Running Hemi: 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer

Even though some cars have a well weathered appearance, you can still see the charm in their styling and looks much like this Royal Lancer. Wearing a fair amount of surface rust, this Lancer has a running Hemi, and overall is a very complete car. Being from the south west, this Dodge look to have little to no rot whatsoever, and the seller is throwing in a Tri Power set up for the asking price of $5,500. Take a look at it here on craigslist out of Pahrump, Nevada.

With a recent carb rebuild, a new battery, and some fresh gas this Hemi is up and running once again. It is unclear how long this Dodge may have sat, but based on its appearance, I would say it’s been a while. Surface rust is present in the engine compartment, and the engine is dingy and dirty, but being in running condition offers some hope for this classic. Although running the seller does not mention if the car can be driven, but does mention that it is in desperate need of tires.

Not much can be seen of the interior other that the dash and steering wheel which both appear reasonable other than the upper broken section of the steering wheel. Being a south west car, I would assume the upholstery is trashed and needs to be completely reworked.

Most if not all of the stainless trim is present, as well as some spares to replace a few dented pieces. Also a new grill section is included as part of the passenger side of the grill is bent and a bit out of whack. At one point this Royal Lancer had a very 1950’s colorway having been black over pink. Little of the pink has survived with more surface rust than paint currently present. There aren’t many detailed photos of the body, but it would seem mostly straight, and with no rot to be seen. Patina comes to mind, but the black over pink would be great to see laying on this classic once again. What would you do with this classic Hemi Mopar?

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  1. BronzeGiant Member

    I REALLY hope it’s just soaking wet and someone didn’t clear coat over all that surface rust……THAT is what really turns me off on “patina” of ANY kind.

    • Bellingham Fred

      I see a garden hose in the front. Maybe he ran water over it, but the ground looks dry.

    • JCWJr Member

      I agree. It does look like he just washed it or wet it down for pictures. like they do in the movies photographs better wet.

  2. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    no mojo with these ‘Hemis’ …

    and you can find decent 4 dr’s for half the price this will cost to just get to be a driver….. if it was a manual 2 door, then maybe

  3. Dave Wright

    My grandfather had a 2 door hardtop version of one of these. He terrorized the Idaho roads with it for years. To appreciate these cars you have to compare them with there Ford and Chevrolet competition. These were road burners. Most cars on the road when these were new were still 4 or 5 year old 6 cylinder models.

  4. NMCarNut

    Actually this was the epitome of 50’s colors: three-tone white over black over rose.

  5. Trey

    That ain’t a Lancer.

    • NMCarNut

      By the side chrome it is a Lancer or more specifically a Custom Royal Lancer 4-door sedan. While probably rare in comparison the Custom Royal 4-door sedan was also offered in Lancer variant, the easy way to tell is the non-Lancer had a straight horizontal chrome strip running down the sides of the car, not the “V” dip side chrome similar to the Lancer hardtop and convertible.

      • Tommy D

        That is not a Lancer. The Lancer name was added to 2 or 4 door hardtop models (no B pillar) on Coronet, Custom, and Custom Royal.

  6. lawrence

    Yep….tri power doesn’t get it up that far….

  7. Mountainwoodie

    Many years ago I passed on an almost perfect LaFemme……….for a couple of grand. My manliness was threatened by the umbrella and makeup case. If I had only known so many would be switching teams in the future!

    • Tommy D

      I hear you Woodie, they sure were pretty though…

      • Woodie Man

        Yours is sweet! They’re damn good looking cars!

  8. Mountainwoodie

    On the drivers side you can see ‘Royal Lancer”………..if you loook at NMCarNut’s illustration, the Custom Royal Lancer doesnt have the words on the drivers side front fender at the end of the straight chrome I’m guessing its lost its ‘V-dip’

    • NMCarNut

      No, the illustration is of a Custom Royal, not a Custom Royal Lancer like the one for sale, hence the different chrome. The Lancer version of the Custom Royal sedan was introduced mid-year almost undoubtedly to counter the mid-year release of the Buick and Oldsmobile 4-door hardtops.

      • Trey

        Getting confused by all this, but any Lancer should be a hardtop, unless you’re suggesting Dodge didn’t have a 4-door hardtop ready and introduced this high-line sedan trimmed like a deluxe hardtop. Never heard of that, but companies have been known for stop-gap measures in response to pioneering competitors.

      • Tommy D

        My Custom Royal Lancer Hardtop…

      • NMCarNut

        Trey, you hit the nail on the head. A little digging and here is a spring 1955 ad announcing the Custom Royal Lancer sedan. And the text, “. . . the flair of a hardtop – the roominess of a sedan” strongly indicates this was a hasty counter to the new GM 4 door hardtops. That is until 56 when Dodge introduced a proper Lancer hardtop in 4 door form.

        Some times you got to do what you’ve got to do . . .

  9. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    I probably wouldn’t buy this car in a 4-door but I love the early hemis. There used to be at least one company making go-fast parts for them. Clear-coating “patina” used to drive me bananas but I’m slightly numb to it now, and I actually think it works on this car. If this car was sprayed some original color scheme I wouldn’t even check it out, but that’s just me. As long as there’s one perfect one out there somewhere the rest can be customize IMHO.

  10. Tommy D

    I would love that motor for my car (just the heads actually), but I didn’t think the hemi came with a 2 barrel…

    • Michael thomas

      yep, a lot of them had 2 barrels. we put an adaptor on my 67 426 Hemi to make it a 2 Barrel when gas was so high. We did it for giggles and we got a lot of them. We nick named it “Economy performance.”

      • RS

        Funny thing is, a smaller 4 barrel would have done better than any two barrel. Either keep your foot out of the gas or else rig it so the secondaries don’t open, and the front two barrels are smaller and get better mileage than a deuce.


      My father had one in a DeSoto. Pretty sure it was a deuce. Hemi or not it was slower than a school bus and burned gas like it was free.

  11. tugdoc

    An engineer once told me “Fuel is horsepower”.

  12. Brad C

    Clearcoat-phobics need not worry, you can see the hose in a couple of the photos. I like the weathered look on this — gives a youthful, devil-may-care attitude to a 4 door. I’d add some AC, see if I could get an aftermarket EFI onto the old Hemi so it would start no matter what, and enjoy it.

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