Plymouth of the 50’s and Virgil Exner

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Plymouth of the 50’s and Virgil Exner

  • In 1957 Plymouths were available in three series – Plaza, Savoy and Belvedere – with the limited production “muscle car” version – the Plymouth Fury – available mid-year. (No, it did not have a “Hemi.”)
  • Tulsa’s “buried” car is a 1957 Belvedere two-door hardtop equipped with a V-8 engine and Sportone trim (the tapering body side “color sweep”).
  • The car is painted Desert Gold with a Sand Dune White roof and color sweep.

  • The “buried” Belvedere is one of 71,939 Belvedere V-8 two-door hardtops built in 1957.
  • The buried car is actually a 1957 1/2 Plymouth because it has the revised mid-year grille. The area below the raised bumper bar – with the six wide vertical slots – was changed mid-year to add an additional vertical strip in each of the six slots to narrow the width and thus improve the appearance.
  • Given its abstract shape and gold finish, the ’57 version of Plymouth’s traditional Mayflower sailing ship logo that graced the grille and deck lid was referred to by the stylists as the “potato chip.”
  • The 1957 cars were known internally within Chrysler as the “K” series.

  • Plymouth production totaled 729,369 cars for the 1957 model run.
  • The runaway success of the ’57 Plymouth enabled Plymouth division to recapture third place in sales from Buick.
  • Chrysler Corporation vehicles in 1957 used about 100 pounds in weight-saving aluminum per vehicle versus a then-industry average of 45 pounds.
  • On April 19, 1957, Chrysler Corporation cars – including Plymouth – achieved an unprecedented clean sweep of the 1,568 mile Los Angles to Sun Valley Mobilgas Economy Run, winning in every class.
  • Chrysler Corporation also won Motor Trend’s (now Car of the Year) Award for the “superior handling and roadability” of the innovative Torsion-Aire suspension.
  • In June, 1957, Virgil Exner’s design team received the Industrial Designers’ Institute Gold Medal Award for the design of the 1957 cars.
  • On July 25, 1957, Virgil Exner was made Chrysler’s first Vice President of Styling.

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