1931 Dodge Coupe

Here is a beautiful 1931 Dodge Coupe, a car that came out during the first years of the Great Depression. If you can locate one, a very popular collector’s automobile.

1931 Dodge Coupe

1931 Dodge Coupe

The 1930′s were tough on automakers and many of the smaller one’s didn’t survive. Dodge had a reputation for quality and with Chrysler as the owner had the popularity and resources to make it through the decade.

The story is that Al Capone bought a 1931 Dodge for one of his close employees but that one was a large four door sedan. The car was said to be bought for Capone’s book keeper by the name of Guzik. There must be something about 1931 Dodge’s. Another story tells about a sheriff who bought a 1931 Dodge Coupe who drove it to a gun battle with the infamous John Dillinger. The car survived the gun fight but Dillinger escaped.

In 1931 the old Dodge Brothers car company was owned by Chrysler and was made a division of that company. Both of the founding Dodge brothers who produced their first car in 1914 died in 1920. After the brothers passed away the company went through stock sales and mergers until Chrysler stepped in. The brothers had created a successful automobile company during the first few decades of the 1900′s and their cars were known for quality.

1931 Dodge redone dash

1931 Dodge redone dash

Chrysler placed the Dodge below their Chrysler vehicles in ranking but a step above their DeSoto brand.

Chrysler pushed the Dodge reliability in their advertisements for the 1931 Coupe. Their ads touted that the Dodge vehicles were built to last a long time. An interesting note is that Chrysler kept the “Dodge Brothers” name on the cars rather than simply referring to them as Dodge’s. This changed in 1931. Starting that year Chrysler only used the name Dodge on the vehicles. The word “Brothers” was dropped after 1930. Another change starting in 1931 was that Dodge no longer offered a roadster.

Interestingly, in the 1933 model year Dodge dropped in rank and was positioned between DeSoto and Plymouth.

Classic spoked wheels on the 1931 Dodge

Classic spoked wheels on the 1931 Dodge

1931 Dodge Styling

Dodge came out in 1931 with a bit of a sleeker look including a curved grille which gave the car a more modern look.The DG body series was created and became standard.

Dodge really had many innovations during the 1930′s and these included things like rust proof bodies, better valve heads and ignition systems. It obviously were these type of additions that helped the brand survive the tough decade.

The 1931 Dodge Coupe was also a favorite for hot rod modifications. You may see a few when you travel to various auto shows around the country.

1931 Dodge Coupe Specifications

The 1931 Dodge Coupe was built with an L-head, 189 cubic inch six cylinder engine. An eight cylinder power plant was also offered with the 1931 model. The Dodge Eight had a 240 cubic inch displacement.

The car’s brakes were four wheel hydraulic. This was at a time that Henry Ford was still keeping with mechanical drum brakes on all of his vehicles. Ford innovations were notoriously slow in coming. What innovations Ford Motor made during the 1930′s were generally at the urging of the young Edsel Ford.

1931 Dodge Coupe Six

1931 Dodge Coupe Six

1931 saw the first Dodge Overdrive transmission. The standard transmission was a three speed manual.

The 1931 Dodge Coupe Six had a wheelbase of 109.0 inches which would be lengthened to 114.0 inches in 1932.

Suspension on the 1931 Dodges were semi-ellipitic springs both front and rear.

Chrysler had a 1931 total production figure of 65,500 vehicles.

The car’s weight came in at about 2,600 lbs.

New car base price for the 1931 Dodge Coupe was about $800 for the six cylinder and about $1,000 for the eight. Prices were obviously kept in check by the country’s economic woes.

Two other good vintage cars to compare this 1931 Dodge to are on the links below…

1930 Oldsmobile Deluxe

1930 Ford Model A Roadster

1931 Dodge curved back styling

1931 Dodge curved back styling

1931 Dodge Collectors Values

The 1931 Dodge, both Coupe and Sedan, are popular collector’s cars. Sales prices for eight cylinder models will of course be higher than the Sixes. A 131 Dodge not restored, if you can find a good one to restore, should be under $10,000 and likely lower depending on condition.

As of this writing, prices asked for pristine condition vehicles nay easily be in the $20,000 plus range. By the same token I’ve seen them also at $20,000 flat and some approaching $50,000. There has also been a 1934 Dodge Coupe with a $34,000 asking price. The average price value of a 1931 Dodge Coupe, depending on degree of restoration looks to be in the mid to high $20,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)

 

The 1957 Dodge Coronet / The Forward Look

This is a beautifully restored car and as with many automobiles of the late 1950′s, the 1957 Dodge Coronet sports some great tall tail fins.

