The 1965 Plymouth Belvedere: A Mad Scientist’s Dream

We open on a room bathed in shining rays of light. The camera slowly pans toward an unknown narrator who talks in undulations and leaves us with this bit of wisdom: "We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives." And with that "Plan 9 From Outer Space," one of the most famed B-movies, begins.

What follows was derided by critics for years, even to the point where its director was named the worst of all-time. But, despite the negative press, the film has gone on to enjoy a long cult status.

The 1965 Plymouth Belvedere followed the same path.

But, despite the rebukes from critics, like "Plan 9" itself, the Belvedere packed a raw power beneath the surface that helps it retain notoriety even to this day. With a 426 Hemi V-8, the model was a top choice for racers, hitting top speeds of roughly 120 miles per hour and tackling 60 miles per hour in eight seconds.

And while it had all the trappings of a successful entry on the NASCAR circuit, history initially intervened, as the racing league disallowed the model from competition until the later part of the season. Despite its late start, however, the Plymouth model trailed the leading makes by only four wins at the end of the season.

As a result, it is often cited as one of the more underrated speed machines of the era, and a true find for collectors who can apply their imagination to the Belvedere's somewhat lackluster exterior.

In a 2007 issue of Popular Hot Rodding, Stephen Kim, a contributor to the magazine changed his remarks when he saw how the Belvedere was upgraded by Fran Kenstein. It seems the critic finally found a soft spot for the Plymouth when he said that "it's what's underneath the Belvedere's unrefined sheetmetal, cracking paint and rusted hood pins that reveals the true handiwork of a mad scientist."