NOVEMBER 2017: A 1966 PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE I GETS A BOLD NEW ATTITUDE

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The 1966 Plymouth Belvedere I was a practical transportation solution for many North American families when it hit the showroom 51 years ago.

 

It was a lower priced alternative to the higher end Satellite and GTX B-body Plymouths and its affordable price tag was appealing to frugal buyers.

 

A 1966 Plymouth Belvedere 2-door sedan is an unusual car in its own right because few of these body styles have survived the past 51 years. A 1966 Plymouth two-door post decked out in Hemi orange paint grabbed plenty of attention at a car show.

 

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Wilf Wallator was the car guy behind this striking 1966 Plymouth Belvedere two-door post project. He bought one brand new out of the dealership in 1966 as a young guy and always wanted to own another one. In fact, his original Plymouth Belvedere I was Wilf’s first brand new car.

 

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The Belvedere models could be purchased with a variety of powertrain choices and Wilf’s original car had a 383 big block hooked up to a 4-speed manual transmission. Over the years, Wilf always wanted to own a car like his first new car.

 

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He found a 1966 Belvedere I with no motor and plenty of potential to duplicate Wilf’s original ’66–with a couple of changes. Wilf wanted his car to stand out in a crowd and a Hemi orange paint job was a bold new color choice for his car project.

 

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Wilf located a 1967 Chrysler four-door hardtop with a mildly tricked-out 383 engine under the hood. The 383 had aluminum heads, headers and a mild cam to give it more punch.

 

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The Chrysler’s owner advised Wilf not to drive past any gas stations on the drive home and the guy was right, according to Wilf.

 

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The 3:55 posi-traction gears were not exactly fuel-friendly so Wilf decided he will revert back to the original 2:97 gears on the Plymouth. The car gets the kind of mileage that one could expect from gears designed for quarter miles and not highway miles.

 

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However, he was happy to get rid of the blue paint/blue interior on the Plymouth and his new color choices really pop on the car.

 

Wilf started the project 7 years ago when he purchased the rolling chassis and began to transform a 273 small block Plymouth with an automatic transmission into a 383 bolted up to an A-833 manual transmission.

 

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Wilf has no trouble with the mechanical component of a car project but he had to learn a brand new skill set when he tackled the body work on his Plymouth project.  “I had to learn how to sand and block-sand”, in Wilf’s words.

 

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The final paint was applied by a local body guy and gave the car its crowd-pleasing good looks. Wilf’s Plymouth had dealer-installed air conditioning but Wilf opted for aftermarket AC to keep him cool on the road.

 

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The overall appearance of his bright orange Belvedere will make him even cooler on the road and at car shows.

 

Jim Sutherland

 

 

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