1956 Plymouth Belvedere Utility (RHD)
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 230-cid|
Originally a nameplate used by Chrysler on the two-door hardtop version of the Cranbrook, the Belvedere became a separate model in 1954, positioned above the existing Plaza and Savoy lines and offered in sedan, hardtop, convertible and station wagon body styles. The Belvedere name was also used by Chrysler Australia, with sheetmetal based on the 1953-1954 American Plymouths but a number of uniquely Australian details, most notably the grille. Powered by a 217.8-cid ‘flathead’ straight six sourced from Chrysler’s Canadian arm, the Antipodean Belvedere rode on a 114-inch wheelbase and also featured a significant amount of Australian content under the skin, including 12-volt Lucas electrics instead of the Autolite equipment found on contemporary American Mopars. Assembled in Keswick, South Australia alongside the Cranbrook and Savoy (plus the DeSoto Diplomat and Dodge Kingsway), the four-door sedan was joined by a Coupe Utility, an alternative to Ford’s popular Customline. Billed as the “The finest workmate and smartest playmate that ever headed down the road”, the Coupe Utility sold in small numbers in 1956 before Chrysler Australia rationalised the entire model range of local products the following year, combining the myriad of Mopar brands into a single model – the Chrysler Royal. The Plymouth version was available as the Belvedere (with PowerFlite automatic transmission), Savoy (with automatic overdrive) or Cranbrook (with standard manual transmission). Total production of Plymouth Coupe Utilities is thought to be around 676 units, with the pricey Belvedere unsurprisingly the rarest of all, accounting for just 49 of the total. Sadly few of these have survived the rigours of time, falling victim to the wear and tear meted out to most working vehicles, making the Belvedere Coupe Utility offered here a genuine collector’s item.