Featured here is one of the rarest and most flamboyant Dodge vehicles of the fabulous ‘50s: the 1957 Dodge Custom Royal Convertible.
The Custom Royal was the top of the line for 1957, with the drop-top version considered the most desirable today. (Only 2, 456 convertibles were produced that year, and the number remaining is unknown.) The D-500 designation signifies Dodge’s powerhouse engine that year, a 325 cubic-inch V8 with hemispherical heads, a 9.25:1 compression ratio, and Carter four-barrel carb. With sporty-sounding dual exhausts, it was good for 310 horsepower.
Dodge advertising described the ’57’s design as “completely new, from road to roof, ” and that it was. The wild “swept-wing” styling featured the most dramatic tailfins in the industry that year. The bold fins were a key part of Chrysler’s corporate design theme in these years, which chief stylist Virgil Exner called the “Forward Look.”
Another advanced feature: broad eyebrows in the front fenders were designed to accommodate quad headlamps, a system not yet legal in all states in 1957. Instead, large parking lamps took the place of the inner, high-beam headlamps as a one-year stopgap measure.
And in place of a conventional grille, the nose features two heavy bumper-like structures stacked one atop the other. Chrome, man! In an era of glorious styling excesses, the Dodge Custom Royal fit right in.
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