American Car Spotters Guide - 1955

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American Car Spotters Guide - 1955


Breaking All Records



During 1955 the American automotive industry broke all records with a total production of 9,204,049 vehicles. Passenger car sales accounted for nearly eight million. Most manufacturers introduced entirely new cars for the 1955 model year, incorporating such features as panoramic windshields (wrap-around windscreens).

Chevrolet, Packard, Pontiac and Plymouth offered OHV V8 engines. There was a host of new experimental cars from Buick (Wildcat III), Cadillac (Eldorado Brougham), Chevrolet (Biscayne), Chrysler (Flight Sweep), Ford (Mystere and Futura), General Motors (La Salle II with V6 engine and Firebird II with gas turbine), Oldsmobile (Delta) and Pontiac (Strato-Star).

Kaiser Motors Corporation was reorganized as Kaiser Industries Corporation, with Willys Motors, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary. Both firms announced plans to discontinue passenger car production in the US and concentrate on the manufacture of civilian and military Jeep vehicles.

Ford followed GM's Corvette with its Thunderbird two-seater in 1955, which grew into a four seater three years later, never quite capturing the cachet of the original smaller version but growing into an eminently popular personal car - while the Corvette turned into America's only true sports car after all. During 1954-55 most car makers changed over from the traditional 6-volt to 12-volt electrical systems.

American V8 Lineup



The outstanding feature of the 1955 American engines was the almost universal swing to overhead valve V8 design. As we all know now, an overhead valve design results in a more compact engine, with stronger crankshaft and con rods on account of their short, stubby dimensions. Greater piston displacement for a given weight of crankcase was possible with the V8 design in comparison to the straight in-line 6 or 8. It was siad that the 1955 US V8 designs were engineered to still be up-to-date 10 years later, so the huge cost of the re-tooling could be "written off" over a long period - and history was to prove them right.

It is interesting to note that in order to supply the demand for extra power and acceleration a number of American manufacturers made available "power package" versions of their standard models. This was usually achieved by fitting double-barrelled carbys, a dual exhaust system, and other - modifications, usually resulting in around 20 extra brake horsepower.

1955 American V8 Engine Range
Make
V8 Model
B.H.P. @ RPM
Torque
Bore & Stroke
Displacement
Compression
V8
188 at 4800
256 at 2400
3.63 x 3.20
264
8.4
Power Package
236 at 4600
330 at 3000
4.00 x 3.20
322
9.0
V8
250 at 4600
345 at 2300
3.81 x 3.63
331
9.0
Power Package
270 at 4600
350 at 2800
3.81 x 3.63
331
9.0
Turbo Fire
162 at 4400
257 at 2200
3.75 x 3.00
265
8.0
Power Package
180 at 4600
260 at 2800
3.75 x 3.00
265
8.0
Spitfire
188 at 4400
275 at 2400
3.63 x 3.63
301
8.0
Fire Power
250 at 4600
340 at 2800
3.81 x 3.63
331
8.5
Fire Dome
185 at 4400
245 at 2800
3.72 x 3.34
291
7.5
Fireliite
200 at 4400
274 at 2400
3.72 x 3.34
291
7.5
Red Ram
175 at 4400
240 at 2400
3.63 x 3.25
270
7.6
Super Red Rani
183 at 4400
245 at 2400
3.63 x 3.25
270
7.6
Power Package
193 at 4400
245 at 2800
3.63 x 3.25
270
7.6
Trigger Torque
162 at 4400
258 at 2200
3.62 x 3.60
272
7.6
Power Package
182 at 4400
268 at 2600
3.62 x 3.60
272
8.5
Thunderbird
193 at 4400
280 at 2600
3.75 x 3.30
292
8.1
Thunderbird
198 at 4400
286 at 2500
3.75 x 3.30
292
8.5
V8
245 at 4500
352 at 2400
3.81 x 3.50
320
8.0
V8
225 at 4400
332 at 2500
3.94 x 3.50
341
8.0
V8
188 at 4400
274 at 2500
3.75 x 3.30
292
7.6
Power Package
198 at 4400
286 at 2500
3.75 x 3.30
292
8.5
V8
208 at 4200
300 at 2600
3.81 x 3.50
320
7.8
Rocket
185 at 4000
320 at 2000
3.88 x 3.44
324
8.5
Power Package
202 at 4000
332 at 2400
3.88 x 3.44
324
8.5
Caribbean
275 at 4600
355 at 2400
3.81 x 3.50
320
8.0
Hy-Fire
157 at 4400
217 at 2400
3.44 x 3.25
241
7.6
Super Hy-Fire
167 at 4400
231 at 2400
3.56 x 3.25
260
7.6
Power Package
177 at 4400
231 at 2800
3.56 x 3.25
260
7.6
Strato Streak
173 at 4400
256 at 2400
3.75 x 3.25
287
7.4
Power Package
180 at 4600
264 at 2400
3.75 x 3.25
287
8.0
Pacesetter
140 at 4500
202 at 2800
3.56 x 2.81
224
7.5
Wildcat
175 at 4500
250 at 3000
3.56 x 3.25
259
7.5
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1955 Buick Series 60 Century Riviera Sedan, Model 63
USA

