1958 Dodge Coronet Lancer Coupe / Specs, Photos

The automobile featured in this article is a great looking 1958 Dodge Coronet Lancer Coupe. One of the interesting facts about the Coronet model was that it began as the highest trim line from Dodge in 1949 and then beginning in 1955 became the lowest trim line. The 1958 Dodge Coronet was among the fourth generation Coronets.

1958 dodge coronet

1958 Dodge Coronet

The 1958 Dodge Coronet

The 1958 Dodges had basic mechanicals similar to the De Soto, but featured special styling. The total redesign of Chrysler products for 1955-1956 was followed by the even more dramatic “forward look” cars of 1957-1959. Styling for 1958 was very similar to that of 1957 with only small changes. These automobiles are great examples of the famous Chrysler Corporation finned cars of the 1950's.

In 1958 the Dodge division of the Chrysler Corporation had three models: the Coronet...Royal, and Custom Royal. These models used the same turret as some Desotos, but had a special body style of their own. All were to a high degree similar, but with different trim lines and features.

The Dodge Coronet was the base model. The Coronet model did not have as much chrome work as the other two models, which was most noticeable on the front with the lack of 'teeth' and dress work. They also had a different rear bumper bar which had little rubber stoppers on the corners. So very different than when the Coronet had been the shining top Dodge model from 1949 to 1953.

dodge coronet fourth generationThe Full Size and Intermediate Dodge Coronet

The Dodge Coronet began as a full sized car and was so during the 1950's and some years later. Beginning in 1965 and to 1975 the Coronet became an intermediate size car. As for the names Lancer and Coronet, Lancer would switch over as the badge for the corporation’s new compact car in 1961 (sibling to Plymouth’s Valiant) while Coronet would disappear for a few years and then reappear as a new Dodge mid-size in 1965. This new 1965 model had a muscle car image and as much power as a 426 V8 Hemi could deliver.

The 1958 models were the first Dodges to have four headlights.

The grille and headlights were the most significant changes for the Dodge Coronet for 1958. The headlights were now quad units. The 1958 and 1959 Coronet, Royal, and Custom Royal employed a Desoto Fireflite chassis but had plainer trim.

Dodge focused on improving the engines, which they did, with all engines of the 'wedge' single rocker head design. The top of the line engine was the 361-cubic-inch V8 with fuel-injection which was capable of an astonishing 333 horsepower.

The Coronet may have been the base model at the time, but it doesn't look totally plain. Huge fins, plenty of chrome, and some good options make this a good looking Dodge.

1958 Dodge Coronet Specifications

Since the Dodge Coronet was considered the base model, most were equipped with inline-six engines.The top of the line engine was the 361-cubic-inch V8 with fuel-injection which was capable of an astonishing 333 horsepower.

A three-speed transmission with Fluid-Drive was standard equipment.

1950's dodge coronetBrakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

The 17-foot, 10-inch-long Dodge provides a true "big car" ride. The spacious cabin is 78.3-inches wide with a panoramic view through the wraparound windshield.

New car price in 1958 was about $2,750.

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The Dodge Coronet Collector Cars

The Dodge Coronet is a reasonably valued collector car. This of course also depends a lot on overall condition and degree of restoration. As mentioned above, the Dodge Coronet itself went from a top of the line car to eventually the lowest trim model.

dodge coronet dashboardAs of this writing the high end for the 1958 Dodge Coronet V-8 hardtop and sedans ranges from $25,000 to about $35,000. Convertible models will be the highest valued reaching perhaps over $70,000.

These values appear to hold true for the two higher trim lines with maybe a few thousand dollars more for the higher trims.

(Article and photos copyright 2016 Auto Museum Online)


The 1963 Dodge Custom 880 V-8 / Photos, Specs

The 1963 Dodge 880 featured in this article is a full size passenger car. It was also Dodge's top of the line automobile for that model year. Though it's a fact that compacts were popular in the early 1960s, the public still wanted full-size cars and the Dodge 880 filled that need.

dodge custom 880

1963 Dodge Custom 880

The Dodge Custom 880

The Unit-Body Dodge Custom 880 first appeared as a 1962 model and lasted through the 1965 model year.

