1954 Dodge Royal - $15,900
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It’s just the right size to make a fun, easy-to-live-with hobby car.

Handsome frame-on restoration. Great-running 241 HEMI V8 with automatic transmission. Attractive, restored interior, gauges all work. Recent service including top-end engine rebuild. A great entry-level collectable with a great surprise under the hood.

The Royal was Dodge’s top-of-the-line and as such, enjoyed the benefits of corporate engineering—notably, the HEMI V8. Downsized for work in the Dodge, the small Hemi nevertheless transformed the Royal from ho-hum commuter to surprisingly quick street brawler almost overnight. Add in the handsome bodywork that was conservative but modern, and you got a pretty nice package for not a lot of cash. That remains true today where this 1954 Dodge Royal sedan offer a lot of style, comfort, and yes, performance, for a very reasonable price. Owned for decades by a well-known restoration shop owner, it has been properly maintained and freshened as needed along the way, including a repaint a few years ago in the original two-tone Willow Green over Berkshire Green combination. It’s definitely subtle but you have to admit that it’s perfect for a mid-50s cruiser. All four doors close with a solid sound that Chrysler had to make Chrysler proud and you can see the beginnings of tailfins sprouting atop the rear fenders, albeit in chrome instead of sheetmetal. In fact, all the stainless and chrome on this car is in pretty good condition, with the stainless having been polished when it was painted while much of the chrome is original. Big bumpers make the Royal look substantial, but it isn’t as big as it looks—it’s definitely a mid-sized car (for the 1950s, anyway). It’s just the right size to make a fun, easy-to-live-with hobby car.

The interior was freshened at some point, wearing reproduction seat covers in the original pattern. Wide bench seats are comfortable enough for the whole family and there’s a durable rubber floor mat up front with carpets in back. The simple dashboard houses a full array of gauges, and they all appear to be working properly. Secondary controls are just underneath, with sliders to control the heater and defroster (also fully operational). The factory AM radio is still in the middle of the dash and it powers up but we haven’t been able to tune anything with it—that doesn’t mean it isn’t working, just that we can’t pick up any stations inside our building. The big steering wheel is color-matched to the interior and features an upscale-looking horn ring and the column-mounted shifter for the automatic transmission is easy to control. Of note, even the interior courtesy lights are working, suggesting that the owner was taking care of the details. Back seat space is commodious and you get a giant trunk outfitted with a rubber mat and a full-sized spare tire with jack.

Chrysler’s Hemi V8 was a pretty big deal when it hit the market and they wanted to use it in as many applications as possible to show off its capabilities. In the Dodge Royal, the “Red Ram” Hemi displaces 241 cubic inches, which doesn’t seem like much until you feel the torquey feel of the little V8 doing its thing. It’s also impeccably smooth, not the raucous race motor that it would become in the following decades. That giant air cleaner hides a 2-barrel carburetor on an intake manifold with long runners—that explains the nice torque curve. There’s a big radiator up front that keeps it cool and power steering is part of the package, making this Royal exceptionally easy to handle. The Power-Flyte automatic transmission is legendary for its rugged reliability, and even with two speeds it makes the most of the Hemi’s output—this is a pretty quick car for 1954. The independent front suspension is quite modern, including a recent set of tube shocks, while the rear hangs on familiar leaf springs. 3.54 gears are a nice compromise between acceleration and cruising, and thanks to those rather tall 215/75/15 blackwall radials, this is a really pleasant highway cruiser that’s happy at 65 MPH. The gas tank has been restored, the floors are solid, and the exhaust system sounds just about right—hushed but with a nice V8 burble at idle.

Extras include an original owner’s manual, sales brochures, shop manual, parts book, and some spare hubcaps.

It doesn’t grab you at first, but the more we looked at this Dodge Royal, the more we liked it. The condition is really nice, it has great road manners, and that Hemi V8 is just icing on the cake. Add in the affordable asking price and you get an awesome entry-level collectable that will make you smile every time you take it out. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1954 Dodge Royal
Price: $15,900
Stock Number: 120116
Odometer Reading: 54,252
VIN: 34700090
Engine: 241 cubic inch HEMI V8
Transmission: 2-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.54
Wheelbase: 119 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 215/75/15 blackwall radials
Exterior Color: Willow Green over Berkshire Green
Interior Color: Green cloth
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