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Original Condition Project: 1959 Dodge Royal Coupe

In the late 1950’s-early 1960’s Dodge-Chrysler-Plymouth were putting out some unique and strange looking cars. This not so common Dodge Royal has many unique styling features that certainly set it apart from many classic automobiles of the era. Although this is a project, the car appears fairly complete, and in decent condition. While this is a project, this Dodge is offered for a not so project price at $8,900. Take a look at this uncommon Mopar here on eBay out of Barrington, Illinois. Thanks to Reader Ikey for sharing this uncommon and stylish Mopar find!

While there is no major rust in the engine compartment, the cylinder bores and engine components may tell a different story. The 361 V8 is not a runner, and has been pulled down partially. I would assume that there are other underlying concerns that caused the person to pull the heads off of this engine. The heads are in the trunk, and it would seem that all major parts are accounted for. This Mopar is due for an engine rebuild, or perhaps a swap?

The interior is more than reasonable needing some minor work to be a suitable driver grade interior. The worst of the interior is the door panels, which the seller feels will need work. Personally for the condition of this car I would cut new fiberboard panels, and recover with the original door panel materials. Granted it will not be perfect, but it would be suitable for a driver. Miraculously the seats are not ripped, and the dash is quite shiny and clear. With a little tweaking, this interior would be sharp!

If you take a minute to study the exterior of this Royal, you will see that there is a lot going with the styling. The taillights are quite unique with the lengthy directional styling, and the fins are almost like an after though as they almost appear to be added onto the top of the quarter panel. From the front end, the headlights have eye lids, and the grill almost looks like a grimacing mouth hidden by a large mustache. I would guess that this Dodge is wearing original paint, or an old repaint. The worst of the body stems from the lower rear quarters, but the under body seems incredibly solid. I would opt to rebuild the current engine, or perform a swap, then I would carefully repair the rear quarters, and try to color match the paint as close as possible. While the paint is oxidized, I think it would polish up quite nicely. When did you last see one of these uniquely styled Dodge Royal’s?


  1. Fred W

    While it technically needs a full resto, this one may be good enough that you could do a “sympathetic restoration” and have a nice driver without the huge expense of a frame off. But then there’s the engine….

    Like 6
  2. Bob C.

    Looks like the cruisers they used towards the end of the Highway Patrol TV series.

    Like 7
  3. Cncbny

    I’ve seen these 59 royals in museum grade finish . They are breathtaking ! Perhaps Virgil exner’s finest work. There are probably 10 of these left. Do we really need to see another tri 5 Chevy? Bring this car to perfection, and let the world know where Dodge was in 1959. It’s about history, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Like 27
    • Tony K

      I have one of the other nine 😉

      Like 5
  4. Keith

    Look! a Mopar in it’s natural state. By the way, the front of this car looks like my friends mother in law!……LOL!

    Like 5
    • Poncho

      And the back end of the car looks like her too…haha

      Like 4
  5. Will Fox

    $8900.? Uh, no; not for a mid-line Royal HT. A Custom Royal perhaps, but not this. Yes, it’s fairly complete, but God knows if the seller has ALL the missing pieces of the engine; I’m betting some are lost. Save your money, add to it and look for a Custom Royal Lancer HT–a MUCH better model to look for that will definitely appreciate in value better than this. Buy the best one you can for the money you have.

    Like 3
    • Randy Bitner

      Correct, this is just a Royal. My first car was a 59 Custom Royal, better trim work. I could smoke the tires with the push button transmission. I was a high school kid. Engine caught on fire, fuel filter split, gas on manifold. Buddy and I took it for a speed trip to find out what color was after red on the speedometer. At 120 mph, it went from red on the roll around speedometer to white. Yes, the 360 Custom Royal would do over 120 mph stock. Man, what I know now, but I am still here. That car would smoke! Will look to find my pictures. Poor quality. One thing will say about this car, all 4 wheel covers are there. Could hide beer bottles in the fins.
      In this shape, $1500 max. I can tell you front and rear springs need work, as well as rest of front suspension. I had to redo entire front end in 1967 in an 8 year old car.

      Like 4
  6. Hank

    For what’s there and the work to be done, this would be better sold around 4500.00 Gonna take 15-20K to get it right.

    Like 3
  7. pwtiger

    I think this is a unibody car so don’t worry about a frame off resto, throw a 440 in there and drive it…

    Like 3
    • That AMC guy

      I don’t think Chrysler moved to unit construction until the next model year, 1960.