The model was needed for a few reasons. DeSoto was discontinued after 1961 and that left a void. The last DeSoto car came off Detroit's Jefferson Avenue assembly plant on November 29, 1960.  In addition to that Dodge simply needed a mid priced full size car.

During the calendar year 1962 Dodge found itself short of full size cars. The thought at Chrysler was that competitors were downsizing for 1962 a bit more than they really were. The Dodge 880 for 1962, because of design time constraints, ended up being based on the Chrysler Newport. The story here is that the Dodge Custom 880 was actually designed in only three months. Existing parts had to be used from Chrysler's other models. To help differentiate between the two models...Chrysler Newport and Dodge Custom 880, designers put a Dodge Polara front end onto rear Newport quarter panels.

To have the front end look a bit different, stylists used what was called a "Fratzog" emblem in place of the star bar. The term Fratzog was the idea of a Dodge designer and the emblem was used from 1962 to 1975. The term itself means absolutely nothing but did eventually become known as the "Dodge Delta".

1963 dodge 880

Round tail light in a chrome base

Dodge advertising for it's Custom 880 cars stressed luxury and elegance. Ad phrases used included... "If elegance were spelled in numbers, this would be it". " Everywhere you look, inside and out, you'll be impressed with this superb 880's custom touches".

While the Dodge Custom 880 didn't actually come out until January 1962, there were several styles to choose from during this shortened production run. These included a four-door sedan, two- or four-door hardtop, a two-door convertible, and a choice of six- or nine-passenger station wagons. Total 1962 Dodge Custom 880 production was only 17,500 units but considering the shortened production time the model was a success.

Changes for 1963

The 1963 model year marked the second year of a four-year run for the full-size Dodge Custom 880 Series. The 63 model was introduced on November 14, 1962.

Most would say that the 63 Dodge 880 was a better looking car than it's 62 predecessor. All of the model styles from 1962 returned in 1963. In addition, there was a new base model simply named the Dodge 880. This 880 model included only a four door sedan and two different wagons.

Design changes included straighter fenders, a depressed center section of the hood and new Chrysler front bumpers. Also there was a full length grille with convex vertical bars.  The name DODGE spelled out across the hood front in block letters. This block lettering was also on the trunk lid. The Dodge name as also spelled out in script along the front fenders behind the headlights. Tail lights were different for 1963.  The round lights were in large chrome housing.In fact, Dodge had used their round tail lights ever since 1955.

Dodge 880 and Custom 880 production for the 63 model year totaled 28,200 vehicles.

1963 Dodge 880 Specifications

Standard engine for the 63 Dodge 880 was a 361 cubic inch big block V-8. For 1963 there was also an option available for a 383 cubic inch large block V-8. This 383 used premium fuel. The 361's had a two barrel carburetor and were rated at 265 HP.

1962 dodge 880

New full width grille

Standard was a three speed manual gearbox. An option was a three speed TorqueFlite automatic. The Dodge-Plymouth TorqueFlite transmission proved to be quite popular. Having debuted in 1956 on the Imperial brand, it was well known for it's smoothness and was sold to some foreign luxury automakers as well as to competitor AMC. The first generation of TorqueFlites were considered by some to be the best automatics in the world.

Brakes were four wheel drums.

Front suspension was upper and lower A-arms and longitudinal torsion bars. Rear suspension included semi-elliptic leaf springs.

The car was built with a 122.0 inch wheelbase. Same wheelbase as the Chrysler Newport. Weight averaged about 3,900 lbs.

New car price was about $2,350.

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References include the 1963 Dodge Custom 880 Owners Manual...Dodge Archives...1962 Dodge 88 Operating Instructions.

dodge 880 specs

63 Dodge Custom 880 dashboard

The Dodge Custom 880 and Dodge 880 Car Collector Values

The 1963 Dodge Custom 880 and the Dodge 880 do not rank near the top of collector interest. By the same token prices for existing models do make these automobiles affordable for new collectors.

