Live Auctions

The People’s Monarch! 1955 Dodge Royal

As I cruise the various avenues we travel to uncover cars that will be of interest to you, I’m amazed sometimes at what appear to be truly excellent values. Perhaps the car isn’t as famous as other models, or maybe it’s a four-door rather than the more popular two-door version. This 1955 Dodge Royal strikes me as one of those “bargains” that could make the right classic car enthusiast happy for a long, long time. It’s listed for sale here on eBay with a buy it now of $7,900 but even lower offers are invited. It’s located in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, just the place to visit in December to pick up a classic car! Feel like being a monarch?

I had to do some research to find out exactly what a Dodge Royal was. Actually, this is a Royal V8 Four-Door Sedan, at least according to this page from the 1955 full size Dodge brochure. This was the middle of the three level Dodge range for 1955, which featured new styling courtesy of Virgil Exner. It was certainly quite distinctive, especially from the front and rear. The paint on this car shows the lines well, despite being an older repaint. The car carries a salvage title from previous water damage, but the seller can’t find any remaining.

That’s a lot of chrome, which appears to be in really good if not immaculate condition. Wouldn’t this make a great weekend driver classic for the whole family? I’m not going to get into the whole 2-door versus 4-door thing as my views are well-known if you read Barn Finds regularly, but I could certainly find room for this one in my garage!

We’re told the upholstery is leather and in nice shape. I think the dash as a whole is pleasing, and while I’m pretty sure that it’s not original, I could enjoy those seats long-term.

The seller also assures us that it “starts right up, runs and drives and that the transmission shifts smoothly. This car should have the 270 cubic inch V8 and the seller has cleaned the carburetor, replaced fluids and redone the brakes to prep the car for sale. I think you could do a lot worse in a driver classic, and I’m not even royalty! Perhaps you’d feel like it in this Dodge!


  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Not your usual car, but the rebuilt title has some worries associated with it.
    Hard to believe the colors are original, that interior color IMO does not go with the exterior. The car does look solid though.

  2. Mark S.

    Water damage in a 1955 car is not like water damage in a 2017 car with this car it would just be a matter of cleaning, detailing, and changing all the fluids. The electronics are basic and there are no delicate computers on board. In fact if they made modern cars with water proof components more of them would NOT getting written off. This is a very cool car one I would not steer away from I’d love to have this car with all four of its doors.

    • Brakeservo

      Flood water exposure in a 1955 era car is usually fatal too, it just takes a longer time – flood water typically contains quite a bit of silt and it gets into EVERYTHING – ball joints, tie rod ends, wheel bearings even if it doesn’t get into the engine/trans/differential and if it does, no amount of oil changing will remove it. Every time you drive it you wear it out a little bit more

      • SMS

        Water in wheel bearings can be a problem. What strikes me is the transmission. The glue on the clutches is water soluble. Water up to the breather holes will get in and stay. In short order the trans may need a rebuild.

        Then again, looks like a nice car at a price that has the water damage risk taken into account. If you are wiling to take the risk might be a good buy. I know I like the look of it.

      • Mark S.

        They been running 4×4 trucks through rivers for decades often up to the windows how come there not falling apart. As for transmissions, engines, wheel bearings and axles routine service before driving it will clear out the problem. As for this idea that once this silt is in it won’t come out, I call bull$h!t. The silt would stay suspended in the oils / grease and would flush out.

      • SMS

        Trucks tend to have seals in the wheel bearings that seal out water. Auto wheel bearings are sealed to keep in the grease and out dirt.

        A manual transmission clutch is usually a dry clutch. Hudsons had wet clutches. Automatic transmissions have wet clutches. They ride in oil so the glue is water based.

        Often trucks will have breather tubes that are up high to allow the trans to be below the water. Cars will have rubber tubes that fall off after a few years.

      • Mark S.