Buick Century

  Also see: Buick Road Tests and Reviews | Buick Brochures
 
The 1955 Buick range comprised Series 40 Special, 50 Super, 60 Century and 70 Roadmaster models. Model availability per Series was six, three, five and three resp. All models now had four "port-holes", except the Series 40 Special, which had three as before. The wheelbase was 122 inches for Special and Century models, 127 inch for Super and Roadmaster. Sales were up almost 50% over 1954, at 738,152. Shown is the Series 60 Century Riviera Sedan, Model 63.
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1955 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster Sedan, Model 72
USA

Buick Roadmaster

  Also see: Buick Road Tests and Reviews | Buick Brochures
 
The Buick Series 70 Roadmaster Sedan, Model 72, combined new styling with 236-bhp V8 engine and new variable-pitch Dynaflow transmission.
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1955 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan. Model 6219
USA

Cadillac 62

  Also see: Cadillac Road Tests and Reviews | Cadillac Brochures
 
With the main exception of front bumper and body side mouldings 1955 Cadillacs looked similar to the 1954 models.
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1955 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville Celebrity
USA

Cadillac 62 Coupe de Ville Celebrity

  Also see: Cadillac Road Tests and Reviews | Cadillac Brochures
 
The Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville Celebrity, one of three specially appointed production show cars for GM's Motorama exhibition. An experimental car, the Eldorado Brougham, was displayed also.
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1955 Chevrolet Series 2400 Bel Air Sedan. Model 240
USA

Chevrolet Bel Air

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
 
All Chevrolet models were entirely new for 1955 and an OHV V8 engine was available for most (the previous Chevy V8 was in 1919). Other features included Hotchkiss drive rear axle, ball-jointed steering swivels, swing-type pedals, optional overdrive and air-conditioning, etc.
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1955 Chevrolet Series Two-Ten 2100 DeLuxe Sedan
USA

Chevrolet Two Ten

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
 
Pictured left is the Chevrolet Series Two-Ten or 2100 DeLuxe Sedan, Model 2103. There was a choice of six engine/transmission combinations.
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1955 Chrysler C-67 Windsor DeLuxe Nassau Hardtop
USA

Chrysler Windsor

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
 
The Chrysler C-67 Windsor DeLuxe Nassau Hardtop featured a new 188-bhp 301 CID OHV V8 engine. The Six was dropped for good. All 1955 Chryslers had a 126-inch wheelbase.
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1955 Chrysler C-68 New Yorker DeLuxe Hardtop
USA

Chrysler New Yorker

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
 
The Chrysler C-68 New Yorker DeLuxe Hardtop had improved 331 CID FirePower V8 rated at 250 bhp. Powerflite transmission (with range selector on dash), power steering, power brakes were all standard.
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1955 Chrysler C-300
USA