      Like 4
    • Randy Bitner

      It is a solid frame.

      Like 1
  8. Maestro1

    Very baroque. Excellent if you are a Southern California resident. In the Midwest,
    make sure you have garage space for it in the winters, and in the Spring take it out and blow everybody away with it.

    Like 0
  9. Beatnik Bedouin

    Shame it doesn’t have the swivel ‘seats that swing out to meet you, swing in to seat you…’ as contemporary ads proclaimed.

    Like 1
  10. Miguel

    It looks like somebody has had their hands in this one.

    They took apart the engine and replaced two of the taillights with who knows what.

    I bet there are other pieces of the “original” car that have been messed with.

    I wouldn’t be able to come anywhere near that price as this car needs everything.

    Like 1
  11. Vance

    I like cars that are different and show a unique side to the people who own them. To quote the movie “Groundhog Day” don’t drive angry. This car looks like it wasn’t happy coming off the showroom floor. But that in itself is alluring, you would be the only one on your block to drive one. It deserves to be totally redone from the ground up. I wish I had the money and the talent.

    Like 1
  12. Wayne from Oz

    IMO the ultimate Virgil Exner design. Although I think it looks a little bit better in 4 door configuration.

    Like 1
  13. Wayne

    Hey cncbny! I agree on the tri-five thing! I took my 57 Royal to a car show a few years back and the only categories were “decade”. I parked my car in the 50’s line up amidst a bunch of tri fives. When the judging was over, my car got “best 50’s”. A guy came up to me just spitting nails because he had just spent 40K restoring his 57 Belair which was perfect. He wanted to know how I got the trophy that he thought should have been his. I told him to just look down the row of cars…mine was the only “non” Chev in the line up and that’s what caught the judges eye. needless to say, my explanation didn’t appease him! But it was true! Not to sound biased, I do have the 57 Belair that was our family car growing up.

    Like 5
  14. geezerglide85

    I think the bottom tail lights are from a ’57 or ’58, same body but shorter tail lights.I had one of these when I was 13. my father paid fifty bucks for it, that was 1971. Man , was that car rusty holes in the floors and quarters and no trunk bottom at all. Mine was the base Coronet, flathead six and 3 on the tree. the clutch slipped and the motor smoked but it was 50 bucks worth of fun.

    Like 2
  15. Pete in PA

    Neat car. Look at those quarter panels. Longer than a current Honda Civic for sure!
    My maternal grandparents bought a 59 Coronet sedan off the showroom floor. Black with a black/white/silver interior, base V8 engine (326?), pushbutton trans, AM radio, heater, and not much else. Grandma still had it when she died in 1990. The black paint contrasted beautifully with all the chrome. But the rust monster hit it pretty hard here in SE PA.
    I remember the “thermometer” speedometer, the tail lights, and the “silver” thread woven into the upholstery. Oh, and the rearview mirror mounted on top of the dash.
    Some years back there was a beautiful example on ebay and I grabbed all the pics. While I never saw my grandparent’s car looking this nice I can imagine it.

    Like 3
  16. stillrunners

    Like mother like daughter – the B/RB’s are no prob to refresh.

    Like 0
  17. Rustytech Rustytech Member

    Throw a late model Hemi in it, then drive while restoring.

    Like 0
  18. w9bag

    I bought a ’57 in 1975. Actually traded a cheap K Mart stereo for it. Drove it for a year or 2. It had a 325 4bbl, AT, PS, PB and the best sounding AM radio, tubes & THREE antennae. The instrument panel was WAY better looking than this. Very dependable car, starting in the coldest Mid-West winter temps. You could roast a chicken in the car; the heater was that hot ! Wish I still had it.

    Like 1
  19. Tony K

    I see one every day.

    Like 0
  20. Robert Rossi

    Some here are complaining that the price is way too high! When was the last time any of you seen one? If it was a ’55 Chevy the price would be double and would have been sold already. I can’t figure that out for the life of me!! Every show or cruise I attend, ’55 Chevys are busting at the seams. I walk past them.

    Like 0
  21. Ben T. Spanner

    My first car was a white over green,1957 Custom Royal Lancer 2 dr hardtop with a 325 4bbl and limited slip rear end. It was filthy, had a bad master cylinder, but good bones. Once the carb was rebuilt, it flew.
    My friend had a 1959 Custon Royal Lancer at the sme time, His was red over black, but I preferred the 1957.

    Like 0

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