Posted 2019-04-12 6:29 PM (#580790) Subject: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Branson, MO
I plan on bidding on a fairly nice '55 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan tomorrow at an auction. It looks pretty stock on the outside, the interior is not original but very nice and matches the exterior nicely. The poly engine has been updated??? with hemi heads and the electrical is upgraded to 12 volts with an alternator. The rest of the car is OK but needs some TLC like the wipers try to work but don't, the window fuzzies are missing in places, the dash lights don't appear to work nor the interior light. Carpet looks good, and the trunk compartment is complete and even has some 1955 repair and parts books. I see no rust but can't tell if there has been any repairs.
What's it worth? The seller claims $30K but I think that is a big stretch. I know it's tough without pictures but if you go on the Branson Auction website, it's there. Take a look and advise. There is a video on the website. bransonauction.com
Posted 2019-04-12 8:08 PM (#580797 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Frederick, MD
I'll be interested to see what it sells for. I would have thought about $15k. But, for a rust-free V8, I might be thinking way too low. They may have tried to keep the '55 wiper motor when converting to 12V as I did. It just won't work as I found out. You may have to source a '56 wiper motor as they ground through the case and just reducing the voltage to the motor to 6V isn't enough as the polarity would now be wrong. Also, there's a chance they didn't change out the 6V bulbs for the 12V equivalents and they all burned out.
Posted 2019-04-12 9:02 PM (#580803 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Branson, MO
OK guys, I'll be bidding just to keep you Forward Lookers interested. I will not keep the car for myself but will be selling if I can buy it reasonable. I'm not trying to make a fortune but will sell for the best offer over what I pay including the buyer's fees. I'm hoping to be able to sell it for around $15K so I can't bid more than $13.5 or so and sell the car for $15K. Is there interest or?????
Posted 2019-04-13 7:51 PM (#580832 - in reply to #580804) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Lower Mainland BC
ABloch - 2019-04-12 6:31 PM
More likely a 260 with hemi heads(based on the block number). Looks like they kept the 2bbl intake.
I didn't know about a 260 (or a 241) Hy-Fire V8 as referenced by allpar:
"The biggest news of the year was the “new” V-8 engine. The engine was not really new and was supplied to Plymouth by Dodge division until a new engine foundry could be completed to supply Plymouth with its own engines. The Dodge V-8, introduced in its B-series of light-duty trucks, delivered 145hp from a displacement of 241ci. Although a Plymouth V-8 had been rumored for several years, it had been held up by the Korean War (as were V-8 engines for Dodge and DeSoto) and Plymouth’s lack of manufacturing capabilities. Plymouth's first true V-8 would not appear until 1956, and then only slightly changed from the Dodge version.
At first the Plymouth V-8 was offered in two displacements—a 241ci rated at 157hp with a bore and stroke of 3.44x3.25in and a 167hp, 260ci engine with a larger bore of 3.563in, both using a compression ratio of 7.6:1. Shortly after introduction, a four barrel 177hp version of the 260 hit the streets. Maximum torque was achieved at 2400rpm on all engines, the 241 pumping out 217lb-ft and the 260 claiming 231lb-ft whether two- or four-barrel-equipped. Called the Hy-Fire V-8, the Plymouth version differed from other corporate V-8s in that the engine was not a “Hemi.” "
Posted 2019-04-14 9:55 PM (#580882 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: So. California
That's much more than they could have got from Ebay on it. Most people call the Dodge motor in the '55 Plymouth the 259, and yes, it would have used 270 or 241 heads, although they aren't much different from the 315, 325 heads. I would want to test drive it before purchasing to see if they upped the compression before fitting the hemi heads....
Posted 2019-04-15 11:58 AM (#580915 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Vancouver, BC
P27-240662 - The 27 does not mean built in Los Angeles. It is model P27, Plymouth V8. The Plymouth Six was P25.
26,543,662 - Plymouths with serial numbers starting with "26" means they were V8 models built in Los Angeles - and that is for V8 models from 1955 to 1957. Prior to 1955 serial numbers starting with "26" were used for Plymouth sixes built at San Leandro, CA, a plant that Dodge opened in 1949 for Plymouth and Dodge production and closed at the end of the 1954 model year (lack of sales).
