A bit over a month ago, Jack Lord did a CC on a rare find: a 1955 Plymouth sedan. 1955 marked the beginning of the great 1950s two tone paint jobs, and Plymouth was there with the rest. The only problem was that Plymouth’s two tone treatments were, well, sort of forgettable. The high end Belvedere looked OK at best, and the job given to the Savoy that Jack found was, well, unfortunate.
It was with great fanfare that I put out the call to the multi-talented CC readership. I just knew that you could do a better job. Even though the two or three of you who remembered figured that I had forgotten this project, I have not.
For those who may have missed the beginning of this project, I found a very plain, unadorned ’55 Plymouth (a business coupe, no less) as our starter kit. This car would serve as the blank canvas for our readership’s design playground. My email inbox was graced with two very attractive proposals, and I have tossed in a couple of ideas myself.
Drew Wescott was the first entrant. Drew’s treatment gave us a pleasant blue and white color combination with a lot of great chrome detail added around the windows of the plain Jane Plaza. But the focal point of Drew’s submission is a concept that Drew described as sporty, but clean. Who can disagree? The two stainless spears with the contrasting color panel on the rear quarters is a simple and attractive concept.
The second entrant was Cooper Melton, better known hereabouts as Lampredotto. I will let Cooper describe his concept in his own words: “I sought a design that was tasteful (at least by 1955 standards) but dynamic and exuberant. The forward thrust of the longitudinal chrome spear and the chrome “induction” grille at the door’s trailing edge are, like eight hundred million other mid-Fifties automotive styling exercises, inspired by jet design. (When in Rome…) Limiting the two-toning to the upper rear quarter panel emphasizes the car’s fledgling tailfins.”
A three tone concept? Or perhaps just the shadowing from the original. The turquoise and white combo is a favorite of mine, so its a good thing we are not dealing with fabulous cash prizes. Cooper’s treatment certainly makes for an attractive car.
Alas, only Drew and Cooper were inspired to go to work and put their ideas out there for us to mull over and enjoy. But never fear. Even though some of our talented commentators were unable to make submissions, your intrepid author has stepped into the breach with a couple of additional ideas. Please ignore the steep dropoff in the quality of the graphics. This is, as the current saying goes, not in my wheelhouse. But with a little fiddling, I came up with a couple of simple ideas.
This one is predictive of the very attractive two tone treatment of the 1956 Plymouth Fury and the 1957 Fury and Belvedere. To me, the contrasting color spear lengthens and lowers the car. A much more conservative treatment than on the Dodge, I think that it slims down an otherwise sort of chubby basic shape. Or on second look, maybe not.
A second concept is quite similar to the actual treatment used on the 1955 Belvedere. The difference is the elimination of that contrived backslash on the door. In its place, a pretty basic division between the upper and lower parts of the body.
So, there you have it. Through the thoughtful submissions of two talented commentators (supplemented by a couple by your less talented correspondent), we have some ideas of what the 1955 Plymouth could have been. Most interesting to me is how these four very different treatments change the entire look of the car. Drew’s drawing squares up the car while Cooper’s proposal softens it. The last two, well you be the judge. I think that the last one lowers the car while the third photo lengthens it but still lets the shape show off its curves. So how do these styling ideas strike the Commentariat?
Just think, with a couple of tweaks to the chrome and some alternative swipes of a spraygun, the ’55 Plymouth could have become the icon of 1950s America. It would have been so popular that Chrysler would have put off the ’57 model until 1958, giving it a much needed additional year of development. Of course, it would have been a smash hit in 1958 too, and its natural attributes coupled with Chrysler’s traditional high quality would have vaulted Chrysler back to number two of the big three and made it a worldwide powerhouse through the 1970s and right up to today. Plymouth would probably be the number one selling brand today. As we learned in the Back to the Future trilogy, you never know when a seemingly insignificant change can have a tremendous impact on history. Anyone else care for some Kool-Ade?