Car: Dodge Custom Royal Lancer 2-Dr. Hardtop
What makes it special: The 1955 Dodge lineup, consisting of the entry-level Coronet, Royal, and ornate Custom Royal, was a major departure for the company. Driven almost out of business in 1953 and 1954, the Chrysler Corporation was revived with a $250 million loan from Prudential and new models designed by Virgil Exner. The Dodge lineup was positioned as the mainstream line in Chrysler’s hierarchy, between DeSoto and Plymouth.
What made it famous: The flagship model was the Custom Royal. All hardtop coupe and Custom Royal-only convertible models were called “Custom Royal Lancer”. The Custom line featured unique chrome tailfins although early model year cars went without this trim, special tail light surrounds, and an upscale interior. Backup lights were standard on the Custom line but optional on all others. The Custom Royal also featured the hemi 270 cu in Super Red Ram engine.
Why I would want one: To me, it’s like a very fancy muscle car. It has all the bells and whistles that make it look luxury, but has performance when you mash that gas pedal.
Fun fact: In 1955, another version was the La Femme was a special package oriented towards women, who made up an increasing share of Dodge buyers. It came in Heather Rose and Sapphire White colors and included a cape, boots, umbrella, and shoulder bag that matched the floral tapestry-like fabrics. Changes to the car include built-in compartments in the seatbacks to hold these accessories.