Before she laid eyes on this one, chances are Tina Colby had never noticed a ’55 Plymouth. Unlike a Chevy or even a Ford of the same vintage, that’s not a car that shows up very often. It’s also not a model that appeals to most enthusiasts, though certainly not because of its looks, as hers shows. No, Chrysler’s underdog status back then makes survivors and support scarce now. For the most part, the enthusiast who chooses Chrysler products nowadays seeks them specifically because they’re not so accessible.
But Tina isn’t your average enthusiast, even by Mopar-owner standards. What appealed to her about this one was something that her husband Mark’s recently finished T-bucket lacked: a back seat. And in light of the news at the time that their family was going to grow by 50 percent in nine months, a car with a back seat made a lot of sense. So Mark put out the feelers for another car to build; one with a back seat.
What he found wasn’t quite what he expected, though. The car Norma Turner offered wasn’t a builder; it was finished, and finished well in fact. Her husband Lloyd—half of Two Pros Rod Shop in Kila, Montana—built it expressly for her. Tragically, though, he did it despite ailing health. Lloyd and Norma enjoyed the car only one season before he succumbed to his illness.
Though he built it for Norma it hardly could’ve been closer to perfect for Tina. For one thing he updated the car with parts cannibalized from a Camaro, a newer version of the ’69 that she called her first car. He clipped the chassis with the donor’s subframe and hung its 10-bolt axle from the Plymouth’s leaf springs.
Lloyd once again pulled from the Camaro’s carcass for the 350 engine. What he did to it remains a mystery but it wears an Edelbrock Performer manifold, 1406-series carburetor, and Sanderson block-hugger headers. The 2-inch Flowmaster-damped pipes flank the Camaro’s TH350, while Hemi valve covers disguise the small-block.
The designs that the Big Three introduced in 1955 need little more than a shave and haircut. Lloyd nosed the hood, shaved the door handles, and decked the trunklid. He finished it in PPG Concept system, a two-stage mix of pearl white and raspberry pearl.
Lloyd adapted the Camaro’s column to the Plymouth dash and topped it with a Lecarra Mark IV Double Slot wheel. He also installed the Ron Francis Wiring harness before he turned the car over to another Ron Francis, this one at Valley Upholstery in Kalispell, Montana.
We don’t know the specific origins of the GM power seat but Ron trimmed it, the rear seat, and the side panels in a combination of white and raspberry vinyl pleats and the floor in raspberry loop-pile carpet. The Colbys made one salient change: clamshell-style lap belts. You know, for a baby seat.
Mark and Tina Colby are proud owners/builders but not so proud that they can’t appreciate another craftsman’s work, even if it was for someone other than them. In fact they regard their stewardship of Lloyd and Norma Turner’s car as a privilege.
Nor is it lost on them that the car Lloyd Turner built is a real driver; it turns up everywhere, a real feat considering the Colbys’ Kalispell home base is at least half a day’s drive from pretty much anywhere else. “It’s great being able to go to car shows and outings as a family,” Tina says. “Not every day do you see a baby seat in the back seat of a car at a car show!”
Rod & Custom Feature Car
1955 Plymouth Belvedere