Question from Roger (1955):
How do you keep the '55 door mirrors tight? This seem to be an uphill battle.
Reply from Doug:
All I could recommend is to have someone move the mirror while you sit in the driver's seat to find out where it would be useful to you. Cars from the '50's usually had different styles of mirrors for the same model. Some mounted on the front fenders, some on the door by the vent window, and other on the sedan door frame above the window. I don't think there is any concrete place to mount your passenger side mirror. Unless you are using it for aesthetics, I suggest that you mount it where it can be functional.
Question from Michael (1956):
Could use some advice on mounting a right-side outside mirror on our '56 sedan. The car didn't come with one but I picked up a nice correct stock one on Ebay. I had intended to drill the holes in the door to exactly match the driver door mounting, but that would leave the mirror useless; even if adjusted all the way inboard, you would see about 3 lanes over to the right. Trouble is, there doesn't seem to be any feasible mounting position which gives the correct field of vision in the mirror. Now I'm wondering if the right hand mirror is different; maybe I have two lefts?? So, any '55-'56 experts out there- where should the holes be drilled for the RH mirror, and are the mirrors the same left and right?
'55 mirrors are door mounted and '56 are front fender mounted. Both mirrors are the same for each side and the backward sloping ones on the '55s are useless on the passenger door. Forward sloping ones from '56 work nicely on the fender though. Have a pair of them on our '55 300 which came with them.
Early '56s (prior to Torqueflite, I believe) are same as '55.
I've the same problem on my '57: left & right mirror are identical but the adjustment is too small for right side (the back of the mirror rests against the bullet shaped mounting). Problem was solved in '59 with R & left mirrors and glass-only adjustment. The only solution is to put mirrors in an ahead position on fender than factory but it's ugly .. Or use a convex (or concave) glass!
Outside mirrors were shipped to the dealer for installation. They ended up being put in several places at the customer's or dealer's discretion. I've seen "factory" mirrors on the doors and fenders of both '55 and '56. Speaking of right, the right mirror usually is worthless on this vintage. There's no right answer, unlike "lesser" models such as Dodge which had one spot for the mirrors that actually worked.
Question from Jeff (1956):
What is the correct mounting position for the outside mirror on a '56 Sedan? I've seen advertising pictures and more recent photographs showing the mirror on the drivers door and on the rear end of the front fender. Mine is in the latter position but I'm not clear on which was the original position.
'Interestingly, it appears that they came both ways. '55 had it on the door. Based on that, possibly early '56 was door mounted and later '56 was fender mounted. As you know the fender mounted position became the standard through '66. Mine is on the fender. It is a later car with the torqueflite transmission, and the emergency brake light that says "BRAKE" (rather than the little round light in the metal adapter). I have looked in the door and found that there never was a mirror mounted there.
I also have a later '56 with Torqueflight, and my mirror is also fender mounted.
On my '56 Crown Imperial, the mirrors are on the fender and it is a basically unmolested original car so I believe they came in that position on MY car.
I'd like to contribute the following to this discussion of mirror placement. I don't know anything about the issue with regard to Imperial, but I do know about industry practice in 1956, especially with regard to outside rear view mirrors (I bought a new Plymouth in 1956, so I was there!). The cars did not come from the factory with mirrors, as they were considered a dealer item. The dealers could put them anywhere they wanted, and they could buy their mirrors from any source. There WAS a factory recommended mirror, which could be ordered from the accessory catalog, and there was a factory recommended location for the factory recommended mirror, but not all dealers paid any attention, to either which mirror they put on the car or where they put it. To be specific, on Packards, (about which I can speak with some authority), the recommended mirror was very plain looking, and recommended to be placed on the driver's door, just about even with the vent window. Some dealers complied (if you want to see an example, e-mail me for a picture). Many dealers sold much more elaborate mirrors, (the famous "Yankee Pacesetter" for example), and there was a fad in those years of putting them up on the front fenders -where they are pretty useless, given the distortions of the wrap around windshields of those days. I have examples of those also. The fancy mirrors might be put on the door also. About 20 years later, the "mirror on the front fenders" craze hit Japan - if you look at pictures of cars sold in Japan in the 70s and early 80s, you'll see the same odd placement.
I know my parents bought a new 1956 Plymouth, but don't recall anything about the mirror as such (not old enough to worry about those things back then). It seems that as things progressed, the more upscale cars had OSRV mirrors as standard and the lower trim levels and models had them as optional. If they were a factory accessory mirror, there would have been a paper template of where to position the mirror according to factory specs. Of course, if it would work better for the customer to have it farther out front on the fender, that was an option too. Might even have been two templates, one for the door and one for the fender. Some on the door did just barely miss the vent windows, it seemed. It was not until much later that right hand OSRV mirrors became popular, either as a factory option or a factory-approved accessory item. Seems that pickups had dual mirrors before cars did, though. I do recall the various "fancy" mirrors that were out back then, some had "wings" around them with the mirror seemingly floating in the structure and then there was the one that was on the backside of a spotlight/mirror combination. Lots of variations and creativity back then.
