Introduction: The Dodge Coronet was Dodge's entry into the midsize segment.
It first appeared in the mid 1950s, disappeared, and then reappeared in the
mid 1960s. With R/T trim, and packing some serious power, the Coronet was a
true muscle car sleeper.
1953 Dodge Coronet
Comments: The Dodge Coronet underwent a tremendous change for 1953, including
all new styling, an updated, downsized chassis (in two sizes), and most
importantly, the Red Ram V8, which initially came standard in the top-line
Coronet. The 241.4 cid V8 was of a hemispherical head design, just like the
Chrysler FirePower, only in a smaller size. With a two-barrel carb and
regular gas burning 7.1:1 compression, the Red Ram produced 140 bhp - which
was pretty good for 1953. The styling was rounder and smoother, and updated the
old-looking 1949-52 body and finally integrated the rear fenders into the rest
of the body. Two and four door sedans came on a 119 inch wheelbase, down 4.5
inches from 1952, and the two-door hardtop, convertible and two-door station
wagons came on a 114 inch wheelbase, an inch shorter than the earlier low-priced
Wayfarer models. It didn't take stock car racers very long to recognize that more
power in a shorter, lighter body was good for racing, and Dodge scored six
NASCAR Grand National wins in 1953. The Diplomat two-door hardtop was priced at
$2,361 and 17,334 were sold. The Diplomat convertible cost $2,494 and 4,100 were
sold. Both came with the Red Ram V8 standard and launched Dodge performance.
Production: Diplomat 2D Hardtop Coupe: 17,334. Diplomat 2D Convertible: 4,100.
Engines: 241.4 V8 140 bhp.
Performance: 241/140bhp: 0-60 in 16.1 sec.
1954 Dodge Coronet
Comments: The Dodge Coronet received a minor face lift for 1954, and horsepower on
automatic transmission cars was increased to 150. A Dodge Coronet convertible was
the pace car for the 1954 Indy 500 and 701 replicas were built.
Engines: 241.4 V8 140 bhp (manual transmission). 241.4 V8 150 bhp (automatic transmission)
1955 Dodge Coronet
1956 Dodge Coronet
Comments: The Dodge Coronet was used as the basis for Dodge's version of MOPAR
performance. Unlike the other Chrysler super cars (Plymouth Fury, DeSoto Adventurer,
and Chrysler 300B), the new Dodge Coronet D-500 was visually indistinguishable from
normal Dodges upon which it was based. The only external clues were discreet,
crossed checkered flags and "500" lettering on its lower rear deck. The D-500
option (named for the NASCAR requirement that 500 identical models must be
produced in order to be raced) was also available on any
Dodge model, including station wagons and two door sedans. The D-500 option included
a 315 cid V8 with hemispherical heads (unlike other Dodge V8s which used polyspherical
heads), a unique camshaft, valve lifters, pushrods, carburetor, ignition, and pistons.
With a compression ratio of 9.25:1, four barrel Carter WCFB carburetor, and dual
point distribution, peak horsepower was 260 bhp while torque was a solid 330 lb-ft.
The D-500 came with a standard three-speed heavy duty manual transmission. The
optional Powerflite push button automatic transmission had a kick down feature. A
3.73:1 rear axle ratio was standard, but several others were optional. The D-500
also received an upgraded suspension with very stiff front coil springs with heavy
duty Oriflow shock absorbers, with the same valving specified for Dodge police cars,
were mounted in the springs. Similar units were used in the rear. A sturdy 0.8125
inch high rate stabilizer bar was also installed. Overall height of the D-500 was
1.5 inches lower than its standard Dodge counterpart. The D-500 came standard with
15x5.5 inch wheels with 7.60x15 inch tubeless tires. Optional were heavy duty
15x6.5 inch wheels. DeSoto/Chrysler 12 inch diameter drum brakes were used in the
D-500, providing a total effective bracking area of 251 square inches, compared to
173.5 square inches on regular Dodges.
An even hotter version of the D-500, the D-550-1 was intended primarily for NASCAR
competition. The D-550-1 had an even stiffer suspension than the D-500. Under the
hood, the engine received larger valves (about 18% larger), a full-race cam shaft,
and a double log intake manifold that used two four barrel Carter WCFB carbs. This
all added up to 285 bhp.
Engines: D-500: 315 Hemi V8 260 bhp @ 4800 rpm, 330 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm. D-550-1:
315 Hemi V8 285 bhp.
Performance: 315/260: 0-60 in 8.8 seconds.
1957 Dodge Coronet
Comments: 1957 saw the debut of the new D-501, which replaced the D-500 from the
year before as the top Coronet. The D-501 received Chrysler's proven 354 cid
Hemi V8, which were actually left over engines from the 1956 Chrysler 300B
production. Camshafts from the 1957 Chrysler 392 cid engines were installed in
the 354 V8s for added kick. Topped with a pair of Carter four barrel carbs and
sporting a 10.0:1 compression ratio, the new engine put out 340 bhp. Other
changes included the addition of the Torsion-Aire Ride (torsion bar) front
suspension and a heavy duty suspension with heavy duty shock absorbers and a heavy
duty leaf sprung rear. A 3.73:1 rear axle was standard with the three-speed
manual transmission, but automatic cars received a 3.18:1 rear axle. There were
13 optional rear axles available, ranging from 2.92:1 through 6.17:1. The D-501
received 7.60x15 tires wrapped around 15x8 inch wheels. Brakes were impressive
12 inch diameter drums. Only 101 D-501s were produced.
Production: D-501: 101.
Engines: D-501: 354 Hemi V8 340 bhp @ 5200 rpm.