1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer - Reader Ride

By: Bob Bond with Guy Allen, Photography by: Guy Allen, Angelo Loupetis

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dodge custom royal lancer side Bob’s stunning ‘59 four-door graced the cover of Unique Cars issue #301 dodge custom royal lancer side

With a trophy-winning four-door in the garage, Bob Bond could not resist the temptation of purchasing the two-door version

I have this and the four-door pillarless version. Why? When you get as old as I am, you’ve got no common sense any more. And you haven’t got much time left in the world, so you think I might as well have it, because I probably won’t in the next life!

I like the cars and you’re not going to buy one here. And I believe if you can afford to get one, do it, because you’re not going to lose on it. The engine is a 361ci (5.9lt) V8 running a two-barrel carburettor. This one was built in Canada and you had the option of a two or four-barrel.

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That’s matched to a three-speed Torqueflite, the bulletproof type!

Brakes are power-assisted drums, and it has power steering.

There are a few refinements inside, like the six-way electric seats. They have the swivelling option, which is pretty amazing when you consider what we got here back in 1959. I don’t think we got those things here – you probably had to be Prime Minister just to get a heater. And a radio too? Who do you think you are, the Queen?

| Read next: Dodge Custom Royal review

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Speaking of sound systems, this one has a 14-track 45 record player under the dash. It and the radio work in tandem, off the same set of controls. I’ve got the player away getting repaired at the moment.

| 2020 Market Review: Dodge (1921-1972)

It’s also got the autronic eye on the dash, which was a bit of trend at the time. It picked up oncoming headlights and automatically dipped your beams.

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I haven’t had to do anything to it, other than the record player. It was restored over in Canada and then went to the St Louis Car Museum (Missouri, USA).

This one hasn’t been driven much since I got it. However I’ve driven the four-door (which featured on the cover of Unique Cars #301) quite a lot and it’s like a brand new car.

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They are a dream to drive, smooth, and with good acceleration. You can put your foot down at 55-60mph and in no time at all you’re doing 90.

Perhaps it’s typical of the day, but the two-door isn’t just a cut-down version of the four-door. They’re the same wheelbase, with a different roofline.

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Swivel seats were a Mopar only option in the late 50s

They put a lot of effort into making the two cars quite different, with a host of changes to trim. There is a lot more chrome on the Custom Royals, with wider strips along the roofline mouldings, the main trim from front to back is wider, even the emblems are larger. They had a lot more bling.

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Autronic eye, a rare accessory on a Mopar

You don’t often see them over here. This is the first one I’ve seen since I started collecting and I never had a chance to buy one before. Being the colour to match my four-door really sealed the deal.

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From Unique Cars #454, June 2021

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