Plymouth Six, model P25, used serial numbers starting with "25" at Los Angeles (1946-1957) as well as San Leandro (1949-1954). LA numbers were 25,0xx,xxx to 25,500,000 with San Leandro being 25,5xx,xxx and up to 26,000,000.
Plymouth V8 engines for 1955 were built by Dodge for Plymouth. The 241.3-cid Plymouth V8 was the 1953-54 Dodge engine while the 260 was a 241 with bore increased from 3.44" to 3.56". Stroke was 3.25"on both plus the Dodge D55. The D55 engine had a bore of 3.63" to give 269 cid (in Engineering Dept reports). The advertising people pushed it up to 270. Although 1955 Dodge V8 engines were built as hemi head engines, the Plymouth V8 engines were poly heads.
In the U.S. the switch from 241 to 260 V8 was at engine number P27-60201 while the switch in Canada occurred as of P27-1490-C and D59-1500-C for manual transmission and P27-1511-C and D59-1516-C for engines with Powerflite.
The story of the Korean War being the cause of the delay for the Plymouth engine is not quite true. Virgil Exner was made head of Chrysler Corporation styling in 1952. One of the first things he was able to accomplish was to convince Chrysler management to dump the idea of updating the 1954 models with new grilles, taillights and some sheetmetal tweaks for 1955 and instead go for a major overhaul of the 1953-54 bodies. Management went for it and two years later the new 1955 models were introduced.
After the revision of orders for 1955 styling (this is still in 1952), Exner pushed for a V8 engine for the 1955 Plymouth. Chevrolet was working on a new V8 for 1955 while Ford was putting the final touches to their new 1954 V8. I am surprised Chrysler management knew nothing about those two engines (as well as Pontiac's new 1955 V8 engine). Chrysler did have factory available for Plymouth engine production on Mound Road just north of Detroit that became available with the purchase of Briggs Body. The plant was enlarged and retooled. The Canadian engine plant also had to make room for V8 production. Both plants were ready to go for the 1956 model year.
The Plymouth engine for 1956 was completely new, sharing nothing with Dodge, DeSoto or Chrysler. The Plymouth V8 bore centre measurement was larger than both DeSoto and Dodge. Also, the Plymouth V8 was built only as a polyhead - no hemis. And due to the bore centres and block heights no manifolds or heads from Dodge, DeSoto or Chrysler V8 engines would fit the Plymouth V8 - or A block as it would become known.
So the Plymouth engine delay was more due to management complacency as opposed to the Korean War. After all, Lincoln got a new V8 in 1952, Ford a new ohv six in 1952, Ford, Mercury, Lincoln and Nash all got new bodies, and Willys was able to tool up the completely new Aero line.
Posted 2019-04-15 3:42 PM (#580936 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: So. California
The story of a factory/dealer hemi conversion? It's either stupidity or a plain lie. There is no "if" about it. The parts weren't even available to make a 259 into a hemi as the bore is completely different. Even today, it would require custom pistons to make the compression decent. That's why I said that I would want to test drive to see what the compression was like. Since it is obviously done by an owner at some point, he could have used any Dodge heads he wanted to. As to the difference between 241 and 270 heads, it's mainly in the valve sizes.
Posted 2019-04-15 7:24 PM (#580942 - in reply to #580922) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: DFW, TX
I know that it's a nice car, but that seems like a LOT of money for any '55 Plymouth sedan.
For that price, at minimum I would want to see receipts for the engine work, and I'd also expect all of the electric components to be functional after converting to 12v.
The Dodge Hemi heads bolt right onto a Plymouth V8 block. As Nathan has said, you need custom made pistons to get the compression back into a reasonable range with the larger Hemi combustion chambers. This engine combination was first popularized by land speed racers at Bonneville in the late '50s when D-class lakesters were restricted to under 260ci. The rule was initially intended to allow 239ci Ford flatheads to be bored and stroked and not have to compete with overhead valve engines, but racers are ingenious and the little 259 Plymouth Hemis really cleaned up.
Posted 2019-04-16 6:06 PM (#580986 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: So. California
That's one mean little Plymouth motor! That motor wouldn't need the extra compression pistons. I'm sure it had plenty of compression, and some to spare. But it probably still used forged flat tops in it instead of the stock poly cast pistons. They could have also used the 241 Dodge hemi, but sitting right under the 260 ci limit definitely has its advantages.
