Plymouth Belmont is a 2 door sports convertible made by Chrysler
Corporation for the 1954 Automobile shows. Designed in the Advanced
Styling Studio, which was led by Virgil Exner, this car is unusual
in that it was not built by Ghia of Turin like so many of Chrysler's
concept vehicles of that period, but by Briggs Manufacturing,
which Chrysler had recently acquired. Even more unusual is that
it is made of reinforced fibreglass, Chrysler's first and only
major venture into this technique.
Although badged as a Plymouth, the Belmont is largely a 1954
Dodge, utilising the chassis and running gear from Dodge's own
114" wheelbase convertible and two-door cars. Plymouth would
not have a V8 engine until 1955, so the dream car was fitted
with Dodge's 150hp, 241ci V8, mated to a Plymouth Hy-Drive semi-automatic
transmission. Standing just 49" tall, and 191.5" long, this
deliciously low-slung convertible was originally painted in
a light silvery blue but has for many years been wearing bright
red paintwork. The Belmont has a very aerodynamic theme, from
its aircraft type cockpit and wraparound windscreen, to the
fuselage body styling that was very avant-garde for the time.
So as not to spoil the smooth lines of the Belmont, the soft-top
cover is folded away in a hidden compartment behind the seats.
Released in a year when Plymouth was struggling to sell anything
at all, the Belmont was supposedly designed to rebuff the new
Corvette and the imminent arrival of the Ford Thunderbird. Plymouth
dealers wanted the car put into immediate production, but Chrysler
bosses disagreed; they thought the car looked too dated and
dropped the concept. Sales continued to fall.
Previously owned and restored by the Blackhawk Museum, it is
now in private hands and resides in New Jersey.
Text by Peter Grist
more information on this car