In 1940, Dodge was riding high – the automaker was celebrating its 25th anniversary and enjoying a comfortable position near the top of the sales charts. Bursting with pride, Dodge was now marketing its passenger cars under the label “Luxury Liner”, with wider seats and finer upholstery materials than the competition.
The 1940 Luxury Liner was offered in multiple body styles, including the Deluxe Two-Door Sedan (Model D-14) shown here. The wheelbase was lengthened to 119.5 inches that year to accommodate all-new styling with a bolder, wider grille and a fastback silhouette. Dodge designers said the newly streamlined look was patterned after examples they found in nature: geese in flight, dolphins, raindrops. Colors were equally inventive: Choices included Tropical Yellow, Shocking Blue and the Atlanta Orange pictured here.
Also available in 1940 was the Safety Signal speedometer. In this Dodge exclusive, the speedometer dial was wired up to glow with green light from zero to 30 miles per hour, amber from 30 to 50 mph, and bright red above 50 mph. Was this a safety or entertainment feature? Possibly a little of both.
One true safety advance for 1940 was the introduction of sealed-beam headlamps, a Dodge first. For years, drivers had depended on old-fashioned six-volt bulbs to light their way at night – too weak for real safety. The new lamps, using high-energy bulbs vacuum-sealed in a reflective glass case, were a huge improvement, providing 120 percent more illumination. Sealed-beams remained the standard of the auto industry until the mid-1980s, when modern halogen lamps were introduced.