Posted 2019-05-05 1:29 AM (#581791 - in reply to #580792) Subject: RE: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Here's a picture of my '55 Belvedere 2 door club sedan with the Sportone paint option. The Belvederes were available in '55 as 2 door sedans, 2 door hardtops, 4 door sedans and station wagons too. 56 added the 4 door hardtops as well. I think it's a great looking car.
Posted 2019-05-05 1:49 AM (#581792 - in reply to #581791) Subject: RE: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
I subframed my '55 Belvedere with a '77 Diplomat front frame so that I could gain some more modern things like torsion bars, power disc brakes, power steering and so on. Am using a warmed up 318 with a 904 for power. When I took out the wiring under the dash I was not super careful as far as marking wires as I knew I was going to switch to 12 volts with a negative ground for electrical power. The '55s all had 6 volt positive ground systems. I pirated heater, defroster, and windshield wiper motors out of a '56 Plymouth which got me to 12 volt negative ground for those. Also bought the gas and temperature gauges out of that car. In '56 they went to idiot lights for oil and my oil gauge had a direct pressure line to the engine so no change needed there. Anyway the 56 fuel gauge I am trying to get working has 2 terminals on the back. One threaded post with a nut to hold the wires and one is a receiver for a small plug in type terminal end. The tank sending unit is reading around 8 ohms which is about right for the amount of fuel in the tank. No matter which way I hook up the 12 volt power lead and the tank sending unit I am getting no response on the gauge. There is continuity through the gauge so think that should be OK. There are some fabric washers on the gauge mounting screws so it appears that the gauge itself is not supposed to be grounded? I have found a brand new gauge but it's spendy and am reluctant to buy it if I don't need it. Any help out there?
Posted 2019-05-05 4:10 AM (#581795 - in reply to #581792) Subject: RE: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Lower Mainland BC
The biggest thing to be aware of for one of these 55-56 (if not others) fuel gauges is the ground for the sender. Normally, the sender would ground through the tank to the frame. However, if *somebody* got over zealous with the paint, etc. the sender/tank will not be grounded to the frame and, as a result, the fuel gauge will NOT function as desired.
Posted 2019-06-10 4:34 AM (#583192 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Maybe an obvious question, but is the gauge mounted, and connected to the same ground as the tank?
The gauge connections are: threaded post, positive: female socket, tank gauge terminal; case, ground (chassis).
Posted 2019-06-10 5:52 PM (#583234 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Hey guys, thanks for the responses. Just got the problem solved today and as some have indicated it was a ground problem. The sending unit was grounded but the fuel gauge was not. All is well in fuel land! Next question. Am wiring up the turn signals and wondering if the two indicator lights in the '55 speedometer are left and right turn signal indicators or a single turn signal indicator light and a high beam headlight indicator light. Anybody know that one? Thanks.
Posted 2019-06-17 12:09 AM (#583550 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Hello again. Well fuel gauge is working, turn signals light up the left dash green indicator light, high beam lights up right side red dash indicator light and no smoke so far. Had to remove the speedometer and take it apart and remove 60 years worth of dirt and grime from the inside indicator light lenses. Next project is to try to get the dome light operational again. No door switch on the drivers door so will have to replace that. Took the drivers side interior window trim off and found the wires that go up the windshield post into the headliner and back towards the rear. There are four wires taped together. Am thinking that two are hot and ground to the dome light but can't figure the other two unless they run clear through to the trunk for lights back there. Anybody got an idea about that? I'm going to get everything working on this if it takes me all summer!
Posted 2019-06-17 1:01 AM (#583553 - in reply to #583550) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Lower Mainland BC
On my 56 Dodge (similar architecture to your 55 Plymouth), there are wires that run above the driver's side doors and then down the "C" pillar and into the trunk for the rear lights.
The power wire to the dome light is *ALWAYS* hot. The dome light is only on when one of the doors are open and the door jamb switch pin extends out and grounds the wire that is attached to the door jamb switch *OR* if the dome light switch is used to ground the circuit.
I have investigated the dome light (I installed a NOS one that was faulty - which a) I had to figure out and b) fix) in this thread:
Posted 2019-06-17 2:36 PM (#583583 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Hello D56D50boy. Once again your info is precise and informative, especially your hand drawn schematic on the dome light wiring from your previous thread. Will take the dome light down tomorrow and check out the switch. Haven't been able to locate the ground wires to the door switches yet. All I have is holes in the door frames where the switches used to be. I'm like a bulldog when it comes to these things so I'm sure I'll get it working. If it's there it's got to work. It is really great having all the help from you on this. Would take a lot longer if I had to figure it out all by myself. Thank you very much.
