Relive The Much More Tasteful Fifties; Price Unknown

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

The great thing about cars from seventies is that they make the cars from the fifties look…better. Here’s a nifty concept car from Chrysler, the 1956 (not so) Plainsman. It was Virgil Exner’s take on the wagon, and gave a glimpse of the direction Chrysler’s radical 1957 models would take. And it can be yours! It’s coming to auction on Jan 22. More shots:

Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

More by Paul Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
3 of 28 comments
  • Shaker Shaker on Dec 19, 2009

    Holy Schnikes - a two-door full-size wagon! Does the tranny selector reside somewhere between the jet engine throttle controls and the afterburner switches? From Wikipedia: "The name Dagmar Bumpers (and Dagmars) was a direct reference to Dagmar (born Virginia Ruth Egnor) [1] the early 1950s television personality who was as well known for her pronounced cleavage as she was for her dumb blonde character on the program Broadway Open House. Dagmar's physical attributes were further enhanced by low-cut gowns and the shape of her bra cups, which were somewhat conical. Egnor was amused by the tribute." Thanks TTAC's B&B, I learned something on my day off!

  • Geeber Geeber on Dec 19, 2009

    I believe that this was badged the Plymouth Plainsman at the time. Plymouth had been the first with an all-steel passenger car station wagon after the war. (The Willys Jeepster was actually the first all-steel wagon, but in those days it was considered a Jeep first and a car second, and suburbanites did not want to drive around in a Jeep. How times change...) While Ford led in total wagon sales in the 1950s, by the late 1950s, Plymouth generally led in percentage of passenger cars sales that were wagons. If I recall correctly, the Plainsman featured the spare tire stowed underneath the passenger-side fender on the OUTSIDE of the car. A metal panel was removed to gain access to the tire. This got the spare out of the car, and allowed for the installation of the rear-facing third seat - a feature offered on the 1957 Plymouth wagons. I also believe that, for 1957, all Chrysler Corporation wagons shared the same basic wheelbase and body, with divisional distinctions maintained through different front clips and taillights. This saved money and allowed Plymouth to brag in its advertising that it offered the biggest wagon of the low-price three (a big selling point in the 1950s).

    • Rudiger Rudiger on Dec 19, 2009

      From an old Motor Trend article:

      The January 1956 press release that accompanied the photos of this Chrysler Plainsman concept car hailed it as a "Bold New Experiment in Station Wagon Design." Among its innovations were "an 'observation-car' third seat" and a powered tailgate and rear window. Another trick feature was the storage of the spare tire just aft of the rear axle, hidden behind a flip-up fender skirt. The Western motif is highlighted by brown-and-white calf-hide interior, and who could live without the "Gold-colored Texas Longhorn medallions" on those audacious B-pillars? Chrysler styling director Virgil Exner said the car "reflects the colorful and casual way of life that typifies the nation's westward movement and is a bold expression of the suburban trend in American living."Certainly not the most elegant of showcars (and, therefore, not as desirable), it's a shame that the one-off Plainsman has fallen into such a state of disrepair. Frankly, as someone else mentioned, other than the roof, the styling of the Plainsman does show remarkable restraint considering the chrome excesses of most vehicles of the era. Besides the unconventional styling of the roof, the most noteworthy feature is probably the externally-mounted spare tire hidden in the passenger side fender skirt behind the right-rear tire. Speaking of which, unlike most other vehicles of the era that were so-equipped, those fender skirts seem to be quite nicely integrated into the body work. In practical use, however, I can see them being a bit of a headache in comparison to conventional skirts and, considering the production cost of such a design, can easily understand why they were rarely (if ever) done on production vehicles in such a manner.
  • Tassos Ford models are like dumb Hollywood movies. The original is far better than their god damned sequels. This was true of the Mustang vs the II, AND the Capri vs its second gen, and their BEV PORKER atrocities many decades later
  • Jeff I would not buy a Chinese car with the current global situation with Taiwan and Ukraine but I believe eventually China will become the number 1 producer of vehicles globally. Lou brought up a valid point that much of the content of new vehicles has components made in China. Even many of the tires that are sold are made in China. Try buying a small appliance or electronics that are not made in China. Many of the electric motors that go in power reclining furniture are made in China. Many auto parts especially replacement parts are made in China.
  • 2ACL Not as bad as some have quipped, but half the appeal of a sport compact is the car on which it's based. The Ion was one of the worst in segment, blunting the outreach of GMPD's work. More marginalization hit in the form of competitors evolving into some of their most compelling interations. $8.5k? KBB tells Joe Average to aim for half that. Within the context of those specifically interested in this model, the magic words for asking more than market seem to be 'Competition Package.' If the best the seller can do in a short ad is vaguely reference aftermarket audio, they don't deserve a premium.
  • The Oracle I can’t wait to see the UAW attempt to organize the Chinese plants when they come.
  • Redapple2 They strove to excel and improve in this era ( on the cheap? ). They gave us Saturnasty and Northstarubish and the F150 grew in dependability and features over the Silveradoffal. -gm- a legacy of utter garbage.