Vol. 10   No. 1 January 28, 2010
A Celebration of Chrysler's Fin Era Cars: 1955 - 61

2009 - Plymouth Restoration Completed

This year marked the completion of the Plymouth's restoration.

Mechanically, the carburetor and fuel system problems were finally solved, the leaky power steering pump was resealed and the wheels were aligned. The car was highway tested as well.

Cosmetically, a nicely restored set of hubcaps was located, reproduction cardboard trunk panels were added as well as the driver and passenger side kick panels.

Meanwhile, the Danbury Mint of Norwalk, CT, which specializes in authentically detailed die cast models of classic cars,

 58 Ply Lead Pic
My 1958 Plymouth Belvedere photographed in Fall 1988, about six months after I purchased the car and had it shipped from Northern California to my home in Connecticut.

had viewed the restoration on this website. They expressed interest in creating a scale model of my car. They were intrigued by the unique color and attention to detail.

The car was extensively photographed in early 2008 and after some production delays, was released to the public in June 2009. Read more here, or click on the table of contents link below.

Plymouth Table of Contents

'59 Dodge Coronet Convertible
Restoration Underway Again

59 Dodge

In 1998, restoration work was halted on my 1959 Dodge Coronet convertible so that I could focus on my other projects: the 1958 Plymouth and also a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible.

The Olds was completed in 2000. The Plymouth is about 99% done as of Fall 2008. So now attention has turned once again to the Dodge.

The first stop was to rework the driver's quarter panel, which earlier had been patched with various sections from other cars. The reworked panel can be viewed here.

The Dodge section of this website has also been reworked. Several new pages have been added, as well as a Table of Contents.

Please click on the link below to access the Dodge pages.

Dodge Table of Contents

2008 - Registered and On the Road

The first order of business after the weather warmed up was to install the front and rear bumpers. It took weeks to get the front bumper to mount correctly without scratching the lower grill. On the other hand, the rear bumper went on in one afternoon. Then it was off to my mechanic to align the exhaust system, replace

the pinion seal, resurface the drums, mount the new tires and adjust the front end.

The next stop was the Motor Vehicle Department to register the car. Since the car had been registered previously in my name, no inspection was necessary.
Attention was now focused on the interior. The door panels from SMS Auto Interiors were installed, followed by the rear arm rests. The rear package shelf was fabricated and installed. Then the rear seats were dropped into place. So we're just about there.

2007 - Almost There

The year 2007 was a year of installations, refinements and corrections.
Body panel alignment was the first order of business, followed by residual moulding attachment and alignment.
Later in the year, after a lot of planning and preparation, the windshield and rear glass went in without a hitch. Read about the glass installation here.

Problems, such as the quarter windows binding against the roof rail weatherstrip were solved when original style 'flocked' weatherstrip was installed. A persistent carburetor problem was remedied with a rebuild. The door panels arrived in August, but have not been installed yet. Read about some of the above here.

By the end of the year, all trim and mouldings were back on the car.

2006 -
Close to Completion

It now runs and drives ! For the first time in over ten years, my 1958 Plymouth is able to move under its own power. It was quite a thrill to press the Drive button and feel the cast iron torqueflite drop into gear. A little gas and we were on our way. Another celebration ! Driving, however, was limited to the driveway, as the car is not registered yet.

Many of this year's accomplishments were in the car's interior. A new carpet was ordered and installed in the early summer. Then the very fragile original cardboard headliner was taken out of storage, repainted and carefully put into place.
A friend of mine in New Zealand had the original dash pad reproduced to exacting standards. I decided that I needed one. It's in the car now and looks stunning. Also, the original radio was reinstalled after I had the diecast bezel rechromed.

In November, the fenders and hood were bolted into place. Many people think that it is finally beginning to look like a car.

2005 -
A Year of Progress

The year 2005 saw major accomp- lishments in the restoration of the Plymouth.

In July, my friends and I got the wide block 318 engine to fire up for the first time in nine years. It was a day to celebrate !

Other accomplishments included installation of the exhaust system, gas tank, dash, body side mouldings and side glass. In addition, the lights and electrical system were tested out and made fully functional.

One of the last pieces needed to complete the restoration, an original PPG tinted windshield, was located in Missouri. However, numerous problems with the brake system set me back about two months and delayed the initial test drive until at least Spring, 2006. A page describing my brake adventures can be found here.

Plymouth 318 V8

Body Shop Found; Plymouth Painted !

Spray Gun It took almost three years, but after interviewing many body shops in the New England area, the search for a shop willing to take on my 1958 Plymouth project has ended. Atwood's Auto Appearance of Deep River, CT, agreed to finish the body restoration and paint for a reasonable price. Where most shops favor collision work over restoration, Atwood's seemed to have the right attitude, and even had a few restoration projects in the works on my initial visit. I was satisfied with what I heard and agreed to drop off the car in August 2003.

As usual, I was on the scene to photograph the arrival, body surfacing and paint, which took place over a four month period. The pictures of the paint application are especially dramatic, thanks to the large glass windows on the spray booth.   More >>

  Engine and Transmission are now back in the Plymouth !    More >>

Chryslers at Carlisle (All Chrysler Nationals)

For 2000, Chryslers at Carlisle became the All-Chrysler Nationals. There was a great representation of Exner-era cars. Also making an appearance was the PT Cruiser club, with over twenty PT Cruisers in attendance. In 2001 things got even better, with over fifty Forward Look Mopars sighted.

55 Windsor Conv 2001 Highlights
1955 Chrysler Windsor Conv. with 1956 Plymouth Savoy in background.

2000 Highlights 55 Desoto Blue
1955 Desoto Firedome with 1957 Plymouth Belvedere in background.

1999 Highlights 57 Dodge D500
1957 Dodge Custom Royal D500 at 1999 Chryslers at Carlisle.

WPC Nationals

The Walter P. Chrysler (WPC) Club, with over 5000 members, is the largest All-Chrysler club in the world. Here are highlights of several meets that I attended.

59 Sport Fury  1998 Meet - Portland, OR

The WPC Nationals in Portland, Oregon had some great cars ! Since there is little rust in the Northwest (except on the coast), late-50s MOPARs were plentiful, including rare 1956 Desoto convertibles, 2 1960 Imperial Convertibles and 2 1957 Furys. In all, about 140 cars showed up from as far away as Texas and Illinois. I arrived, somewhat jetlagged and hungry, at the hotel in Clackamas, OR.  Of course, eating was put on hold as soon as the first tailfin came into view. At left, a 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury arrives at the show.

Car Show

Chrysler 300C  1999 Meet - Akron, OH

The WPC Nationals in Akron, OH, was my last stop on a two-week road trip that started at Chryslers at Carlisle in Pennsylvania. From Carlisle, I headed west to Altoona, PA, for a few days of junkyard cruising. Then it was off to Pittsburgh for a day before the final journey to Akron. The Nationals was a great experience, with so many cars to see in such little time. Pictured at left is a 1957 Chrysler 300C hardtop, a beautiful car.

Cruise Nite     Car Show

KT Keller Car 2001 Meet - Parsippany, NJ

A two-and-a-half hour drive from my house in Connecticut brought me to the 2001 WPC Nationals in Parsippany, NJ, about 40 miles from New York City. This is also the town I grew up in, and moved away from, a long time ago. I never cease to be amazed at the cars that show up at these meets. Again, the weather was great. On the left is the unique 1955 Imperial convertible built especially for Chrysler Chairman K T Keller. This is the only one of its kind in existence.

Car Show

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