Chrysler 300

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
 
The Chrysler C-300 was the first of a new breed of Chrysler high-performance cars. It was named 300 since it was (at that time) the only stock car wielding 300 brute horsepower. An Imperial grille and wire wheels were its trademarks. One of the C-300's won NASCAR's 1955 Grand National at an average speed of 92.05 mph for 160 miles.
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1955 DeSoto Diplomat Custom
USA

DeSoto Diplomat Custom

  Also see: DeSoto Brochures
 
Although the 6-cylinder engine was still available, De Soto introduced a new V8 for 1955.
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1955 DeSoto Diplomat
USA

DeSoto Diplomat

  Also see: DeSoto Brochures
 
The DeSoto SP-26 Diplomat and Diplomat Custom were technically similar to Plymouth Six Plaza and Belvedere respectively. There was also a Diplomat Six with 217·8 (vs 230) CID engine, designated SP-26X, and SP-27 V8s.
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1955 DeSoto S-21 Fireflite
USA

DeSoto Fireflite

  Also see: DeSoto Brochures
 
The DeSoto S-21 Fireflite was a new higher-priced addition to the line. It shared the 126-inch wheelbase chassis and 291 CID V8 engine with the S-22 Firedome but output differed (185 bhp for Firedome, 200 bhp for Fireflite). Power Steering and Power Brakes were optional on both. The Six engine was discontinued for home market models.
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1955 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman Hardtop Coupe
USA

DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman Hardtop

  Also see: DeSoto Brochures
 
The DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman Hardtop Coupe with two-tone paint.
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1955 Dodge 0-55-3 Custom Royal
USA

Dodge

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
 
Pictured left is the Dodge 0-55-3 Custom Royal with 183-bhp Super Red Ram V8 engine. Other 1955 models included the Kingsway Six (0-54, 0-54X) and V8 (0-59), Coronet Six (0-56-1) and V8 (0-55-1), and Royal V8 (0-55-2). All except Kingsway (see Plymouth) had a 120-inch wheelbase.
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1955 Fairlane Fordor
USA

Ford Fairlane

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
 
Ford introduced entirely new models for 1955. The Crestline name was dropped for the top-line models and replaced by Fairlane. Pictured left is the Fairlane Fordor (73C). The basic Mainline and intermediate Customline had the same bodywork but less luxurious trim. All had 115½-inch wheelbase and 272 CID V8 (Y-block) engine with 162 or 182 horsepower rating or the alternative 223 CID Six which now developed 120 bhp. Conventional, overdrive and Fordomatic transmissions were available.
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1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria, Model 64A
USA

Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
 
Pictured left is the Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria, Model 64A. On the Model 64B the front section of the roof was made of transparent plastic. Note the tiara-like chrome strip arched over the top of car.
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1955 Ford Fairlane Country Squire
USA

Ford Fairlane Country Squire

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
 
Pictured left is the Ford Fairlane eight-passenger Country Squire, Model 79C. Ranch Wagons (59A. B) had two doors, Country Sedans (79B, D) four. For extra performance all V8-engined wagons had dual exhausts.
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1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
USA

Ford Thunderbird

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
 
The Ford Thunderbird two-seater was beginning of a long line of 'T-birds', as they became popularly known. The engine was a 292 CID Y-block V8, and the wheelbase was 102 inches. There were convertible (Model 40A) and hardtop (Model 40B) versions.
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1955 Hudson
USA

Hudson

   
 
In 1955 Hudson production was transferred from Detroit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, as one of the results of the forming of the American Motors Corporation which took place in 1954, combining Nash and Hudson. 1955 Hudsons were, in fact, variants of the Nash and Nash Rambler cars, with different front end and trim.
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1955 Chrysler C-70 Crown Imperial
USA

Imperial

   
 
