Beautiful 1957 Chrysler Saratoga
This 1957 Chrysler Saratoga may very well be the nicest in existence. With just 33,039 original miles and forty years of registrations to a single Iowa owner, it’s a stunning example of Virgil Exner’s finest work. The body is 100% original sheetmetal from nose to those glamorous fins, and it has just a single repaint in its original black and white color scheme. With those fins, this car looks about a mile long, so it had to be right because there was just too many places for problems to hide. Even upon close inspection, it’s pretty tough to find anything wrong with this car’s bodywork. There’s no trick photography here, it truly is as remarkable in person as it looks on screen. Quad headlights were just coming into fashion, and the Saratoga was offered with both two and four headlights at first to satisfy laws in some states which still did not permit separate low and high beam bulbs. This one obviously received the superior quad headlamps, which is how the car was designed initially. The engine is a 354 cubic inch “Spitfire” V8 making 285 horsepower thanks to a 4-barrel carburetor. The engine bay is orderly, with a lot of heavy-duty looking equipment around the engine, including what may be the biggest air cleaner ever devised by man. However, it is all very correct and accurately detailed, with beautiful chrome valve covers that do their best to impersonate the mighty Hemi and a high-rise intake manifold that probably helped make big-end horsepower. Much of the firewall is obscured by the large climate control assembly and power brake booster. The original generator still makes the juice, while the original radiator keeps it all cool. Details like hoses, the battery, and all the wiring are new and correct in every way. The transmission is Chrysler’s famous and virtually indestructible TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic that anchors a wonderfully detailed chassis. Check out the red and yellow high-performance driveshaft twisting the 8-and-three-quarter-inch rear, the satin black frame rails, and the floors still wearing their original undercoating. A fresh dual exhaust system does its part to help make horsepower, and sounds great doing it, and the suspension has been completely rebuilt, including the innovative torsion bar front setup. It rolls on a set of gorgeous wire wheels wearing BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whitewalls as original. The ’50s are in full swing inside this Saratoga, but that’s the correct upholstery and it’s absolutely awesome to see in person. Once you get past the kitschy fabric, you’ll discover one of the most handsome interior designs of the era, with the cool red instrument binnacles ahead of the driver and a steering wheel with a hub that looks like a jet nozzle. Look up and you’ll find chrome roof bows that make this structural part of the headliner part of the overall design—very cool. It also appears that the original spare tire is still stashed in the trunk, unused for the past five decades, and one glance at the inside of the quarter panels will prove to you that they’re original. Combine the low mileage with a spectacular, highly-correct restoration and the result is a wonderful cruiser that will be the center of attention anywhere it goes. With six-figure prices being the norm for the 300s, this Saratoga starts to look like a real bargain. And let’s not forget that these are absolutely wonderful cars on the road, with impressive power and a ride that feels like a hovercraft. Unusual, powerful, and extremely handsome, this Saratoga and its rich history won’t last long on the showroom floor.
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