1957 Dodge Coronet

1957 Dodge Coronet

The 1957 Dodge Coronet was given a big new look. At first glance you’ll notice that the 1957 Coronet had a long, low and wide look. Some commented that the new Dodge looked like it was moving even when it stood still. Lots of chrome trim, pointed exhaust looking tail lights and a wrap around windshield.

1957 Dodge Coronet Designing

The Dodge Coronet’s first had the new post war styling beginning in 1949. Another facelift was given to the cars in 1950 and yet another in 1951. The year 1957 would mark the start of the fourth generation of these Dodge automobiles.

The new look that the 1957 Coronet had was the work of Virgil Exner. Exner’s career in automobile designing spanned several companies. These included Chrysler, Studebaker and General Motors. Exner would go on to reach the position of styling chief for Chrysler. Virgil Exner was well known for his “Forward Look” designing. This was a concept he developed for Chrysler which can be seen in many of that company’s products from the mid 1950′s through 1963.

1957 Dodge

1957 Dodge

The Forward Look cars sold quite well up until about 1961 when sales dipped. The sales decline was thought to be due to relatively poor construction as opposed to any design issue. In other words, some thought the cars were falling apart too fast.

Some believe that the Forward Look was Chrysler’s race against General Motors to see who could build the biggest tail fins. In fact, Exner’s first Forward Look car came out for Chrysler in 1955 and caused quite a stir in the world of auto design. Up to that point many could argue that the Chrysler automobiles were a bit staid in design. The 1955 design created such a stir that it’s believed that both Ford and General Motors copied aspects of Exner’s design. You’ll see tail fins appear in the classic 1957 Chevy but not on the scale that Virgil Exner created with the 1957 Dodge Coronet.

The two outstanding features on the 1957 Dodge Coronet were it’s grille and rear fins as you can readily see in the photos of this article.

Dodge Coronet

Dodge Coronet

1957 Dodge Coronet Models Offered in 1957

The car buyer in 1957 was offered a variety of Coronet models to choose from. These included the club sedan, Lancer hardtop coupe, convertible, post and hardtop sedans, and two- and four-door station wagons. All of the Coronets had the dramatic front grille, sleek fins and a gracefully curved windshield.

1957 Dodge Coronet Specifications

The 1957 Dodge Coronet was built with an Inline six cylinder engine with 230 cubic inch displacement delivering 138 horsepower. This was the base engine. It’s important to note that several types of 325 cubic inch V-8 engines could also be ordered. Some delivered up to 340 horsepower really giving this Dodge super power options to say the least.

Several transmissions were available for this 1957 Dodge. Chrysler’s new three speed Torqueflite automatic transmission joined the two-speed air cooled Powerflite. Both had push buttons located on the instrument panel. An option of a three speed manual transmission was also offered.

Dodge Coronet

Dodge Coronet

The long sleek 1957 Coronet had a length of 212.2 inches, a width of 77.9 inches and a longer wheelbase of 122.0 inches and a curb weight of about 3,800 lbs.

A new suspension was added in 1957 which included Torsion-Aire Ride front suspension along with heavy duty shock absorbers. Rear suspension consisted of heavy duty leaf springs along with the heavy duty shock absorbers.

Brakes consisted of twelve inch diameter drums.

New car prices for the 1957 Dodge Coronet averaged about $2,400.

Total 1957 American car production for Dodge was just over 281,000 vehicles. Out of this amount 143,000 Coronet V-8′s were built along with 17,600 Coronet Inline six cylinder vehicles. The Dodge Coronet by far was the largest model built that year.

The links below will take you to additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you may enjoy…

1959 Edsel Corsair Convertible

1958 Ford Fairlane Retractable Hardtop

1957 Dodge Coronet dashboard

1957 Dodge Coronet dashboard

1957 Dodge Coronet Prices

For those looking to restore the 1957 Coronet, non restored models can be bought for perhaps $2,000 to $4,000. If the condition is really poor, less than that. Because the 1957 Coronets were good sellers finding one to restore today should not be difficult. Sedans will be the easiest to find.

Prices as of this writing for restored 1957 Dodge Coronets depend a lot on the specific model and of course the degree of restoration. The degree of restoration will be the biggest influence on price.  A restored two door hardtop might garner a price in the $30,000 plus range. A fully restored Coronet Convertible in mint condition could command much more that the $30,000 plus range. You may find asking prices for restored Coronet convertibles in the $70,000 range.

For those wishing to learn more about the famous auto designer, Virgil Exner, and his impact on the automobile industry, there’s a good book available…Virgil Exner: Visioneer: The official biography of Virgil M. Exner, designer extraordinaire by author Peter Grist.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)