Here’s something you don’t see every day (more likely, never)–a Spring Special 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer sedan in two-toned purple and white. With power steering! Super-wide “grandaddy” whitewall tires! A hemi engine, teamed with PowerFlite transmission! If “you are what you drive”, what does this car say about the person who ordered it up this way?
I’m limiting myself to my personal observations about this car; if you want more in-depth history of this era of Dodge, click here.
This would have been super-snazzy, driving home from your friendly Dodge dealer in 1955–and it still is! Remember that Dodge at this time was basically a lengthened, jazzed-up Plymouth (just as Mercury was a bigger, jazzed-up Ford, and Pontiac was a bigger, jazzed-up Chevrolet).
Give the customers more choice–a reason to spend more money on something bigger, brighter, bolder, faster–anything to increase market share by a few thousand units. Makes a real difference in the manufacturer’s bottom line!
Speaking of choice, how about this: 13 single colors, 16 two-tone combinations, and who knows how many three-tone combinations were available! It would take half a day or more (with endless consultations with your wife) to pick just the right one! In fact, with all the Dodge models, options, and paint schemes, the number of possible 1955 Dodges one could select may exceed the number of galaxies in the known universe!
This may not be an original Dodge color; it could be an Earl Scheib job for all I know. But on this Royal Lancer by Dodge, royal purple somehow works! Very few cars could pull this off!
Here we see the beginnings of the space-age inspired Forward Look hoopla that would soon engulf the entire industry! Jet-like tail light bezels and little chrome tailfins have just begun to sprout. These things and many others would be fully developed (and then some) by 1957, reaching otherworldly, overpowering levels of surrealism in 1959 and ’60. But in 1955, things are still pretty mild.
Inside, things look snazzy too, with black and white two-toned upholstery and lots of shiny chrome surfaces. The steering wheel says “FULL TIME Power Steering”.
Consumer Reports stated that the 1955 Plymouths and Dodges “outclassed competing cars” in seating comfort and riding smoothness.
Close-up of the jewel-like dashboard. You can see the one-year-only PowerFlite gear selector lever on the dash to the right of the steering column.
Headliner is kind of worn. A new one will set you back a grand, or leave it “as-is” for that authentic patina look.
This Royal Lancer came with the SUPER RED RAM V-8 engine: 270 cubic inches, 7.6:1 compression, 4-barrel carburetion, 193 horsepower. Motor Trend tested this model with PowerFlite transmission and achieved a 0-60 time of 16.2 seconds, which doesn’t seem that brisk for a model with the biggest hemi engine available in a Dodge. So this flying purple people eater doesn’t fly that fast, although I’m sure it’s more than adequate. Top speed was 101.8 MPH.
I know! Park this purple Dodge Royal Lancer next to the ultra-luxurious ’55 Dodge La Femme in pink and white–the perfect “his & her” cars for the couple who likes to be treated like royalty–King and Queen for [more than] a day! Modern, “with-it” people who aren’t confined by stultifying, old-fashioned constrictions defining so-called “good taste”.
Like maybe these two . . .