Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hayward Street Sighting - 1955 Dodge Royal

It almost seems like some kind of miracle that Chrysler has survived this long. The auto bailout of 2009 is still fresh in everyone's minds and now Chrysler is primarily owned by Fiat. But that wasn't the first time they nearly went bankrupt. Chrysler Corporation needed a government loan back in 1979 after a decade of mostly terrible, forgettable products. And before that, in 1954 Chrysler needed a $250 million private loan to keep itself afloat. That's roughly $2.1 billion in today's dollars. That loan allowed them to employ the talents of designer Virgil Exner and finally banish the upside-down-bathtub look that had fallen out of favor as the 1950s wore on.

The 1955 Dodge lineup was hardly revolutionary in its styling. The body was modernized with better visibility, a more distinctive face and small rear extensions that were almost tail fins but look more like the company ran out of money before they could be finished. Standard engine in the 1955 Dodge Royal sedan was a 270 cubic inch Red Ram V8. A number of two-tone paint combinations could be ordered; this example appears to be finished in Heather Rose over Cashmere Gray. Pink over gray is a color scheme that I don't think cars newer than this decade can pull off; it's like that ubiquitous metallic pea green on 1970s cars.

This one is a pretty solid driver with good trim and a straight body. Unfortunately straight doesn't necessarily mean rust free. On this car the trouble spots appear to be the quarter panels under the side spear trim mounts and under the chrome around the rear window. Aside from that, it's clean and sports the original hubcaps on a (mismatched) set of whitewall tires. Pre-1957 Dodges are extremely hard to find around my area, so this one was a nice catch.

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