Fast Sedan: 1955 Dodge Custom Royal

1955-dodge-custom-royal

Four-doors aren’t all bad. Take this old Dodge for example. This was Dodge’s top model and it was powered by a Hemi V8! So, although it may not have looked fast, but I bet this thing could really cruise. Apparently, it never did much of that though. The first owner sold it to a local dealership for a mere $100 in 1964 and they hung onto it until 1995. Then it changed hands a few times and has supposedly only chalked up 35k miles. It’s located in Bucyrus, Ohio and is listed here on eBay where bidding starts at $1,950.

custom-royal-interior

When compared to today’s flagship models, this thing looks pretty bare-bones. Then again, I did spot power seat and window controls… Most of the luxuries here are not so obvious. Things like power steering and power brakes made all the difference in a car like this. There’s a full set of gauges too and plenty of courtesy lights. For some strange reason this one was ordered without a radio or clock though.

super-red-ram-hemi

Two hundred horsepower may not sound like a lot today, but it was serious power back in the fifties. This Super Red Ram 270 V8 produced just under that figure so this car was a decent performer. For comparison purposes, the Chrysler C-300 put out 300 horsepower and could hit over 127 mph! It was basically a race car for the street though. This Dodge may not be in the same category, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it could hit triple digit speeds too. Again, a respectable achievement in the fifties.

vent-window

This sedan is starting to sound pretty good, isn’t it? Unfortunately, the exterior was resprayed and the seats reupholstered at some point. That wouldn’t cause me to write it off completely though. The seller knows the car’s history and even had the opportunity to drive it in a parade in the seventies. I’d like to know if the work was done before or after that point. Either way, this is an interesting old car with enough power and space to bring along the whole family!

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Comments

  1. Fred W.

    I usually don’t buy the low mileage claims, but on this one, I just might…dealerships commonly kept one old car in the showroom for nostagia’s sake. Pretty easy to call and verify that.

  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    I have issues with a respray. True, nine times out of ten, a respray is done merely because the original paint has lost its luster. But that one time is the one that hides a nasty rust-out. So often a respray is counter productive because it starts to flake and peel around trim. We’ve got a ’57 Poncho that was resprayed simply because the original blue was faded. I’m sure that it was resprayed with enamel because it is NOT at all compatible with the lacquer underneath. I’ll have to pull all the trim, strip it down to the bare metal and start over again.

    Aside from all that I really like this car! A four-door suits me just fine….

    Like 1
  3. Ben T. Spanner

    My father had a 1955 Desoto Firedome 2 Dr Hardtop. That was the lower priced Desoto series and would have competed with this Dodge. Even when almost new, the steering and especially the brakes were scary. Modern tires and a disk brake conversion in the front would do wonders. Acceleration wise,it can keep up with modern highway traffic, but not steering and stopping.

    A little improvement in those area and it would be a good driver.

    • David Montanbeau

      I have a 57 Imperial Crown at 4700 and I do not have any problems with brakes. They have to be done properly to function and 9/10 of the people that do brakes are not doing them correctly. Been doing these for 50 plus years.

      • Dave Wright

        57 was a banner year for Chrysler. First year of the torsion bar suspension and start of the big hemi’s. As I remember the brakes are very substantial but complicated on the imperial, multiple wheel cylinders…..is that right?

      • David Montanbeau

        1957 Imp front brakes.

      • David Montanbeau

        Rear brakes

      • David

        The 57 Imperial is for sale? $ 4700 is the price?

      • David

        This Imperial is for sale? $ 4700 is the price?

      • David Montanbeau

        CHEEZ!! 4700 pounds. How do you read that it’s for sale at 4700?

        Like 1
  4. Howard A Member

    I really think this era Dodge ( same as me) was some of the nicest styling of the mid-50’s. Just to be clear, when something such as this, has a “hemi”, we all ( at least I do) have these visions of flame-belching, fume spewing, tire burning monsters, when in fact, these original hemi’s were oily, heavy, gas hog slugs, and have little, if anything, in common with their drag racing brethren. ( or a”modern” hemi?) Growing up, I knew several neighbors and friends that had older hemi’s, and they were a mess, and a ’57 Rambler Rebel, would leave them in the dust. I suppose, you could leave it in there, for people to gawk at, but for driving, I’d rather have the “Getaway” I6 ( I love the names back then) as to me, a neat car like this isn’t about speed. Guess I’m showing my age. Beautiful car.

    • DENIS

      Yup, you are showing your age, me too. And I had 2 of those ’57 Rebels you refer to…1 with 3 spd/od, one with automatic, won lots of drag races with ’em…oh, to have ’em back. I sold a Dodge like this to my favorite aunt with about 50k miles on it in the infamous tri-color…black/blue/white..

  5. dirtyharry

    Sure is nice to see something besides a 55 Chevy. I think it is great someone saved this car, regardless of the fact it has 4 doors. 4 doors look good on this sweet ride.

    Like 1
  6. David

    Why do you make negative comments, continuously, about 4-door automobiles?

    Like 2
  7. Trent

    I like it !!

  8. Rustytech Member

    I think the 55 & 56 models are the prettiest and most under appreciated cars in the collector car market. The brakes were not as substantial as on the 57 imperials, so I too would upgrade them. I would also upgrade the electrical system to 12 volt and add vintage air conditioning. Then it would be the perfect driver. If it stays under five grand this is a bargain.

  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Mopar had the same brakes – front – we are talking about – for a few years – maybe 55-62. On a 1956 D-500 Dodge or 56 Fury they came with the big car brakes – 12″ – so what did the other’s besides a Vette offer ?

  10. Tom Driscoll

    I own a ’56 Custom Royal, and can say the brakes and steering are in no way scary (though I did add a dual master cylinder for safety). They ride and drive very well, easily hitting triple digits even with a 2 speed trans, and accelerate quite nicely. An often overlooked advantage is the relatively mid-size dimensions of these cars compared to their 60’s replacements…mine fits easily in my old garage – I think someone will be very happy with this car.

    Like 3
  11. Skip

    I wouldn’t necessarily doubt that low mileage claims. My first-ever car out of high school was a 1955 Plymouth Belvedere four-door: the Plymouth “sister” of this car. It had less than 40K on it when I got it for graduation. By the time my dad traded it for a ’63 Valiant in 1965 it had almost 99K on it. The Valiant only had 28K on it and Dad got it for $800 plus the old Plymouth. The Valiant had just over 100K on it when the motor threw a rod in 1972, and Dad put the engine from a ’62 Dart in it and I drove it another year before selling it.

  12. Roger Meisenbach

    Tom Driscol, love your ’56 CRL. It reminds me of my (now long gone) ’56 CRL D-500 2drHT in that same yellow but with a creamy ivory tu-tone combo. As the advertising stated, it was a “bomb” for its day. No negative term. It meant “snappy hot rod”. The ’55 Custom Royal featured here is the early/original version with a relatively plain body design for a top-of-the-line sedan. About mid-year Detroit responded to buyer complaints by re-styling the conservative side trim to match the sweeping flair of the hardtop Lancers. . . which meant most of the sedan color choices from that time forward would then tend to be three-tone as with the hardtops. That was an amazing sales feature in 1955!

    Like 1
  13. Tom Driscoll

    Thanks Roger, how fortunate for you to have owned the ultimate CRL, a D-500 2 dr! I hope it landed in good hands. And thank you for the design lesson, I love learning about these cars, and the input from these forums…it’s the best!

  14. SumtingWong

    Wish I lived closer. Love the look.

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