Plymouth Belvedere

Chevrolet Bel Air success prompted Plymouth managers to enter in yet another strong clash on generally low-priced American car market in 1951. Priced at $2,114 Plymouth Belvedere was designed to beat both Chevrolet and Ford competitive models.

With 51,266 units produced in total for 1951 and 1952, Plymouth customized Belvedere in an attempt to distinguish it from cheaper models.

However, the main goal wasn't achieved since Chevrolet Bel Air and Ford Victoria combined production was four times greater at the time. The 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook Belvedere was a two-door pillarless hardtop built on 118.5 in wheelbase.

Performance was secured with the common flathead straight six-cylinder engine, keeping the displacement at 217.8 cu in, rather low compression ratio of 7.00:1, and final output was 97 horsepower.

In 1953 all Plymouth models were given a completely new styling. Major changes for Belvedere included a shorter 114 in wheelbase, a single-piece windshield, flush rear fenders, and a lower hood line. The Hy-Drive semi-automatic transmission intended to overtake the competitors proved poor advantage in comparison to Chevrolet fully automatic Powerglide transmission or fully automatic Ford-O-Matic transmission. The engine performance was enhanced to 100 hp.

General public criticized exterior modifications as stubby, ignoring the vehicle even with a lower price than before. Nevertheless, in 1954 Belvedere became the top line Plymouth model with additional convertible, two-door station wagon, four-door sedan and Sport Coupe options. Chrome tailfins appeared on the rear fenders, with more importantly fully automatic transmission Chrysler PowerFlite.

For better performance a larger standard 230.2 cu in six-cylinder engine was added, power ratings at 110 hp. Despite the positive changes, production slipped to 32,492 units.

Plymouth Belvedere made another strong appearance in 1960s, when owning a muscle car was a social symbol in United States. This iconic American car had a large number of options for the consumers, allowing them to realize their wishes. In example, interior was offered in black, white, blue, or green, Savoy models, ranging from Flite Wave cloth and Mosaic Weave to Fleck Cord and vinyl.

To complete the impression bright gold or silver mylar inserts were available on door panels. The most successful model proved to be Plymouth Belvedere GTX introduced in 1967.

Chrysler decided to drop the Belvedere in 1970, replacing it with the Plymouth Satellite series. Still, Plymouth Belvedere is considered a part of American automotive history. Collectors often go out of their way to find a fully restored original condition models, which can cost up to $50,000. Through Plymouth Belvedere many are brought again into the muscle car era, but keep in mind that model prices vary significantly in respect to vehicle condition.

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