Imperial, Chrysler's most luxurious line, was now a separate marque and, as before, competed with Ford's Lincoln and GM's Cadillac. The 1955 line consisted of C-69 Imperial and C-70 Crown Imperial models with 130 and 149½-inch wheelbase resptively. Both had 250-bhp 331 CID V8's.
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1955 Kaiser Special two-door Sedan
USA

Kaiser

  Also see: Kaiser Road Tests and Reviews
 
The Kaiser's were the same as 1954 models and were also the last in the line, the company deciding to concentrate on Jeep vehicles. Pictured left is a 1954/55 Kaiser Special two-door Sedan.
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1955 Kurtis 500-M Sports Car
USA

Kurtis 500-M

   
 
The Kurtis 500-M Sports Car was named after the lndianapolis 500-Mile Races where in 1954 cars designed and built by Frank Kurtis won all but seventh of the first ten places. The car was made by Kurtis Sports Car Corp. of Los Angeles, California and powered by a stock Cadillac V8 of 250 bhp. Top speed was 135 mph. A modified engine, good for 175+ mph, was optional.
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1955 Lincoln Capri Coupe
USA

Lincoln Capri

  Also see: Lincoln Road Tests and Reviews | Lincoln Brochures
 
Lincoln's 1952 type chassis and bodyshells were retained but many detail styling changes were made for 1955. Technical features included a new Turbo-Drive automatic transmission, and improved larger-bore 341 CID 225-bhp V8 power plant with dual exhausts. A new air-conditioning system and tubeless tyres were introduced also. There were standard and Capri models, while the name Cosmopolitan was dropped.
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1955 Mercury Montclair Coupe
USA

Mercury

  Also see: Mercury Road Tests and Reviews | Mercury Brochures
 
In 1955 Mercury introduced new models which were longer, wider and lower and featured a 'full-scope' windscreen, new interior styling and more powerful engines (OHV V8, 188 and 198 bhp). In three series, Custom, Monterey and Montclair, there was a total of ten models. The Montclair Coupe was the top of the line.
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1955 Meteor Rideau four-door Sedan
Canada

Meteor

   
 
The Meteor Rideau four-door Sedan was a Ford-based Canadian product. The radiator grille featured heavy V-motif in the centre.
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1955 Nash Rambler two-door Hardtop
USA

Nash Rambler

  Also see: Nash Road Tests and Reviews
 
By 1955 the Nash Rambler model availability now numbered eight. They had a new grille and were also available as Hudson Rambler.
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1955 Nash Statesman
USA

Nash Statesman

  Also see: Nash Road Tests and Reviews
 
The Nash Statesman and Ambassador lines were reduced to four-door Sedans and two-door Hardtops. In addition to the OHV Six engine, a 208-bhp V8 with Ultramatic Drive was offered for the Ambassador. The Ultramatic automatic transmission was bought from Packard.
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1955 Oldsmobile 98 DeLuxe
USA

Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight

  Also see: Oldsmobile Road Tests and Reviews | Oldsmobile Brochures
 
The Oldsmobile 1955 models featured new two-tone styling, redesigned front suspension and a 202-bhp Rocket engine. The first four-door Hardtop in the industry, the Holiday Sedan was introduced in March. Soon the Holiday two and four-door hardtop models accounted for almost two-thirds of Olds' production. Super 88 models were similar in general appearance to the 98 but had slightly shorter wheelbase.
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1955 Packard 400 Hardtop
USA

Packard

  Also see: Packard Road Tests and Reviews
 
Packard, now merged with Studebaker, again offered regular and Clipper models, the latter being the lower-priced line. Pictured left is the luxurious Packard 400 Hardtop. In addition to new body styling and a new 260-bhp V8 engine it featured Torsion- Level ride, a revolutionary new suspension system incorporating long torsion bars interconnecting the front and rear wheels with automatic load-sensitive height/level control.
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1955 Plymouth P-26-2 Belvedere Six
USA

