SEPTEMBER 2023: 1956 DODGE CUSTOM ROYAL GOLDEN LANCER—‘GOLDIE’ HAD A GOOD LIFE

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The focus in 1956 at Chrysler was style and performance–they succeeded.

The ’56 Chrysler 300A was the flagship at the company, and the debut of the ’56 Plymouth Fury gave lower-end buyers a chance to buy a car that could thump the competition on the street.

The 1956 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer gave the Dodge buyers a shot at their own version of ’56 era Mopar muscle—it did that—and more.

Jerry Sutherland

Ken Rice is a major fan of the Dodge Custom Royal lineup, so he went in search of a good, solid 1956 Custom Royal. This Dodge represented the second year of the Virgil Exner-styled Forward look cars, so it looked like the jet era car it was supposed to represent.

Ken found a Holy Grail 1956 Dodge Custom Royal two-door hardtop with 35,000 documented miles on the odometer. This was a Pennsylvania car that had somehow managed to avoid the lethal cost of eastern winters in the United States. 1956-58 Plymouth Fury guys will definitely recognize the paint scheme—it’s very close to the original shade when you look under the hood. 

There were stickers on the Custom Royal that showed this car had an oil change in 1982 at 35,000 miles and others that showed it passed a state emissions test in the late 1980s.

Ken had a friend look at the car and he highly recommended Ken buy the car—based on what he saw. Ken likes to negotiate but the seller cut him off with an offer. Ken said the seller told him, “If you don’t dicker with me on the price, I’ll deliver it, but if you do dicker, you’re on your own for delivery”.

Ken opted for the no-dicker clause because this car was across Canada from his home in Western Canada.

The Custom Royal arrived, and it definitely met Ken’s expectations. He said there “was absolutely no rust on the car and it had been painted once”, so there were no surprises. Ken said the headliner had a “few stains and that was about it”. The car has new upholstery that matches the original look and Ken even has plastic on the seats.

The 315 cubic inch poly V-8 is running like it just rolled off the assembly line so this ’56 Dodge Custom Royal is a joy to drive. The car came with automatic transmission, power steering, and brakes so there’s no real effort behind the wheel.

Ken is the kind of owner who doesn’t believe in trailer queens, but he does believe in life behind the wheel of a classic car. He’s realistic because this ’56 Dodge Royal Golden Lancer is still running with bias-ply tires, so it requires extra attention. Veterans of the bias ply/old car combination know there’s a lot of correction required with every mile.

The experience doesn’t deter Ken because he’s an experienced driver and he loves to put this classic 50s Dodge muscle car on the road because that’s how anti-trailer queen owners roll.

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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