Welcome back to the Dodge Heritage Series, a 10-part exploration of Dodge brand history. This is Part 4 in the series.
The 1950s were an exciting time at Dodge. The decade featured a long, impressive list of engineering innovations and bold, new styling that led the American auto industry.
With its sibling brands at the Chrysler Corporation — Plymouth, DeSoto and Chrysler — Dodge introduced the Forward Look in 1955. This unique styling language, developed by Vice President of Design Virgil Exner, featured sleek, swept-back lines, aggressive grille openings and dramatic tail fins. For added visual impact, Exner often incorporated colorful two-tone and even three-tone paint schemes, like on the 1955 Dodge Custom Royal above.
In these years, the Dodge brand was also known for its advanced engineering. Important product firsts included the Red Ram HEMI® V-8 engine in 1953, push-button transmission control in 1955, the legendary TorqueFlite automatic transmission in 1956, torsion-bar suspension in 1957 and unibody construction to close out the decade.
One fanciful Dodge feature you won’t see today is Swing-out Swivel Seating, as found in the 1959 Custom Royal Lancer Convertible (below). Bucket seats with a twist, they automaticially swung outward 40 degrees when the door was opened to make passenger entry and exit easier. A fabulous variety of interior colors and fabrics were available to complete the futuristic look.
Read Part 3 of the Heritage Series for more Dodge history. Also, be sure to visit the Heritage Wall section of the Dodge Power Rallye Tour, a traveling Dodge-based experience showcasing the best in performance vehicles. You can find the schedule of Tour events here.