The 57 Dodge Coronet is the kind of muscular Yank saloon that looks right at home prowling around the local drive-in cinema or perhaps strutting in a shot from Grease. It began its life as the top-of-the-line model in the Dodge lineup and shifted up and down through the years, but one thing was constant, it always threw down some serious power.
In 1957, Chrysler’s styling director Virgil Exner gave the 57 Dodge Coronet family a dramatic facelift with the new ‘swept wing’ look. The fenders were lower, the fins were higher and the windshield wrapped well into the front doors. Dodge’s new cars were also more powerful thanks to a variety of engine options from an inline six that delivered just 138 horsepower up through several 325ci HEMI V8s that topped out at 340 horses.
This Coronet Lancer two-door is offered by its original owner, who rescued it from a farm field and had it stored for decades before repainting it with the current color scheme. It’s a handsome car, although it could benefit from a bit more work on the body to smooth out the few remaining rough spots.
A fender-mounted pushbutton 3-speed automatic transmission shifts the rear wheels through a limited slip differential. The seller claims that this is one of just 399 1957 Dodges to be equipped with a special Super D-500-1 performance-tuned drivetrain. The numbers-matching rebuilt 325ci 5.2-liter HEMI V8 produces 310 horsepower and uses factory dual quad carburetors.
The car rides on a set of custom steel wheels and carries a clean California title in the seller’s name. Its rust-free body is finished in an attractive two-tone turquoise and white that was refreshed by the previous owner. He also added a pair of uninstalled wheel skirts to help add some extra flair to this fourth-generation Dodge.
When the 57 Dodge was new, it was one of the first American models to employ the use of torsion bar front suspensions. It was a big innovation that improved ride quality while making the car handle better than any previous Dodge or rival. Under the skin, the car’s most striking features were its front grille and rear fins, which have since become iconic design elements that everyone recognizes.
Total production for this fourth-generation Coronet was just over 281,000 units, and buyers had plenty of models to choose from including club sedans, lancer hardtop coupes, convertibles and two- and four-door station wagons. Today, a non restored Coronet can be bought for less than $2,000 and a fully restored example with the desirable features can easily cost a few thousand more. That makes this car an excellent value for someone willing to put in a little time and effort to restore it.