Slotted between the base Windsors and the top-of-the-line New Yorker, the 1957 Chrysler Saratoga was one of the first models to get Virgil Exners revised Forward Look design. Incredibly stylish at the time, and flat-out gorgeous today, there's not a single line on the car that doesn't work. The harmonious blend of trim and sheetmetal resulted in cars that were not 50s gaudy, but rather some of the most uniform and advanced of their time. With V8 power and luxurious interiors, they were more than a match for the over-styled Buicks and Oldsmobiles from GM and the stodgy Lincoln Capri.
This particular 57 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 Chrysler'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. And holy cow, that's some nice paint! I think guys in the best body shops love working on original steel because it's so easy to shape, and they don't have to worry about hiding seams or getting things aligned properly it's all factory exact and they can spend their effort making it as smooth and glossy as possible. 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 cars bodywork. There's no trick photography here, it truly is as remarkable in person as it looks in photos.
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. They frame a wide, straight grille and a dipped front bumper that is elegant and simple rather than busy simply because they could do it (I'm looking at you, Buick Limited). CHRYSLER is spelled out in two-inch-high block letters on the hood, and the Saratoga script on the front fenders is simply gorgeous. The stainless trim framing the white insert on the fins has been polished and straightened to show condition, and those are some of the most amazing tail lights ever installed on a production car you'll find that they show up on a lot of customs of the era because of their wonderful shape.
The engine is a 354 cubic inch Spitfire V8 making 285 horsepower thanks to a 4-barrel carburetor. The Hemi was not available in the Saratoga, but that didn't prevent this car from being one of the fastest machines on the road in 1957, soundly out-powering both the Oldsmobile Rocket and even the base Cadillac V8s. 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 8.75 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. The brakes have been rebuilt, and the new gas tank in back feeds fresh lines and a rebuilt pump for reliability. It rolls on a set of gorgeous wire wheels wearing BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whitewalls as original.
Here at RK Motors Charlotte, we've seen a lot of cool interiors, but this might be the all-time winner. 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, however, you're treated to 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. The dash-mounted mirror is always good for a few double-takes from onlookers, and the detailing is such that there are tags hanging from the heater and radio knobs as they would have been moments before the original owner took the car home. 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.
As a low-mileage car with a documented ownership history from new, the paperwork accompanying it is impressive. I already mentioned that we have 40 years of registration receipts, but it also comes with the original owner's service certificate (which is like the Protect-O-Plate on GM cars), Chrysler promotional materials from 1957, owner's manual, and a stack of receipts for much of the recent work.
If there's a nicer 57 Saratoga anywhere, I'd be very surprised. 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. We've had similar cars in the past and many have sold for record-setting prices, suggesting that the letter-series cars aren't the only ones in demand. 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. Call today!
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What Customers Are Saying
First I would like to say that the staff at RK Motors were very professional and courteous. I was very impressed with the write-up and the details that were presented on this car. The photo shoot was amazing and the video was outstanding. Tony Klein, the consignment manager was amazing to work with. Tony always answered all of my questions within a timely manner. I was impressed with the time frame in which my vehicle was sold. I would and have recommended RK Motors to all of my car enthusiasts. Thank You RK Motors for a great job!