Asking prices for the Coupe and Sedan might be found in the $10,000-$15,000 range. Convertibles might be the highest priced at $20,000 and above.

( Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)



Dodge Wayfarer of 1949 / Photos, Specs, Model History

The Wayfarer was the low-priced model in the all-new 1949 Dodge lineup, offering a minimum of chrome and other stylish trim and accessories. There were three body styles offered with the Dodge Wayfarer. These included a three-passenger business coupe, a fastback sedan, and a convertible roadster.

1949 dodge wayfarer

1949 Dodge Wayfarer

The car featured in this article is a 1949 Dodge Wayfarer Fastback Sedan.

When you look at Dodge during the late 1940's and early 1950's, the automobiles were noted for their excellent engineering. Styling wasn't necessarily a strong suit. The Dodge Wayfarer offered a hybrid of standard and automatic transmissions. This transmission system combined a conventional manual clutch with a hydraulic coupling. The Wayfarer could accelerate from a stop without using the clutch  In the years before fully automatic transmissions became widely available, the Dodge Fluid Drive was a popular feature.

In essence, the Fluid Drive, a trademark of the Chrysler Corporation, was an early attempt at a semi-automatic transmission. The mechanism had characteristics of both a manual and automatic transmission. Chrysler's Fluid Drive first appeared in 1939 and continued to 1954. It was used on Chrysler, De Soto and Dodge models.

dodge wayfarer styling

Dodge Wayfarer Styling

As mentioned above, the lower priced Dodge Wayfarer didn't lead the pack in styling. After all, the car was advertised as a low priced Dodge model so styling wasn't a huge selling point. The car was boxy and conservative for these model years. The model did however have a new grille with a chrome badge which added a nice touch. By the same token, the slab sides and tall roof line did allow a roomy cabin with excellent headroom. Men and women could step in and out of the Wayfarer comfortably with their hats on. It's a car that loooked low on the outside but high on the inside.

The Wayfarer received styling facelifts in both 1950 and 1951 although the cars were still very conservative looking. In 1950 the roadster model became the "Sportabout".

1949 Dodge Wayfarer Specifications

The Dodge Wayfarer was built with a 230 cubic inch in-line L-Head six cylinder engine with a rated 103 horsepower. Top speed was rated at 75 MPH and, surely not being a muscle car, the Wayfarer did the 0 to 60 in about 25 seconds. This same base engine contunued throughout the Wayfarer production run.

Transmission was a Chrysler Fluid-Drive hybrid automatic. It had two gear positions. These were low, governing first and second gears, and high for third and fourth. The transmission did have a clutch which was only used to switch between low and high.

Brakes were four wheel drum.

Dimensions for the 1949 Dodge Wayfarer included a 115.0 inch wheelbase.

The independent front suspension used coil springs and the rear used semi-elliptic leaf springs.

dodge wayfarer

The Dodge Wayfarer Sedan shown here weighed 3,180 lbs. The model sold new for a bit over $1,700.

The 1949 model year still enjoyed the effects of pent up buyer demand due to the war years. Dodge, as a division, sold a bit over 250,000 vehicles for the 1949 model year. Total Dodge Wayfarer production for 1949 were 63,800 vehicles. The two door sedan was the biggest seller at 49,000 units. The next year, 1950, Wayfarer production increased by about 12,000 units and the Wayfarer Sedan increased by about 16,000 units.

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dodge wayfarer dashboard

Dodge Wayfarer Collector Cars

The Dodge Wayfarer was a lower priced Dodge offering with a somewhat boxy style and, while very functional, is not typically a hot collector car. By the same token many believe they represent the last of the true American roadster. All in all, restored Dodge Wayfarers can be good values.

Restored Dodge Wayfarers may be priced in the $15,000 to $29,000 range. Convertibles will generally be on the higher end. Non-restored models should be well under $10,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)