Plymouth

  Also see: Plymouth Road Tests and Reviews | Plymouth Brochures
 
The 1955 Plymouth models were entirely new and available with a V8 for the first time The new Hy-Fire engine came in two versions: 157-bhp 241 CID and 167-bhp 260 CID. With optional four-barrel carburettor the 260 CID gave 177 bhp There were Plaza, Savoy and Belvedere models, all with 115-inch wheelbase. Series designations were P-26 for the Sixes, P-27 for the V8s.
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1955 Plymouth P-27 -2 Belvedere Hardtop Coupe
USA

Plymouth Belvedere Hardtop Coupe

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
 
Pictured left is the Plymouth P-27 -2 Belvedere Hardtop Coupe. Most Plymouth models were available also as DeSoto (Diplomat) and Dodge (Kingsway), but only for export.
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1955 Pontiac Series 27 Chieftain 870 Sedan
USA

Pontiac Chieftain

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
 
The Pontiac Series 27 Chieftain 870 Sedan had entirely new body styling with panoramic windscreen and a new overhead-valve V8 engine of 180 bhp rating. There were eight models in this Series and the wheelbase was 122 inches.
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1955 Pontiac Series 28 Star Chief Convertible
USA

Pontiac Star Chief

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
 
The Pontiac Series 28 Star Chief Convertible was one of four models in Pontiac's luxury range. The wheelbase was 124 inches and the car was powered by the new 287·2 CID 180-bhp Strato-Streak V8.
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1955 Studebaker Commander V8 Regal Ultra Vista Sedan
USA

Studebaker Commander

  Also see: Studebaker Road Tests and Reviews
 
The Studebaker Commander V8 Regal Ultra Vista four-door Sedan, Model 16G8-W6, had 162-bhp 259.2 CID Bearcat V8 engine (High-Power kit optional, 182 bhp). The wheelbase 116.5 inches.
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1955 Studebaker Commander V8 Regal Conestoga Ultra Vista Station Wagon
USA

Studebaker Commander V8 Regal Conestoga Ultra Vista Wagon

  Also see: Studebaker Road Tests and Reviews
 
The Studebaker Commander V8 Regal Conestoga Ultra Vista Station Wagon, Model 16G8-D6 was also available in the less luxurious Champion 16G6 Series (with 185 CID 101-bhp flat-head Six engine).
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1955 Studebaker President Speedster Hardtop Coupe
USA

Studebaker President

  Also see: Studebaker Road Tests and Reviews
 
For 1955 Studebaker revived the old President name for its top-line models. Presidents had a 185-bhp Passmaster V8 engine which was, actually, the Commander's Bearcat with four (instead of two) barrel carburettor, and 120-inch wheelbase. Pictured left is the special Speedster version of the Hardtop Coupe, one of the immediate predecessors of Stude's famed Hawk sports-type cars.
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1955 Willys 4 x 4 Jeep Station Wagon
USA

Willys Jeep Station Wagon

  Also see: Willys Road Tests and Reviews
 
Willys 4 x 4 Jeep Station Wagon and derivations. The last Aero-Willys cars were the Bermuda and Custom with the Hurricane 6 F-head engine. They had a new grille and various minor trim changes. The name Aero-Willys reappeared, however, in Brazil where Willys-Overland do Brasil SA had commenced Jeep production in 1954 and later introduced the Aero-Willys 2600 Sedan, the Willys-Interlagos Sports Car, and others.
1955 Chevrolet Sedan
1955 Chevrolet Sedan.
1955 Chevy Convertible
The smart styling of the 1955 Chevrolets was carried through to the rear bumper, with trunk-deck and tail lamps emphasising the longer lower look. This angle also illustrates the special two-tone colour scheme that was available on Bel-Air convertibles and Sports Coupes...
1955 Chevrolet
1955 Chevrolet.
1955 Chrysler New Yorker
1955 Chrysler New Yorker.
1955 Dodge
1955 Dodge.
1955 Kaiser-Willys
1955 Kaiser-Willys.
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