CC For Sale: 1957 Chrysler Windsor Hardtop – Peak Forward Look?

Wow, just wow!  Combing through Craigslist, I came up with this stunner!

From Ontario, California comes this 1957 Chrysler Windsor 2-door hardtop looking absolutely magnificent in deep red and white.

Ad description:

1957 Chrysler Windsor 2dr htp -Spectacular, low-mileage, original black plate Southern California car with 50K original miles, always garaged, straight rust-free body, two-tone deep ruby red metallic and cream paint with beautiful pink cloth and gold vinyl upholstery. Excellent chrome, pot metal, stainless and details inside and out. Optional factory tinted glass and scallop side trim. Powerful 354 “semi-hemi” V-8 with push-button 3-speed Torqueflite transmission, power steering and brakes, radio and heater. Interesting Route 66 backstory. Drives as nice as it looks. Quick and tight ride. Very rare find. First time ever advertised for sale. 42K obo

As you know, photos on Craigslist are so ephemeral–once the ad is dropped, you can’t access the pictures anymore.  So  I thought I’d preserve them here on CC.  And I think these images are definitely worth preserving!

You wouldn’t think that pink would be a good upholstery color, but it definitely harmonizes beautifully!

I’ve always liked those chrome roof bows which appeared on many high-end cars during this period.  However, to my mild disappointment, none of the cars I’ve owned (’58 Cadillac Series 62, ’60 Dodge Dart Phoenix, ’62 Imperial, ’62 Mercury Monterey) had the roof bows.

A beautiful dashboard that few people will recognize because these cars are so rare today.

Engine bay.

The last time I saw something like this was c. 1986.  It was a 1958 Windsor coupe parked near the Short Hills NJ train station.  But it was Spruce Green and white, and it wasn’t a Dartline with the added silver trim on the side.

Google Image Search:  Looks like the car I saw some 37 years ago in Short Hills.


Around the same time, there was also a 1959 Chrysler Windsor (or maybe Saratoga) regularly parked at the Maplewood train station in this exact color.  (Call it “Car spotting from a train.”)


Love those contrasting white “coves”; a styling variation not all Windsors had.


To quote Crazy Eddie, at $42,000, “These prices are insane!”  Well, not really.  It is simply a reflection of dollar inflation, and the fact that this car is so rare and just looks so good!  At $42K or thereabouts, I actually think this is quite a value.  It’s a car that not only looks the part, but can play the part too.  You’ve got the powerful V-8, the Torsion-Aire ride which gives you a stable yet cushioned ride with handling that was probably better than any other full-size car made at the time–along with the excellent Torqueflite transmission and power steering and brakes.  Compared to the 300C (which I’ve heard is a real brute to drive) this is, in my opinion, a nicer choice, and at a much lower price!

I like ’57 Chevys and all, but it’s too bad that not more of these Forward Look Mopars were preserved.  I’ve heard all the stories about how rust-prone and unreliable they were, but then again, so was everything else at the time.  It was simply a matter of degree.  The truth is, few people wanted to preserve them.  As I said, I’ve had a ’60 Dodge Dart and a ’62 Imperial (both virtually rust free), and neither car was any more or less troublesome or fragile than comparable Ford or GM products.  It’s just that Tri-Five Chevys are “cool”, T-Birds are “cool”, Corvettes are “cool”, high-end Cadillacs and Continental Mark IIs were considered worth saving, and everything else is on the fringes.

But that’s OK–I delight in finding the extraordinary in the once-ordinary and overlooked, and this bottom-of-the-line Windsor (Yes, can you believe it?) is a prime example of that.

(Note:  This post is exactly 600 words–the same number of words required in essays I had to write while serving detention in jr. high school.)


Further reading:

Vintage Reviews: Motor Trend’s New Car Issue – Chrysler Corporation