During Mopar Week, Tony LaHood was good enough to send me this most excellent link to a vintage 1955 Chrysler Corporation promotional video on Youtube, “Wishes on Wheels.” It is close to a half-hour long, but well worth the viewing! Makes me wish a certain DeLorean really could go back in time…
Which leads to my question of the day. It is 1955, and you’ve come into a bit of money. You can buy any new car you want, so long as it is built by Chrysler Corporation. What would you pick? Colors, body style, options–the whole ball of wax.
How about an Imperial? This blue-green one with matching interior would be just the ticket. This was the first year the Imperial was its own make. Whether you agree or not with that decision, you have to love the cars. I just love Imperials, I would take any 1955-75 Imperial if I was offered one, but I think my favorite may be the ’62.
Too bad the four-door hardtop didn’t appear until 1956; those scissor-action retracting power rear windows are so darn cool! Indeed, if we were talking 1956 Mopars a Southampton hardtop sedan would be my first choice.
But a DeSoto Fireflite convertible would be pretty good too. Hubba hubba! Who wouldn’t want a DeLovely DeSoto, especially with a drop-top? And they had one of the coolest grilles in the business.
I would like a Town & Country too…arrgh! Decisions, decisions. I do love wagons…hmm.
I am really liking this Windsor Deluxe Newport–especially the colors. And I’ve never had a pillarless vehicle, so that would be one car “bucket list” box to check!
It really is hard to decide. Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler or Imperial? Or perhaps a Dodge truck? Business coupe, sedan, coupe, two-door hardtop, four-door hardtop, convertible? La Femme? Maybe a Canadian “Plodge” or Fargo truck with a stake bed? And yes, you can pick a C300, but let’s try to be creative, eh?
What’s your pleasure? A simple, reliable Belvedere or Savoy? A full-boat New Yorker or Imperial? Pickup? Panel van? Power Wagon? So many choices! And what colors? Options? We want to know all the details!
As for myself, I think I want a New Yorker Deluxe Town & Country, but I will special-order it in the Jet Black (roof and side cove) and Iridescent Lavender Poly (main body) shown on that ’55 Fireflite Sedan further up. So, how about you? Inquiring minds want to know!
I’d take the DeSoto or the Plymouth, I love almost all the Chrysler products from this year and ’56, but for me both the DeSoto and Plymouth are high water marks in styling. Looking at these beauties makes me wonder how it could have all gone so wrong in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Can you imagine if they had kept up the momentum from this era?
+1 on the 55 & 56 Mopars,so often overlooked at shows and in magazines for the flashy 57s.Virgil Exner turned Mopar styling round from the previous dull and dumpy cars.
When I saw the title, my mind flashed back to your piece on the Chrysler St Regis from June 12, 2012. In that article was picture of a gorgeous ’55 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe 2 door hardtop in teal blue. That would be my choice. But you know, if I couldn’t afford a Chrysler, how about the little ’55 Plymouth pictured above in apricot? That’s a beauty.
First choice – a black C-300 with red leather. Maybe even with a 3 speed instead of the PowerFlite, I would have to think about that.
Second choice – a DeSoto FireFlite convertible, bronze and white. Loaded, of course.
Third (sentimental) choice – a pink and white DeSoto Firedome sedan with black and white interior, just like the one my grandma had when I was a kid
DeSoto, period. Even back in my childhood, I noticed there was something about DeSotos that were just a bit neater than anything else in the Chrysler line. The fact that they became an orphan while I will still in grade school only added to the allure. Not really wedded to any particular model, but it has to be a two-door with the biggest V-8 that model could get.
New Yorker two door hardtop please. Dark blue, with an ivory top!
Amazing what was accomplished in the construction, even with all the faults that came with cars in those days. How many countries around the globe had anywhere near the talent and know how to do this? A handful at most, and the Americans were likely still the best.
Enough with the gee whiz feel good!
A few things would never make the film cut now:
-The snarky “go away” sign at the workstation.
-The lady admitting that putting a brake part in is a trick with a trick tool. Somebody at home will be cursing her in 1958.
-Six million variations are possible, no two may be exactly alike*.
*That’s why we make so damn many mistakes – and the cost of constructing you a nice V-8 is with some decent features is just a few dollars more, but we’ll omit some of the niceties for some of you, and charge some of you a lot more for them – while making manufacturing more complex and mistake prone.
