1955 Dodge Coronet
Chrysler Corporation's post-war design philosophy - namely, that
utility was more important than looks - started to fail once cars
were widely available, and the company lured the extravagant Virgil
Exner away from Studebaker to restyle the entire line. The first
full result of this was the 1955 product line, though he had been
able to tinker with the 1953-54 cars. Tex Colbert funded the
changeover with a long-term loan for $250 million, which included
money for process and plant upgrades. That may have brought about
the advertised name - the "Hundred Million Dollar Look" (also
called the "Forward Look"). Sales shot up immediately, and the
company easily recouped its investments. Not all of the cars were
direct Exner designs; Maury Baldwin was in charge of the 1955
Dodge. Still, he seemed to have followed Exner's lead, using
spear-shaped side trim and split grilles. The body shape was
common, because Chrysler shared more between brands than GM.
Baldwin's 1955 Dodge was 212 inches long, on a 120-inch wheelbase;
it grew by nearly seven inches over the prior year. -Thx To
For consignment, a "forward looking" design in the form of a
believed 35,434 original mile Dodge Coronet from 1955. This sassy
classy tri tone 2 door car has the attributes of details that just
had never been seen before. Cars of the time were fashioned by
engineers not designers and Baldwin changed that idea...quickly.
With a futuristic slide handle transmission engagement, some snazzy
Jacquard broadcloth usage for the interior seating, and a low sleek
exterior with some small fins, let's move forward not unlike the
design of this car and find out more.
I'm donning my baseball hat with its embroidered "Flookerang",
(Chrysler's logo for the forward-thinking design, ahhhh the 50's),
and having my first look at this 55 Coronet. A tasteful single
visored headlight is on either side of the split grille and shiny
bumper below which is quite possibly the original and frames the
stylish grille just above. A single round turn signal light is in
each lower corner of the grille, and just above, a silver chevron
badge on the front of the hood and Dodge script to the left. Note
that above the bumper are grille "bumpers" that wrap around the
front quarters much like the actual bumper below. The front design
of the car definitely has shades of the Studebaker of the era, and
that's ok because it speaks class, and was also designed by Exner.
Just above, a falcon hood ornament with swept back fighter jet
styled wings leads the way atop the hood. The front and lowers of
this car are bathed in what is believed to be the original
application of Chiffon Green, meanwhile Satin Green Opal floods the
upper body sections and cascades down the large trunk lid. A few
touch ups can be seen in the Chiffon Green but overall, the paint
shows well for being almost 70 years old. A few bubbles and
speckles of surface rust are also noted but otherwise the car
appears rust free. This 2-door hardtop has gaps that are well
maintained throughout, and you can get a visual of this by looking
at the trim spear that runs from the swept back hood trim to stern.
Wrap around glass is seen with an extended rear lower roofline
framing the top of the glass and Saratoga White is applied to the
roof. Just a hint of a fin on the back which creates the cove for
the simple round bezel tail lamps. Another large bumper that
carries the fin line to the bumper where it stretches across the
rear just below the trunk deck. More Saratoga White fills the area
just above the bumper and encompasses the rear of the fins. Wide
white walls wrap polished Dodge full size wheel covers on all 4
Stepping inside past the elegant door panels we are greeted with a
green and white colorway which is within the hue range of the
exterior. The door panels use white uppers in vinyl and black and
white vinyl lowers, as some strips of chrome delineate these panels
and make room for the green and black checked Jacquard cloth.
Panning our eyes to the inside, a split front bench and solid back
bench create the passenger seating. These are beautifully preserved
with green with black broadcloth inserts on the seats and backs
where they meet. This Jacquard has an interesting 3 dimensional
pattern and is pristine. A white vinyl makes up the bolsters and is
separated from the broadcloth by black piping. These fit into a
deep black tub with chrome highlight trimming. To the dash where a
gray steel flowing dash houses round instruments all within a white
panel. Pedal styled levers are on drivers left and right to control
temp and fan on the left and the transmission to drivers right. On
top of a gray steering column is a two tone bakelite steering wheel
using the black and gray along with a circular inset chromed horn
ring. The bottom of the dash is curved under and has a chrome plate
to add some interior bling to the field of gray. In the center are
several round turn knobs for wipers lights and some interior
lighting controls and the factory radio. In front of the passenger
is a glovebox and in the center is a ribbed chrome speaker grille.
Original deep green loop pile carpeting covers all the floors, and
above a light green broadcloth headliner is lightly stained but
remains tight. Much like the exterior, this interior presents as
all original and corresponds with the shown odometer mileage.
Under the hood is none other than a 270ci Red Ram V8. Atop is a
single 2-barrel carburetor and strapped to the back is a Powerflite
2-speed automatic transmission. The rear axle is of 3.54
designation. Just a fine coating of dust under here as it is about
as original as they come.
Some surface rust abounds on the untreated components down below,
covering the frame and suspension components. The flooring, body
hangers and rockers are solid and retain their factory applied
undercoating. Single exhaust is noted and has surface rust on the
piping. The muffler has rusted away from the tailpipe which also
has perforated rust holes. Independent coil springs for the front
suspension working with drum brakes, and on back leaf springs
working with more drum brakes are noted.
This writer has a hot nut for these 50's cars that display
interesting design and usage of various off the beaten path
materials, and this car is a fine example of that. So, I hopped in
and off to the test track where it had nice smooth acceleration,
smooth shifting, and the brakes worked nicely, albeit they pulled
to the left slightly. All functions were working well, and with
just a slide of the lever this large and in charge car was floating
down the road.
One family owned, (prior to our consignor), low mileage, just the
way it left the showroom cruiser right from the beginning of the
Forward Look era. Comes with the original bill of sale, original
title and all the history of the car. All in very nice condition,
ready to go and show. All in mid 50's style and grace. Start
spreading the news! I wanna be a part of this!
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special
interest automobile showroom, featuring over 650 vehicles for sale
with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle
barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown,
Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia
on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is
www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914.
Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the
vehicle in person.