California Black Plate Survivor:

1957 Chrysler Windsor

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Among the most elegant Mid-Century automobiles , the Virgil Exner-deigned 1957 Chrysler occupies a special spot in the hearts of collectors of vintage Americana.

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Characterized by long, upswept tail fins, this '57 Windsor is the proverbial Fifties car. With its pastel-colored, two-tone exterior, this one takes the theme a step further.

Of course, no Fifties car would be complete with a liberal application of chrome, and the '57 Windsor is no exception. You know something special is coming when you see the flashy grin of the Chrysler approach in your rearview mirror!

This 1957 Chrysler Windsor -- VIN *W5741025* -- was one of 17,639 four-door sedans built for the model year. Sold new in California, it had only three long-term owners, the last one a 92-year-old attorney from Pacific Palisades who took good care of the car for the past two decades. The car came with an old "Auto Record" notebook and we discovered an entry from February 17, 1992 @ 84,441 miles. Current mileage is 88,955, which we believe to be the car's actual mileage.

Original, firewall-mounted data plate is intact.

Stored at the owner's Palm Springs investment property for years, the registration has always been kept up to date and the car was driven monthly to keep things lubricated.

Note original black-and-yellow Californa license plates!

Low miles.

Between the "Big Three," the horsepower war was in full swing in '57, and the Windsor was no slouch. Propelled by a mighty 354 cubic inch Spitfire V-8 engine, it was rated at 285 horsepower from the factory. Power brakes and power steeing were desirable options.

Engine bay is very clean. A service was just performed and the brake master cylinder was replaced. The car starts, runs and drives excellently.

Perhaps the most outstanding feature of this Chrysler is the absence of corrosion. These 1950s cars from Detroit are known to rust easily, but this fine example is an exception. There is absolutely no bubbling, rust or prior rust repair to be found. Even the rear quarter panels are virginal. Incredible.

The Windsor was repainted once, about 30 years ago, and the Seafoam Green finish -- complete with an Olive Green top -- has held up beautifully. There are no dings, dents, bubbles, scrapes, flakes, or holes, just sweet, straight sheet metal and shiny paint. The bumpers are equally nice and seem to have been refinished at the time.

Windsor rolls on all four original 14" steel wheels with full chrome wheel covers. We've just replaced the tires with a brand new set of HANKOOK whitewall radials of the size P215/75R14, which make for a remarkable improvement in road holding and cornering.

Inside, the big Chrysler has survived remarkably well, too. Headliner looks pristine.

Dash is in fantastic, like new condition. The vulnerable dash pad does not show any fading, cracks or sagging of the airfoam.

Originality abounds, the only addition being a period Kleenex dispenser below the center of the dash.

The beautifully styled instruments are clear and clean, and they all work, even the clock!

Very advanced for its time, Chrysler features tiptronic typewriter-style pushbutton shifter. Two-tone steering wheel is well preserved, with a 180-degree chrome horn ring and interesting horn button. Heater works fine, radio turns on and hums, might need a fresh speaker.

Front bench seat is very comfy.

Windsor is a full six-seater.

Most impressive rear end with twin tower taillights.

Huge trunk.

Original spare with ancient bias ply and nicely preserved trunk floor.

Being a California car from new, there's no sign of rust or rust repair anywhere. The brownish stuff is British Owatrol, a tried and true corrision inhibitor.

MoPar only: emergency brake drum is located at the output side of the transmission.

Monday, July 6th was a nice and sunny day here in our little paradise. We were excited to take the Chrysler out for a cruise and take some photos along the way.

The car starts, runs, idles, drives, handles and stops with aplomb. Chrysler's famous torsion bar suspension ensures that you float along nicely while retaining plenty of road feel and control. The Windsor drives better than most cars that are half a Century newer that it is. Amazing!

Relaxed cruising at its best. Naturally, a Fifties tail-finned behemoth like the Windsor is a bonsa fide crowd pleaser.

Returning home, we are in love with the Windsor. MoPar or no car!

Here it is, a rare survivor, 63 years old and still ready to please. This one does not have any bad manners, it does not overheat, nor does it mark its spot. Maintenance and insurance are inexpensive, and it's ready to go anytime. Take your whole family or all your friends to dinner or a movie, attend a "cars and Coffee" event, a parade or a cruise night -- you will always have fun with this classic Chrysler. Best of all: you don't have to spend a bunch of money to be part of all the fun times ahead.

We sold this Chrysler in fall of 2020.

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