When you hear American, two-seat sports car from the 1950s, you probably think of either the Chevy Corvette or the Ford Thunderbird. Or if you're into obscure cars, maybe Nash Healey or Kaiser Darrin. But for a moment in time, there was the potential for a Mopar-produced competitor. For 1954, the company had famed car designer Virgil Exner create a sporty concept convertible that was called the Plymouth Belmont, and it had the makings of a real 'Vette fighter. And that very car could be yours, since Mecum Auctions is selling it.
Checking the first box of a Corvette rival is the fact the Belmont used a curvy fiberglass body. It's not quite as radical looking as the original Corvette with its faired-in headlights and toothy grille, but the Belmont still impresses with its low, wide, long shape. It's a surprisingly unadorned car, too, with the only chrome additions being a line of trim along the edges of the tailfins, the light surrounds, grille, bumpers and leading edge of the hood. This fancy body was mounted to an otherwise ordinary 114-inch chassis shared with regular Plymouth sedans of the day.
Checking the second box is its V8 engine, something the Corvette itself didn't get until 1955. It was a 3.9-liter V8 making around 150 horsepower, and Mecum notes it was the first Plymouth, concept or production, to get one. The engine was coupled to a three-speed "Hy-Drive" transmission, which was an odd combination of a torque converter and a manual transmission. The idea was that you could simply use the clutch to select your desired gear before setting off, and then never shift again for the duration of your drive.
Plymouth showed the car at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show and the 1954 New York Motorama, but it never received a production follow-up. The car did end up in two movies, according to Mecum. The first was Bundle of Joy in 1954, and the second was Mister Cory in 1957. Much more recently, it has been to both the Pebble Beach Concours and the Amelia Island Concours among other high-end classic car shows.
Now it could be yours to take to car shows. Mecum Auctions is going to offer it for sale through its Mecum Gallery Exposition program. Instead of going to auction, the car will be available for a direct purchase from Mecum. The car will be on display and eligible for inspection and purchase during the Mecum Kissimmee auction in Florida from January 2 to January 12. Mecum doesn't have an asking price listed, but the car could be spendy. When it was sold by Barrett-Jackson at auction in 2014, it went for $1.32 million. It went to auction again at Barrett-Jackson in 2018, but it didn't meet the reserve price.