Curbside Classic: 1954 Plymouth Savoy – Unexpected Affection


(First published 8/1/2013)    Do you remember 1954? It was quite some time ago. Billy Joel can sum it up quick: “Roy Cohn, Juan Perón, Toscanini, Dacron, Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock”. In case some of those names sound a bit too distant (or totally unheard of to us younger crowd) let me make it a bit clearer: “I Love Lucy” was the #1 show on television in 1954. Coincidently, 1954 is also the year that Plymouth introduced the Savoy as its mid-priced line of cars.


I’ve driven by this two-toned green beauty countless times. It’s been sitting at this small used car lot for at least a year now, through the blizzards of February and the scorchers of July.


Plymouth had previously used the Savoy name starting in 1951, as a trim level on its Suburban wagons. In 1954 however, Plymouth promoted the Savoy to a full model line, fitting between the entry-level Plaza line and top-of-the-line Belvedere. Named after luxury prestigious hotels, all three models were new for 1954.


The Savoy was available in three body styles: the 2-door Savoy Club Sedan, 4-door Savoy sedan, and a 2-door Savoy coupe. All three models shared Plymouth’s 114-inch wheelbase and were powered by Plymouth’s 217.8 cu in I6, making 100 horsepower.


Every Savoy came with two-tone exterior paint combinations, as well as interiors that were color-keyed to the exterior colors. I love the backward-tilting shape of the rear quarter window and upper door portion. It’s got a little 2005-2011 Lexus GS thing going on.


Now speaking of the interior, it looks all original here, well-preserved in Marie Barone’s plastic couch covers. Two-tone green interior, now that’s something you can’t get in 2013.


Noticeably absent from the interior are seat belts, which did not become common in American automobiles for another few years. Energy-absorbing steering columns would not be introduced until the 1959 Mercedes-Benz W111. This one here looks like it could be pretty damaging in a high-speed collision.


This Savoy is equipped with Chrysler’s PowerFlite 2-speed automatic transmission, the first fully automatic transmission from the company. On an interesting note, PowerFlite included Reverse, Neutral, Drive, and Low range, but no Park. This required the parking brake to always be used in order to park.

HyStyle CC

This mid-priced Savoy 4-door sedan was actually Plymouth’s most popular model of 1954, with 139,383 produced. Back in 1954, it retailed for $1,873. In today’s dollars, that would be about $16,258, or about as much as a base 2013 Toyota Corolla costs.


The listed for-sale price is $9,995. Given the time it’s been sitting here, I imagine the seller’s open to lower offers.


Note the gas cap location on the driver’s side rear of the car.


And the chrome “jet wings” on the rear doors, among my favorite of its styling features.


Now when it comes to ’50s Mopar, I prefer the longer, lower, wider trend of the Forward Look cars to the chunkier pre-’57s. But after getting up close and personal, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this green Plymouth. Like a lonely old dog at the pound, it sits, waiting for someone to love it again and take it home.