Sunday, March 21, 2010

1953 Plymouth Cranbrook 4-door Sedan

"It seems the sun always shines on those who drive Plymouths. For when a car looks right, rides right and serves you faithfully through the miles, you can't help but take great pleasure from owning it. Because there's more quality built into a Plymouth, you are sure to get more lasting value out of it."

Plymouth, like all other Chrysler brands, entered the 50s with solid but uninspired designs. Chrysler's chairman K.T. Keller had insisted on functional cars with vast interior headroom, and this inevitably led to upright and rather dull proportions. In a time when "longer and lower" became increasingly important for a car's success, these "Keller boxes" naturally had a hard time.

Chrysler's fortune should change with the appointment of "Tex" Colbert as general manager in 1950, and Virgil Exner as head of styling in the year before. Colbert clearly saw the need for style and power, and fostered Exner's breakthrough "Forward Look" design, which should be introduced for 1955.

So, the 1953 lineup was merely an intermediate step. Under Exner's supervision, Plymouth chief stylist Maury Baldwin had re-skinned Plymouths and Dodges alike, the cars now sporting more fluid lines and an one-piece windshield. But beside a Chevrolet or Ford, they still looked slim, upright and short. In addition, under the hood the cars were largely similar to the previous generation and no match for their competition. At the end of the year, Plymouth was still third in the annual production statistics. But 650.500 sold cars really weren't much in relation to Ford and Chevrolet, who had sold 1,2 million units. Each of them.

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