Easy to see how a hung over guy bored on a Monday might decide to skip a bolt here and there!
Trick tool, nothing! It was facing up and she installed it before the body drop. Getting at it from below a completed car that’s had a couple years to rust would be a whole different ballgame even if she had used a standard wrench to put it there.
Short bed, flathead six, pastel green.
A neighbor had one as a kid, he used to take me along on errands. Another impressionable DougD kid moment.
I prefer the Chryslers and Imperials best for 1955. Long, low, wide, and elegant.
I’d have to go for the top of the line Imperial Newport coupe. I’m not sure of the color availability on Imperials, but Chrysler did offer a coral color, “Desert Rose” I believe on some models. I’d take that as my first choice with all-leather interior.
Unfortunately most of what we could order was Plodge or Pickups and the flathead 6 was the default engine unless you had overseas funds and could wangle a no remittance import licence you were stuck at the bottom of the food chain. A friend years back bought my knackered 61 Dodge to retrofit the engine into a 55 it worked.
As nice as an Imperial would be, my love of performance would push me towards a C-300 in red, unless I could special order the green/blue two tone like that Imperial hard top.
Pink and white DeSoto Fireflite please.That 3 tone Dodge Royal Lancer looks tempting though.
What an interesting video, I watched the whole thing. Some very cool observations:
-Blacks and whites working well together. Kind of blows the segrationist argument out of the water.
-The large number of workers in the factory.
-The incredible complication custom orders entailed; made for really good odds of making mistakes.
-The amount of finishing the castings needed.
This was a real blast into the past. Thanks!
I’d think it’s safe to say that the majority of worker interaction in this film was made to look much more glamorous than what one would encounter otherwise. This was made about 15 years before the fatal shooting incident at the Eldon axle plant if I remember correctly. The book Detroit, I Do Mind Dying talks about that, along with other aspects of working in Chrysler’s plants during the 60’s. This promotional piece looks absolutely nothing like the way that book depicts working on the line. Taking that book into consideration, I wouldn’t be supprised if the line speed was slowed way down for this particular film.
2 issues – the UK didn’t get Chryslers in 1955, and I wasn’t here to choose one…..
But the UK equivalent was, I guess, the Rootes Group, later Chrysler UK, so perhaps I could have a Sunbeam Talbot 90 Drophead instead? Technically, production ended in 1954, but I’m sure there would have been one in the supply chain somewhere. This pale green would be ideal
You’re kidding, right? That’s the easiest question I’ve had all day…
Love those old factory videos. I so wanted to visit a car factory when I was a kid…catching up, finally.
Me too. I could watch these all day.
As for the question, I’d like a Firedome. A little green one.
A New Yorker hardtop, black with a silver top and a red interior would fit the bill nicely for me!
Well, it wasn’t until the next year, but I’ll have to defer to my Father’s choice, he bought his first new car (maybe it was made in ’55?) in Kingston PA, it was a ’56 Plymouth Plaza, 2 door sedan, total stripper (3 speed on the column, flathead 6, don’t think it had a radio nor probably even a heater). It was his first new car (maybe first car? I have to ask him) he bought after graduating from college….I don’t even know if he had met my mother yet, but a few years later both my sister and I came home from the hospital in it. He didn’t have it too long, it was replaced by a ’61 Rambler wagon, and other than an ’86 Dodge, he hasn’t owned another Mopar (thus far anyhow). My Grandfather (on my mother’s side) had previously bought a ’51 Chrysler Windsor (with same flathead 6) at the same dealership but it lasted considerably longer, my Uncle was driving it until ’69 when (as he described it to me, he’s not really a car guy, but sounds like the head gasket went (right before he graduated from college) and he needed a car quickly, replaced it with a ’69 Ford LTD 4 door hardtop with 302V8, automatic, and nonpower drums all around.
Neat film…I wish I had one for my car, seeing how they put it together would give you an idea of how to work on it (of course they were more simple back then)…of course I’m not going to forge my own crank but it is neat seeing the steps. Wonder how they made sure a green seat didn’t end up in a blue car (likewise steering wheel…I didn’t realize they even had color coordinated steering wheels, I had thought they were that “ivory” color that seemed common back then, but maybe I’m thinking of my Uncle’s ’51 Chrysler
The ’50’s were fascinating…I bet that host was all of 42 years old.
“I don’t care how long it is, long as it’s long (wink)”. Priceless,