The Belvedere started out, like many cars of that era, as a trim level on another car. That car was the Plymouth Cranbrook, and the Belvedere name was put on the top trim level. With a flathead 6 cylinder making just 97 horsepower, this car was not built for speed. The $2,114 price tag however, did excite a lot of American buyers.
It wasn't until 1954 that the Belvedere became its own model line, replacing the Cranbrook. Along with the 2 door hardtop that had been the only option for the Belvedere when it was a trim line, the car now was sold as a convertible, four door sedan, Sport Coupe, and two door station wagon. The fully automatic transmission offered that year was the first for the Belvedere line. Horsepower was boosted to 110 with another 6 cylinder engine.
The 1955 Belvedere was restyled from the previous year. It would not be restyled again until 1957, and much improved engine options were also offered. The dual 4 barrel carb V8 that was standard in the Plymouth Fury was now an option on the Belvedere, finally giving the car the power that so many desired (and still desire to this day).
In the 1960's, most of Plymouth's cars were actually based of the Belvedere. They included the GTX, Satellite, and Roadrunner. In 1964, the Belvedere had the honor of being the first car to be sold with a 426 Hemi engine. Some of these cars would be used for an up-and-coming racing league named NASCAR.
The Belvedere was one of the cars used in the movie Christine, although it was identified as a Fury during the movie. Another 1957 Plymouth Belvedere was buried in a vault by a small town as part of a contest. It was dug up in 2007, and it was revealed that the vault was not water-tight. Needless to say, the car was heavily damaged by about 3 feet of sitting water over several decades.
These cars are highly collectible, especially in good condition. If you would like to buy a restored Plymouth Belvedere, or if you would like to start with a junkyard parts car Belvedere and build it up yourself, the best place to check first is eBay auctions. I've found some great cars and great parts on there, and I've even paid lower prices than I've paid at the junkyards, which seem to becoming more and more of a rip-off every passing day.