Posted 2019-06-17 3:48 PM (#583585 - in reply to #583583) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Lower Mainland BC
I like to document and share my work. Sometimes it helps me remember what I did, other times it helps somebody else, in this case you Bill. Sometimes, it even tells people what *NOT* to do, i.e. I make some mistake(s)
As for the ground wire(s), the front door switch ground wire is accessible by removing the kick panel (more info below the photo):
For a four door, the rear door dome light swithc ground wire is inside the B-pillar, i.e. to find it you will have to remove the two piece B-pillar cover. Then you will see something like that shown below.
(On a related note, you might want to visit my shoulder belt thread:
Posted 2019-06-26 11:04 AM (#584084 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Latest report. Got the dome light all operational last week. Ended up spending several days on the project. I took the switch apart on the dome light and cleaned the contacts. What an interesting re-assembly situation. Spent several hours trying to get all the little pieces in order and held while I re-bent the tabs that hold everything together. Finally used some tape to grab everything and then gently pulled it out after I had partially closed the little tabs. During my investigation of wiring I discovered two spots where the outside fabric on the power wire was gone and was able to make permanent repairs. I would have pulled a new wire in but somewhere up in the headliner the existing wire was very securely fastened. Next thing was the door switches. Believe it or not I ordered two new door switches manufactured for a '55 Plymouth from our local NAPA store. I took the kick panels off located a wire that ran from the dome light to the passenger side door switch which was in place but badly bent and rusty. No wire behind the drivers side switch hole so I ran a wire from the passenger side under the dash to the other side. The new switches showed up and I hooked things up and now all is well in dome light heaven. This was the last of my interior fixes. My next major project is to fabricate mounting points on the '77 Diplomat front frame to attach my '55 Plymouth fenders, radiator support, front bumper and some other minor things. The fabricate and fit details should keep me busy for the rest of the summer. My goal earlier this spring was to have the car completed by this coming weekends annual Cars In The Park Show but that ain't gonna happen. Have been taking my time and fixing lots of little detail issues as I go, but it should be pretty solid and roadworthy when it is finally completed. Thanks again for all your help and valuable information. It mostly definitely made things go lots more smoothly.
Posted 2019-06-26 12:50 PM (#584089 - in reply to #584084) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Well that seems to be all good news. Congrats.
I had to laugh out loud (LOL) when you described trying to get the switch back together. I took mine apart and failed to get it back together. Fortunately I purchased a NOS dome light (base, not lens) from Len Dawson and could just move on. (I later found out that the NOS switch had some issues that I had to wire around).
I have one dome light switch that isn't working (right front (4 door)). By chance, do you remember the PN for the NAPA door switch that you bought?
Posted 2019-06-30 12:06 AM (#584243 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
The NAPA PN for the door switches was DJ6300. The closest switches that they could find to Montana was in Denver but they still showed up in three or four days. A little pricey at 25.10 each list and 15.67 net but where else you gonna get them? Solid well built switches designed for a male plug-in connector.
A year or so ago I put out a call for an aluminum passenger side door sill plate molding. My leaking heater valve had soaked up mine pretty good and the anti freeze ate the metal up in several spots. Haven't found anything in the good used department but got a response from a guy who manufactures them. He said around $350 for a new pair and about six months wait time. Well I thought sure I could find something cheaper and faster but I have been searching constantly for months and completely struck out. Now I can't locate my notes on the guy that builds them as it is beginning to look like that's what I'll have to do. Need a passenger side sill plate for a 2 door club sedan or a pair if I have to go that way. Think the hardtops use the same plate and also the '56 Plymouths 2 doors. Any ideas there?
Posted 2019-07-14 5:25 PM (#584830 - in reply to #580790) Subject: Re: 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door sedan
I'm searching for aluminum door sill plates for my '55 2 door club sedan. Had some correspondence a while ago with a guy who said he could make me a set of these. I have lost that info and am trying to find him again as it is beginning to look like that's what I am going to have to do. My sometimes faulty rememberer tells me that his forum handle was "mobiletraveler" or maybe something close to that. Anyone out there know anything about any of that?