Wednesday, May 18, 2011

1957 Dodge Coronet 4-Door Sedan

"Your eyes immediately tell you that this new Swept-Wing Dodge is a thing of real beauty: Daring in concept, low in silhouette, sleek and rakish of line! And it's completely new from road to roof! It begins on a bold note of excitement with a crisp, clean Mono-Grille that's smartly massive. Then, hooded, Twin-Set Driving and Parking Lights – in distinctive side-by-side 'foreign car' arrangement. A flat, taut hood that eloquently suggests the blazing power beneath it. A shimmering expanse of glass capped with a slim roofline. The graceful, classic lines sweep back, back, then flair up with a dramatic flourish of soaring swept-wings. It ends with the sculptured beauty of jewel-like twin-jet taillights. You sense in its mood and manner: Here is swept-wing mastery of motion!"

Of all "Forward Look" cars for 1957, Dodge's styling was perhaps the most daring and flamboyant. Already the previous generation of Dodges had been anything but small, but their successors made them easily look "compact" and outdated, despite a virtually identical overall length (different by just 0,2 inches), and a just moderately stretched wheelbase which grew from 120 to 122 inches. Responsible for the impressive stance of these new "Swept-Wing" Dodges were the low-slung roofline and the extremely horizontal looks, sporting stretched tailfins that started at the rear doors and climaxed above the rocket-style "twin-jet taillights". The major technical advance was the move to "Torsion-Aire", a torsion-bar suspension, that allowed for a much lower silhouette and center of gravity, hence for superior handling. Together with a choice of even more powerful engines, the 1957 Dodges indeed were serious performers.

In 1957, almost 288.000 Dodges found new owners, 48.000 more than in the year before, which was good for a move up to the 7th place in the yearly production statistics. Already next year, though, the slightly facelifted lineup should sell just half as good, with merely 138.000 assembled cars. 1958 was a recession year that hit all car manufacturers, but Dodge fared exceptionally bad: as good as the cars were looking first hand, quality problems and early corrosion let many customers stay away from these "Forward Look" Mopars.

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