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Poly Head: 1956 Dodge Coronet Lancer


In the 1950’s Dodge was busy experimenting with engine and head designs. They produced a number of interesting new designs, but few went on to be used and even fewer lasted the test of time. One of the better designs they came out with was the Poly head V8, but it didn’t go on to see the success that the Hemi did. This 1956 Dodge Coronet Lancer is powered by one of these Poly V8s and is a solid driver. Take a look at it here on eBay, were bidding is still low.


Dodge’s Hemi head design offered great performance, while still being relatively efficient. The only problem with it, was that it was complex and costly to build, so they set about building a design that was simpler. To achieve this goal they had to change the shape of the head to a polyspherical design. This 270 cui Red Ram V8 produced 175 hp and 240 pounds of torque. The seller states that the engine and transmission work nicely, but they haven’t actually driven it because the brakes aren’t working.


The interior looks to be in nice condition, but could benefit from some attention. Both the seats and the headliner could use new upholstery. The dash looks very nice, but the steering wheel has some cracks in it. The seller claims this was a barn find and given its condition, that seems likely.


The seller seems to be very optimistic about their Coronet, and while it is in nice shape, it’s going to need a lot of attention before it can be driven safely on the road. The Red Ram V8 is also a very interesting engine, but finding parts can be difficult, so let’s hope it’s in good working order. Just think if people today lusted after a “Poly” instead of a “Hemi”…


  1. Charlie

    Finding parts for the ‘RED RAM V8’ will be hard, but not impossible. You need to find a 1970’s copy of Chrysler’s Racing Manual for all of their engines. There is one chapter that pertains to the older ‘POLY’ engines, and what parts can still be fitted to them. Granted, it’s 40 year old technology, but if you can fit Chevy pistons and rods into a MOPAR block, you should be able to re-invent these engines.

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  2. Wayne

    Sigh…another one heading to Sweden…

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  3. scot

    ~ my brother’s highschool GF and her sister drove a nearly identical Dodge.

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  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    There were lots of them around when I was a kid. Now you have to look for them. This one looks like a good candidate for someone who is economically challenged. Nice looking but not high in demand. A powertrain that is bullet proof. Fix it up, paint it, detail it and drive it.

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  5. joe howell

    My dad had a white over yellow and black 55 and my great aunt Polly had a white over yellow 56 one like this one. Rare birds compared to tri5 chevys.

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  6. David

    Now why wouldn’t the seller include a battery with this car?? That just doesn’t make any sense to me at all

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  7. David G

    Brakes can get expensive and time-consuming on these cars, just finished a 54 Chrysler with similar design that was an er, ambitious job… (2 wheel cylinders per front wheel, all 8 shoes each require independent adjustment on both their fixed anchor and wear-adjustment cams to align their centers with the drum diameter, ugh. When done properly, it’s a great system, if ‘inconvenient’ to rebuild. Most all of today’s replacement wheel cylinders i found were out-of-country crap (Rock Auto’s Raybestos, Dorman, et al…). Andy Birnbaum’s in MA had better ones. Best method is to have original wheel cylinders rebuilt, even at $100 per!. Anyhow, get that done and you’ve got a neato pillarless 50s coupe to sled around in – i like this thing!!

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    • scot

      ~ yeah, find cores for rebuild and switch them in and machine back-ups. although the car is capable, this Coronet Lancer won’t accumulate a lot of high-speed miles or panic stops.

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  8. Blindmarc

    Love this one. My favorite of the 56′ big three models.

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  9. ConservativesDefeated

    Back in the mid eighties I almost bought the version of this Lancer aimed at women….came with an umbrella and a compact set if I remember correctly in the glove box.

    In absolutely perfect comdition………that rose colored paint aimed at the “ladies”…….

    For my pennies…nothing beats sitting behind the dash of most forties and fifties models..just damn good for the soul!

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  10. paul

    Nice, solid.

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