        I’ve been a mechanic for many years and I can tell you with certainty that the seal design for trucks is no different than cars for that matter no different then machinery so I again have to call bull$h!t. Seals are designed to hold fluids in not water out so unless the water is under some sort of pressure greater than that inside the sealed area waters not getting in. Even a tappered bearing by design is the same, size being about the only difference. Your biggest job on this old car won’t be the mechanics, it will be cleaning and detailing the interior. Your other real concern would be was it running when it got wet, if so I’d be worried about hydrolicing the cylinders and bending some connecting rods. I’m happy that some guys are so quick to write it off makes it a Cheeper purchase for someone that know what there doing / talking about.

      • SMS

        I’ve spend a number of years studying and working on materials for seals. These ranged from the failed seals in the space shuttle to seals for vacuum chambers. Included in that are wheel bearing seals. You are correct in that seals for pickup trucks are auto seals. Seals for trucks that are intended to go through water are different.

        A car or a pickup that has been driving down the road heats up the wheel bearing. When it goes into water the bearing is quenched and shrinks. This creates a vacuum which draws in water. A study on a military transport without the hubs and seals to prevent this a wheel bearing will generally need to be replaced in 6 months to a year after being submerged.

        Agree with much of what you have written. Think that there is no harm in suggesting items for a fellow enthusiast who is interested in this car to check.

      • Mark S.

        HI SMS you are dead right about a cooling axle housing /bearing creating a vacuum to pull in water but a standing car that entered into a flood would not have this occur. Know one thing I do know about these dodge rear axles is there are two seals on each side the inner one faces out to hold the oil in then there’s a tapered bearing that is preloaded by shimming the backing plate. Then the outer seal is installed in backward to keep water out. The area between the the two seals is loaded with grease in fact this space is filled with a grease gun threw a grease nipple and can be serviced with a standard grease job. As I said in my first comment if the auto makers would make their sensitive components water proof more car could be saved from minor floods. I hate that we are a society is so eager to throw things away because we’ve cheaped out on the design and the build. The world is up in arms about our carbon foot print yet we don’t think twice about the energy used to make an item be it a cell phone or a car. I drive a 94 dodge truck diesel powered that had good mechanics but a rusty body most people would have junked it. I payed very little for it then cut and welded in new metal, what was ready for the bone yard is now a decent truck that’s driven daily. My point was that this is a salvageable car and we should not be so eager to junk it and crush it. I’ve said this before that if your in the car hobby and think your going to get rich your in the wrong gig.

      • SMS

        Hi Mark S, I’m right there with you. That dual seal is a simple solution to a problem. Wish cars were still built with longevity in mind.

  3. MrF

    Expect that it’s the usual leather vs pleather confusion with cars of this era. Leather was only in luxury cars like Cadillac, Chrysler 300, etc. This Dodge certainly displays the fine 1955 style, also seen on the Chrysler and De Soto. The two speed automatic is certainly a detriment to all of these vehicles. It was poor followup to the even more pathetic Fluid Drive and other offerings (Plymouth HyDrive, Dodge Gyromatic), surprising for a company known for engineering.
    Happy Holidays to all!

  4. duaney Member

    A bargain, if the body is as clean as it looks.

  5. Brent

    Wonder iffin he used super glue ta fix them there BREAKS. Yes sir, bet ya he glued them BREAKS right back together. By gully.

  6. Ken Carney

    Oh yeah!! I’d buy this car, recover the seats and door cards, and then enjoy it
    just as it is. Nearly bought a Lancer sedan in 2009 from an Englishman who
    was forced to sell it after his HOA threatened to evict him for the vicious
    crime of changing his spark plugs while the car was parked in his driveway!
    Unfortunately, I didn’t have a way to transport it when I retired to Alabama
    that same year. Too much going on to do it justice.

  7. Dave

    There you go again….subtle criticism of 4-door cars! What IS this obsession about 2-door vs. 4-door??? As you well know…the top of the line in most makes were ALWAYS 4-doors…i.e. Fleetwood, LeBaron ..etc. So I do not understand these odd comments about 4-doors.

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