MAY 5, 2010-‘LOST STAR’: 1959 DODGE CUSTOM ROYAL-A SPECTACULAR END TO A GREAT OLD CAR

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At MyStarCollectorCar.com we like to look back to the past-probably because the most interesting cars have already been built.

 

But we also like to look back at the personal history of a car-or “Lost Star” because the loss of a car from a guy’s past often has more emotional impact than most ex-girlfriends.

 

The only condition is that we need a picture of a lost automotive love from the past.

 

Al Lynch was the proud owner of a 1959 Dodge Custom Royal in the early 1960s. He really hadn’t thought about the car until just before Easter 2010 when he was traveling with his brother Ron-an avid photographer for many years.

 

Ron told Al he had a picture of an old car of yours”…that’s when his curiosity went off the charts. The picture was taken many years ago.

 

Al thought that Ron “probably bought a new camera” and, since it was winter, the only thing remotely interesting was Al’s car in front of the house. Because of that random event, Al’s car was immortalized forever on a slide quality picture.

 

Al really liked this ’59 Dodge but that wasn’t unusual-he really liked every one of his cars “I liked all of them, I wish I would’ve kept them all”. Spoken like a true car guy. But reality wins every time as Al noted “ it’s not practical to have a garage that will hold 5 cars”. That spelled the end of the road for the Dodge because in 1966, Al bought a brand new ’66 Barracuda Formula S and the ’59 Dodge was sold.

 

But not before Al had many, many good times in the old Custom Royal. The Dodge and Al were inseparable in the early to mid 1960s because it took him to work every day and it took him to the parties on the weekends. Al remembers hundreds of trips to the local drive in and the old Dodge was a perfect form of transportation because “it was always good at drive-ins, big seats, lots of room”. You can interpret that kind of information any way you want to-but anybody over a certain age knows exactly what Al was talking about…

 

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Al is a practical guy to this day so even though he liked the Dodge, it still had to be reliable and this finned monster was a trooper-with a ton of power. It was a 383 full load car so Al had no trouble making highway speed-and well beyond. One of the routine trips Al took was to the Varsity Dance Hall at Sylvan Lake Alberta Canada.

 

This was a typical teen weekend hangout in the 50s and 60s and Al was a very popular guy so typically he filled the car with 10 of his closest friends and hit the “lake” every weekend to party in the summer. Try doing that with a Prius.

 

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Unfortunately, cars are so interlinked with people that they can often be part of a bad ending-just like real life. In this case, the old Dodge lasted a grand total of 2 days with its new owner Clem Swainson, before his brother Jim took it out and wrote it off in a crash-fortunately with no serious injuries. It was a spectacular ending to a great car as Jim recalls “ I just got my license, it was winter and really slippery-I skidded through an intersection and hit a snowplow. I went through the windshield and bounced back into the passenger’s side. The car skidded into a light pole and I went through the windshield… for the second time”.

 

Happily, Jim lived through the crash and he attributes this to “his hard head”…the demolished old fin car was retired to the family farm where it was last seen going back to nature-as compost.

 

But the picture of his old car meant a lot to Al Lynch-he carries it around to get people to ID the ’59 Dodge then he tells them stories about his old car friend from 45 years ago because…even though the car is gone, the memories last forever.

 

You can’t say that about old girlfriends

 

Jerry  Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com

 

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