Got A Hemi? 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer

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The seller of this 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer states, “This is a car with extreme personality…” Oh really? Well, that got my attention. As it sits, it’s a bit subdued and forlorn looking but it has been consigned to the sun-soaked environs of Pahrump, Nevada for some time and that likely explains its baked appearance. I’m curious about this proclaimed outsized personality trait so let’s investigate further and see what makes this old Dodge sedan tick. It’s available, here on craigslist for $7,000.

Today’s find is a Royal Lancer sedan, one of 45K produced in ’55, and it was positioned between the entry-level Coronet and the top-drawer Custom Royal Lancer. In addition to this four-door sedan, there was a station wagon and a two-door hardtop offered too. One of the first notable items of this car is its hoops, they’re obviously not stock or original, and they’re not really doing this Dodge any favors. The body is fairly straight and appears to be free of rust-through, though there’s no shortage of surface rust. The seller mentions that there is a replacement grille trim piece for the mangled item that is currently in place.

OK, many quake in their boots, or get nervous and jerky at the mention of that four-lettered word – “Hemi”. Yeah, there have been some monster versions offered over the years, but plenty more pedestrian V8 movers and this is one of them. What we have here is a 175-gross HP, 270 CI V8 variant, fueled by a two-barrel carburetor and tied to a Powerflite automatic transmission. The seller states, “starts and runs carburetor needs rebuilt leaks gas“. So sure, it’s a neat find but it’s important to keep things in perspective. There was an optional four-barrel carburetor, 193 HP “Super Red Ram” version available too.

The interior is in keeping with the exterior’s character. The upholstery is very worn, the floor mat/carpet is gone, the steering wheel is down to its steel core in places, and the door panels are wrinkled but the chrome dashboard bits still shine and show pretty well. The instrument panel’s engine gauges look fair but the seller mentions that there are extras, which don’t show too well, included in the sale.

The verdict? I wouldn’t proclaim this Dodge as possessing an “extreme personality”. It may be considered extreme compared to what passes for a passenger car today but it’s a typical ’50s package and in keeping with the flavor of those long ago days. As for the Hemi association, it’s hard to imagine that’s going to have much influence on a future sale. The good? This one’s a rare find today, at least compared to a ’55 Chevrolet or Ford. The bad? It has two doors too many. That’s my finding, what’s yours?

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    More accurately, got clown wheels? I think it’s quite comical, someone would think those wheels/tires would compliment a 68 year old design. Like me in a leisure suit.
    Parump, Nev., eh? Home of Art Bell, kept me awake many a night on that lonely stretch of highway, east of Omaha. he had some creepy topics. Regardless, only once did I see something in the sky I couldn’t explain.
    While I agree with Jim, I too feel the wheels detract from what a beautiful car this was in ’55. Not that I’m partial, same age as me, but aside from the convertible or wagon, I believe this was top of the line, for Dodge anyway. Not for cheapskates, as the base Royal Lancer cost $2518 new, (when a 6 cylinder Coronet was around $1700), and the hemi/automatic surely added several hundred . (The freakin’ radio was $110 bucks!) Sadly, I see no future for the car, except for the hemi in something else, and that’s a shame. Years ago, a find like this, couple hundred bucks, get it running, haul out the electric sprayer, be a neat hobby find. Dodge had a winner here with these cars.

    Like 13
    • John EderMember

      You know, as a member, you can add images to your comment. We would all LOVE to see a photo of you in a leisure suit. ;)

      P.S.- If you don’t have one, I will gladly loan you one of mine…

      Like 7
      • HoA Howard AMember

        Ha! Fat chance. I hate to tell you the next time you’ll see me in a suit. Last time was my Bar Mitzvah, hmm, I wonder what happened to that suit? Cost my old man a fortune, it did.

        Like 4
  2. CCFisher

    Virgil Exner would weep at the sight of those wheels.

    Like 12
  3. Big C

    The wheels are the best thing about this car.

    Like 3
  4. Eric_13cars Eric_13carsMember

    I am continually amazed at the prices being asked. Knock off a zero on the price and you’re close to what it’s worth. Maybe $1,000 for the parts. This car needs total restoration and in really nice condition might be worth $18-$20K…and that’s on a really good day. If it was the2 door hardtop it might be worth a little more. My father had one of these (2 door hardtop, 3 speed, hemi, glasspacks) for a station car to 3 miles back and forth to the train. I think he paid $150 to a friend for it.

    You’d have to be crazy to pay anything close to what this seller is asking. I don’t like trashing sellers, but this is almost as bad as that 57 Belair wreck from a day or so ago.

    Like 6
    • Rick

      I’m no doctor, but I’d bet lots of sellers these days are suffering from Barrett-Jacksonitis or Mecumosis.

      Like 8
  5. Lou Rugani

    Somebody please explain this fascination with the shape of a car’s combustion chambers. Thanks.

    Like 3
  6. Tom Wolf

    My dad bought one of these NEW in 55. Was a sharp car in the day. I did some dating in this car. Drove it to death……way over 100k. Great to see that one still lives!

    Like 1
    • BlueFox

      That Coral color almost makes it look like a rare “LaFemme” model. (It’s NOT is it??).

      Like 0
  7. Frank of Eden

    These ’55 Dodge cars were just plane good transportation! I had a ’55 two door… but it was a station-wagon! With a six in it, as my first car in 1961. My Dad got it for me from his company, yes an old company car that still had a little life in it for all of $200. No radio… in those days you HAD to have a radio in your car so, I went to the auto parts yard, and bought one that was in a car that looked just like the pictured one. Being a kid, I had no money, and we ended up pushing it to gas stations after running out of gas more than I care to remember. 75 cents or a buck and we were back on the road. “The good ol’ days”.

    Like 0
  8. CornstoveMember

    Is this car still for sale as I could not find it on Craigslist? Please advise.
    Richard H. Dodge

    Like 0

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