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It’s A Hemi! 1954 Dodge Royal

The Royal was a nameplate used by Dodge between 1954 and 1959. In its first year, it was the top-of-the-line product positioned above the mid-level Coronet and entry-level Meadowbrook. Only one engine choice was offered, a 241 cubic inch “Hemi” V8, which provided a horsepower advantage over some of the competition. This initial Royal looks to be in beautiful condition but needs a little mechanical TLC for roadworthiness. Located in Fort Pierce, Florida, you can buy it for $19,700 here on eBay or make an offer.

Dodge built nearly 152,000 automobiles in 1954, which was a substantial drop from the prior year as the cars were similar. The new Royal “Club Coupe” like the seller’s car would see 8,900 copies assembled, so the number which survives may only be a few hundred. This aqua-colored car presents quite well, especially with its wire wheels, and the seller describes it as “all original.” While the paint shines up nicely, the color of the underside of the trunk lid shows a different shade of blue, so we’re not sure if the exterior color has been changed.

Given the garage surroundings where this Dodge resides, we assume the car is owned by a collector. Which makes it surprising that very little information is imparted about this automobile. Besides a 2-speed automatic transmission, the Royal has air conditioning which could be original and that would have been a rare option in 1954. The seller says he/she has never tried to charge it, which implies it’s not cooling properly.

Until the buyer redoes the brakes and puts on some new tires, this Dodge should not be considered road ready. But since we’re told it runs and drives as it should, these minor problems can be quickly cured so the car can hit the highway again. The interior looks quite inviting, so driving this machine to Cars & Coffee should bring a lot of smiles to the miles!


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    This car looks great, I’d love to own it, but……it’s another example of rarity not necessarily translating to value.

    Hagerty says (yes, I know Hagerty isn’t perfect) an “Excellent” version of this model is worth about $13K. “Excellent”, in my book, means the tires are good, the brakes work, and the AC is charged and also works.

    So, in my book, these defects knock off about 3K off the price, putting the car at around 10 grand. I guess the seller can always come down.

    Like 7
  2. Ben T Spanner

    A 1954 has a big advantage over a 1953; a real automatic transmission the Powerflyte. Earlier models ahd Gyromatic which sucked power, and was slow to shift.

    Like 7
  3. Will Fox

    `54 was a pinnacle year of sorts for Dodge. It was chosen as that year’s Indy Pace car as a cvt., and the hemi set a land speed record set by female driver! while still clinging to the KT Keller method of styling, the `54 Dodge would give way in `55 to Virgil Exner’s all-new look. The interior looks like the seats were recovered at some point, but overall it has a correct look in the pattern. A rather plain bodystyle in an era of the pillarless hardtops, but the aqua color helps alot.

    Like 4
  4. Tony T

    My dad was a mechanic for the local Chrysler dealer in ‘54. He bought a new Dodge Royal. Dark metallic blue with a white top. It had a 3 speed, which he changed out for a gyromatic. It was our family car until it was replaced by a new 61 Ford fairlane with a 390 and a 3 speed. Ah, the good old days. Simpler times, for sure. The Dodge was a great car. My older brother ultimately destroyed it, as he did every car he ever touched.

    Like 3
  5. DAVID G

    I think all Chrysler products Trunk areas were finished with that odd institutional gray color, no matter what the exterior color was. It’s actually a good indicator that this one has never been majorly molested by trying to match the Trunk areas to the rest of the exterior. It’s correct as is i believe..

    Like 4
  6. Howard A Member

    “It’s a hemi”,,no, it’s not Matt Hagen with “all the candles lit”, barreling through the traps at 300+, the hemi here was anything but. I remember these as gutless, oily slugs of a motor, and the “hemi” part, generally in cars that weighed a lot, it wasn’t any better than any other V8 at the time. Heck, some 6 cylinders gave them a run. What it did do, in this case here, was transform a mundane car like this, never intended to have a big V8, into a reasonable road car, something the 6 was never much good at. Not much could beat this simple little Dodge, many found out. The other thing, this car established Dodge as a performance leader, with the “hemi” moniker indicating the best and still is today. I don’t think any other motor stood the test of time like a hemi. Someone sure loved their Dodge.

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