Concept Car Of The Day: 1956 Plymouth Plainsman - AllCarIndex

Concept Car Of The Day: 1956 Plymouth Plainsman

May 15, 2024

The next show car from Plymouth took a different twist as it was a station wagon. Unlike many show cars, most unique features on this one made their way into production. Designed by Dave Scott, the "Plainsman" originally started as a "coupe de ville"-type town car, but at the suggestion of Exner, Scott modified the design to create a station wagon, as wagons were becoming big business at Chrysler.

The car was first sketched in February 1954 and construction began in October 1954 by Ghia. When the car was unloaded from its shipping crate in Detroit on December 5, 1955, it sank under its own weight due to its lead-laden body. A heavier Chrysler New Yorker suspension had to be used to solve the problem. Powered by a 260ci V-8, the 4,900lb car was thoroughly underpowered. Many of the Plainsman's innovations, such as the rear-facing third seat, spare tire mounted in the right rear quarter panel, and power-operated tailgate window eventually made their way into production.

After its show career, the Plainsman was shipped to a dealer in Havana, Cuba. It then made its way to Mexico, Australia (where it was converted to right-hand drive by law), and Japan before returning to the U.S. Today, the car is part of the Bortz Dream Car Collection.

Chrysler Corporation unveiled the experimental Plainsman during the January 1956 Chicago Auto Show. Mounted on a 115-inch wheelbase Plymouth chassis, the 2-door wagon accented a Western theme with its "Palomino beige" finish, gold-colored Texas Longhorn medallion, and bronze trim. The unique cantilever, stepped roof contained a louvered ventilator for draft-free ventilation and a padded white fabric top covering the rear two-thirds of the all-steel roof that was weather-resistant.

A clever idea on the Plainsman that made its way into the 1957 station wagon models by Chrysler Corp was the spare tire and wheel hidden behind the right wheel, accessed via a lift-up panel.

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