible has the highest value. Current prices average about $42,000 with the highest showroom quality example with a price $60,000 plus. 1959 Sedan models average $10,000 to $20,000 lower.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)