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1959 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible Project

1959 was the third year of Chrysler’s “Forward Look” cars and just one year away from the “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” marketing campaign catching up with reality. Pundits will argue that the 1959 models were less attractive than their 1957-58 predecessors. Sales ticked up a little over 1958 (a recession year), but one-third below that of 1957, so perhaps the Forward Look wasn’t so forward looking anymore. This 1959 Belvedere convertible was owned by the same family for 46 years and was acquired by a collector who started gathering parts for it. It can be found in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and is available here on craigslist for $10,500. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Darren for uncovering this one for us!

I love a car with a story and this crusty convertible certainly has one. The original owner bought it new in Virginia and she and her family held on to it until 2005 when a collector in Idaho acquired it. Once the car was in its new state, the collector began ordering parts for a full restoration. In an unusual move, when it became apparent that the restoration would not happen immediately, the collector had the car shrink-wrapped for safe keeping. The seller here got the car early this year in a package deal from that collector and has become the odd man out.

Rust is apparent in several areas of the car, including the rear quarter panels, front floor pans and trunk floor. The paint, which is not original, is flaking and chipping everywhere, thus exposing the primer below it. While certainly not a polished gem, it looks to be a repairable project. The interior is complete, but most everything will need to be refreshed. The car has a power motor for the convertible top. The glass looks to be in good order, including the replacement windshield.

As the Belvedere played second fiddle to the Fury, we’re guessing the engine under the hood is nothing bigger than a 318 cubic inch V-8, paired with Chrysler’s gee-whiz push-button automatic transmission. The seller believes the motor has good compression as it turns freely by hand. The car will come with all the extra parts the prior collector had accumulated, including fender skirts, door handles and window cranks, headlight rings, trunk and windshield seals, interior mirror, front turn signal lenses, dash control switches for the transmission shift, heater, and so forth.  Also, two solid doors with glass, although the original doors look workable.

The seller has done his homework on Hagerty resale value. Fair editions of this car would go for $15,000, while a fully restored version could attract $48,000. He’s taken the average value of these cars and split that number in half to come up with his asking price. Considering the work that will need to be performed, I think he’s being a bit optimistic. But as an incentive, the buyer will receive a binder containing the car’s history and owner’s manual.

In case you want to go surfing on Craigslist, the seller has some other cars up for consideration, including a 1960 Metropolitan Convertible, 1964 Rambler American Convertible, 1960 Mercury Comet Sedan, 1961 Ford Econoline Pick-up, and some various odds and ends.


  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    But will it come to life on it’s own and try to kill me?

    Like 10
  2. Steve Bush Member

    Don’t claim to be an expert on these but don’t see $10.5k for this non running rusty needy POS. Perhaps half that. And seller Ron WTF isn’t the title in your name, not that of a woman who died in 2007?

    Like 6
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Because they don’t want to spend the money –
      let the buyer worry about that.
      That’s like the tax-dodging people who register
      their expensive cars in Montana.I consider it very dishonest-
      if they’ll cheat on paying taxes on a car,what else are they
      dishonest about?

      Like 4
  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    I love these big-finned Exner cars, keep ’em coming! As a practical matter, this example is far too needy for a man with my pocketbook. Not to mention what’s left of my cartilage. But I do love the fins.

    Like 5
  4. Paolo

    Very cool. And what is all this whining I am hearing here? It’s a 61 year old Forward Look convertible. If you can’t hack it get the hell out of the way. Please.

    Like 7
  5. JimmyJ

    You want exclusive? It’s definitely close to the only one left

    Like 4

    Rare car in convertible configuration. Love to own this if I wasn’t on the other side of the world.

    Like 3
  7. AaronC

    That engine looks bigger than a 318?

    Like 2
    • KKW

      318A. Later on 318LA

      Like 1
  8. roger

    buy it for 10,500.00 put another 45,500.00 into it and you will have a nice 27,000.00 car

    Like 6
    • Phlathead Phil

      Spoken like a true “Bean Counter.” Many fail to realize if the project was never under water, the new owner prolly will.

      Perhaps it’s the “Submarine?”

  9. Vince H

    Always liked the 59 but this is overpriced for the shape it is in. Don’t know how he knows how good the compression is just by turning over by hand without a gauge.

    Like 5
    • KKW

      He doesn’t. In fact, if it turns over very easily by hand, it means just the opposite. Bad compression. But I would guess it’s a good buildible motor

      Like 7
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Puts me in memory of my cousin Phyllis.
    She owned a purple 58 Plymouth Convertible back in 63. She let me drive it on occasions, and I loved it. Long sleek and well built like a beautiful lady that push button car was a thrill to drive. The poly 318 was a wide built engine that appeared bigger than they actually were but still produced plenty of power.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  11. Gordon Mobley

    Was the commode lid on the trunk lid an option on the Belvedere ? I had a 59 Belvedere hardtop that did not have that . . Also my steering wheel was different . . What say ye . .

    Like 1
  12. Bill Potts

    You’re being polite,most people call it a toilet seat. Imperial had it too, doesn’t really do anything for the car. I’m partial to convertibles, and this one is definitely better looking than it’s 1960or 1961 counterparts.

    Like 1
  13. Dickie F.

    @Rex Kahrs
    I too love those fins.
    Our 59 Desoto had the same rear, except for the toilet seat. With a different double bumper front.
    I never saw one like that elsewhere, except a 2 door racing example, which was a Richard Petty Plymouth replica, racing in South Africa around 2005.

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