Question from Dan (1958):
I have recently acquired a new prescription of contact lenses, and my eye specialists after many hours of testing, fitting, and several different special order lenses, have found me a pair of lenses which gives me 20/20 vision; however, the measuring device which the DMV uses causes me problems with reading the left most sequence of numbers, and will not offer me a license without an endorsement that I can drive only vehicles with a left and right side mirror; since I am still adjusting to the contact lenses, I intend to return in a few weeks; however, in the event they insist on the restriction anyway, does anyone know if the passenger side mirrors were available as an option on 1958 models or not? My Crown has the driver's side mirror mounted on the fender. If not, would I be able to find a passenger side mirror which matches the style of the driver's side mirror from a different model year, and if so, where might I find one? I realize that a fender mounted passenger's side mirror would not be very functional, but at least it would satisfy the DMV.
Reply from Philippe:
Yes!! Option code 403.
There's no right and left mirror (except remote which is only left). If you find a '57-'58 mirror ("twin struts") on ebay, you could put it on the right side. Note that the "twin (or triple) struts" mirrors became different on '59 and later models ("drum style", with "adjusting" glass) and right can't interchange with left.
Question from Marc (1960):
I was kicking around the idea of placing a mirror on the passengers side fender. Does it use the same hole as the radio antenna or do both of these pieces fit on that fender. Any info is appreciated! Is it fairly easy to do? I need a new power antenna anyways and I'll also need the passengers side mirror and all the controls or cables and switches and all.
Here is a picture of the passenger side mirror on my '60 (click the small image for a more detailed view).
Both pieces do fit the same fender. The antenna is in the same place as is the mirror, all you need to do is make a template from kitchen paper. Cut it out turn it over & you then mark it out etc. Did this on my LeBaron last year, due to driving on the L.H. side of the road. You will need to duplicate the hole in the R.H bottom corner of the dash too to locate the control knob (don't forget to put masking tape on the fender to mark it out on, makes it a lot easier to see what you are doing).
The passenger side mirror mount directly opposite the drivers side which puts the antenna ahead of the mirror. There is no cable on the passenger side, just the rubber gasket beneath the mirror & the 2 screws that hold it in place. One of my 60's had no passenger side mirror, so I made a template out of heavy paper on the drivers side & just reversed it for the passenger side.
Question from Tim (1962):
A beautiful day in St. Louis yesterday and I decided to take my car out for a real road test. The car did much better than I expected! Of course it groaned and squeaked a little, but after being dormant for seventeen years...
One tiny thing that's going to drive me batty, the interior rear-view mirror is loose. I have to readjust it every few miles or so. It is loose where it meets the top of the windshield and I can't find a way to tighten it. Can anyone suggest a remedy?
As soon as I saw the Subject line, I knew exactly what you were going to say, and I have an easy cure. There's a Loctite-brand product called "Loctite Sealant E". Call around your neighborhood for any place that sells hardware or glues and adhesives, and they can get it for you. It's great stuff, and I'm still only a quarter-way through the bottle I've owned since 1978.
Loctite Sealant E is a pale-lavender, clear fluid that is like water in consistency when it's fluid, but when it dries, it turns into rubbery snot. I hate to be so crude, but I really can't think of a better way to paint a picture with words!
It was formulated to keep nuts and screws from un-screwing themselves in Tomahawk missiles and other high-vibration applications. It's NOT glue, it's just meant to resist twisting, in just the right amount. I used three drops of it to fix the floppy mirror on my '61 Crown Coupe in 1983, and it's still perfect today.
Don't forget there are a couple of friction adjustments that you can make, too. There are two swivels in this type of mirror. One is in the top mounting bracket which is attached to the roof and the second is behind the mirror. The easy one is the one behind the mirror. I remember on my '68 Newport that this was a small (3/16"?) hex key (Allen) set screw that was in the bracket behind the mirror. You can easily see it by looking at the mirror's back from outside the car.
Adjust the screw until the mirror is steady. If the top fitting is loose, remove the bracket from the roof. It probably is held on with 3 Phillips screws. Once you have the back off, look inside it. There you'll see the top of the mirror's arm with a ball end. The ball is held tightly in place by a metal bracket which is secured with three screws. Tighten the screws a bit and re-install the bracket.
If you have a glass mounted mirror, or a dash mounted one, the idea and process is the same. The dash mounted mirror must be removed from the dash to tighten the lower swivel and the glass mounted mirror must be removed from the glass to tighten that swivel. Removing a glass mounted mirror only required backing out a hex key set screw (Allen head). Slide the mirror assembly up to remove it from the mounting foot, which is glued to the glass. Inside the mount is the screw you need to adjust.
Question from Henry (1964):
Does anyone have any tricks to tighten up a loose rear view mirror?
You have to take it loose from the windshield chrome and tighten the pieces around the ball if memory serves from my '66. I don't have it here at the house so can't go out and look.
If it's anything like my '70 non-Imperial Mopar, Matt is exactly right. On that one you take it loose from the headliner and tighten the three Phillips head screws. This tightens a metal plate down around the ball at the end of the mirror.
I would add a little Teflon tape (plumbers tape) to prevent re-loosening.
When you get the mirror apart, you may find that the screws are already as tight as they can go. What I've on at least a couple of cars is to remove that plate & use something such as a ball peen hammer to tap the center of the plate down a little, so it sits lower then the edges. You don't need it to be very much. Then reinstall & the plate should snug down nicely & the mirror will no longer be loose.
Put the little plate on an anvil, the anvil part of a vise, or something hard and flat, with the conical hole up, and strike it with a hammer right on the raised part. May need to do it again, trial and error.