Plymouth Belmont: Running, driving, Virgil Exner-owned concept car could be yours

A genuine one-of-a-kind car

Concept cars are such bittersweet things. They're often gorgeous and exciting, but all too often they never see production in even the most watered-down forms. And even then, the beautiful shapes aren't usually driveable. But in the case of this 1954 Plymouth Belmont concept, it is drivable, and it could be yours.

This curvaceous roadster, which appeared at the 1954 New York Auto Show and was owned at one time by Chrysler styling master Virgil Exner, is driveable because under the long hood is a 241-cubic-inch V8 coupled to a three-speed automatic transmission. It's not a speed demon with just 157 horsepower, but that's OK, because you don't want to accelerate so fast you deprive the world of the Belmont's beautiful body. For a design from the 1950s, it's impressively restrained and elegant. The flanks are completely smooth and flowing, the only interruptions being the shut lines to the small doors. There aren't even door handles on the sides. Chrome and polished stainless accents are left only to the lights, bumpers, grille, and a slender line that runs along the peak of the fenders from stem to stern. Even the fins are small and subtle (relatively).

Even the interior is simple and clean. The dashboard is made of machine-turned metal with white on black analog dials and compass-like needles. Everything else is wrapped in a very light beige leather (probably vinyl), and again, polished surfaces are kept to a minimum.

Of course the other great part is that this concept is something you could own because it will go for auction at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale auction. There's no publicly available estimate for how much money the car may bring, but it does have a reserve, so be prepared with a little extra cash even if you have the winning bid. The auction runs from Jan. 13 to Jan. 21.

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