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…

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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)