By the start of 1954, Plymouth’s sales had fallen to a fraction of rates once considered normal. In an effort to shore up Plymouth’s performance and build some excitement around the brand, Chrysler’s chief of styling, Virgil Exner, led his department in producing a pair of concepts for the 1954 show season, the other one being the six-cylinder-powered Ghia-built Plymouth Explorer Coupe.
Backed with a Hy-Drive semi-automatic transmission and stretching out long (nearly 192 inches from tip to tail) and low (maximum height of just 49 inches), the Belmont debuted at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show in a metallic light blue and exhibited what Exner and his team believed to be an aerodynamic design theme.
Following its appearance on the 1954 auto show circuit (and its film debut in the 1954 motion picture Bundle of Joy, starring Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds), the Belmont was retired as “too old” a design to fit the company’s image. At this stage, most concepts either get locked in corporate vaults or stripped of usable parts before being shipped to the crusher, but the Belmont survived as a road car, passing through a string of owners over the years.
The Belmont’s ownership is unclear until 1968, when it was sold to Marie DeAngelo. From there, it was sold to Don Heckler in 1970 and remained in his possession until 1989. Unearthed by Loren Tyron in 1989, the car was purchased for Williams as part of the Blackhawk Collection and underwent a complete restoration (during which Williams had the car sprayed red instead of its original blue). In 2001 Williams sold it at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction to Ele Chesney in New Jersey, and from there the ownership history is lost, though when it came up for sale on Hemmings.com in 2010, a dealership on Long Island advertised it.
As part of Barrett-Jackson’s Salon Collection, the Belmont is expected to cross the block with a reserve. Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction is scheduled for January 12-19, 2014. For more information, visit Barrett-Jackson.com.
Written by Kurt Ernst. Article courtesy of Hemings Daily.