When we deliberation astir nan aureate musculus car era, nan precocious ’60s and early ’70s travel to mind. Let’s look it – winged cars, nan Street Hemi, Six Packs, and Scat Packs made it overmuch much interesting. Still, nan fifties were a pivotal clip for nan Chrysler Corporation successful nan capacity department, and 1 automobile pinch a concealed Hemi limb stood gangly among nan rest. Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking astir nan 1956 Dodge Coronet D500.
To understand really this lesser-known capacity car that occasionally slips nan mind took complete nan musculus car segment and nan world of NASCAR, we person to return a locomotion down representation lane and admit Virgil Exner’s futuristic stylistic vision.
It’s a True American Muscle Car
Hollywood paints nan cleanable American communicative of building a imagination retired of nothing, beating nan adversary, and yet taking nan crown. The 1959 Coronet D500 musculus car had a akin story. It was nan first of its kind, and for history’s liking – it was nan first due Dodge musculus car. And that didn’t extremity it from taking complete nan world of NASCAR contempt being a newbie.
Developed Under Chrysler President William C. Newberg
Carl Kiekhaefer developed nan 1956 Dodge Coronet D500 nether President William C Newberg’s tenure. The D500’s styling was nan visionary activity of Virgil Exner. It is rumored that Kiekhaefer Racing, which was tally by Carl Kiekhaefer, had a reliable clip pinch nan mill and nan past Chrysler President Newberg.
Still, successful January 1956, nan upgraded type of nan D500, nan D-500-1, was announced, and together pinch Dodge, Kiekhaefer put together unsocial pieces for nan purposes of its homologation.
One of nan First Cars To Use nan Mass-Produced 1st Gen Hemi
It’s difficult to contradict nan effect nan Hemi has had successful nan world of automotive performance. It’s almost synonymous pinch nan ‘American V8 motor of each time.’
Well, what you mightiness not cognize is that nan glory achieved by Mopar musculus cars of nan precocious 60s and early 70s tin beryllium attributed to lesser-known Dodge cars, including nan Coronet D-500, which was 1 of nan first cars pinch nan mass-produced 1st procreation Hemi.
Broke Records Even Before nan Challenger Was a Thing
They opportunity nan 3rd time’s nan charm. Still, nan mysteriously developed 1956 Coronet D-500 proved different for Hemi Performance, breaking velocity records during an era erstwhile Hemi engines were conscionable entering nan automotive market.
In hindsight, it says a batch astir Dodge’s ingenuity arsenic a musculus car shaper agelong earlier nan Challenger was a thing.
High-Performance Version of nan Base Model
The title versions of nan D-500 that adorned nan iconic ‘checkered flags’ utilized nan baseline Dodge Coronet arsenic nan ground of nan Mopar performance.
Unlike different Chrysler offerings specified arsenic nan DeSoto, Plymouth Fury, aliases nan 300D, nan 1956 Dodge Coronet D-500 was physically indistinguishable from nan baseline exemplary connected which it was based. The only discreet outer features were nan checkered emblem and “500” lettering.
500 Were Produced As Homologation Cars
To beryllium certified roadworthy and safe for nationalist usage (and suffice for NASCAR), nan Dodge section had to connection nan nationalist astatine slightest 500 high-performance Dodge Coronets astatine par pinch NASCAR’s homologation requirements.
As a result, nan D-500 type was besides disposable connected immoderate Dodge model, including two-door sedans and nan Station Wagon variant.
The ‘Flags of Distinction’ Were a Dead Giveaway
The 1956 Dodge Coronet came pinch nan iconic “flags of distinction.” It was nan only point that separated nan D-500 from different Dodge musculus cars. The checkered flags were placed astatine nan beforehand and rear of nan vehicle, and a “500” lettering connected its little deck.
Much for illustration it is coming to show nan quality betwixt a guidelines exemplary car and a capacity version – nan ‘flags of distinction’ connected nan D-500 indicated it was a performance-bred line.
The ’56 D-500 Was a Mild Face-Lift
While nan 1956 Dodge Coronet D-500 was visually indistinguishable from different Dodge models, location was a mild facelift. At nan back, nan ‘56 D-500 Coronet came pinch higher, finned rear fenders (applicable connected each models).
Also, connected nan interior, nan power of Chrysler’s optional PowerFlite automatic transmission changed to see nan revolutionary and what would later go ‘the infamous pushbutton.’
‘56 Dodge Coronet D-500-1 Made 285 Gross HP
The 1956 Dodge Coronet D-500 packed a 315 Hemi V8 tin of making 260 hp and 330 lb-ft torque astatine 3,000 RPM. The D-500-1, specifically developed for NASCAR competitions, utilized nan aforesaid motor but pinch larger valves, a double log intake manifold (with 2 four-barrel Carter WCFB carburetors), afloat title camshaft, and a stiffer suspension. Together, these mods produced 285 hp.
D-500 NASCAR Performance Was Bone Stock
In nan 50s, NASCAR required each title banal cars to beryllium existent banal cars – meaning mods were not allowed. Well, nan inspections so confirmed that nan D-500 Dodge Coronet was stock.
And acknowledgment to Kiekhaefer Racing and Dodge’s elaborate piecing, nan ‘56 D-500 was text-book stock, down to nan specifications (even featuring a spare and jack successful nan trunk).
‘56 D-500 Coronet Trims Varied
While nan 1956 D-500 was indistinguishable from different Dodge models, nan racing models of nan D-500 varied from nan guidelines exemplary Coronet to nan Custom Royal. The D-500 packed a heavier suspension cleanable for handling and precocious speeds.
There was besides a D-500-1 that was developed specifically for NASCAR racing (serial number stamped connected nan motor block) and came pinch an added 25 horsepower (285 hp) and tougher suspension from nan regular D-500.
Prototype For Dodge Muscle Cars?
Let’s look it. Only a fistful of cars person travel retired and smashed records – connected their first run. In 1956, nan D-500 Coronet was nan world’s fastest accumulation car. Think astir it. This was a randomly selected 4-door sedan that smashed velocity records astatine Bonneville, Utah, connected its first run.
Looking astatine nan specs, nan 1956 Dodge Coronet D-500 was developed ground-up for performance. It is believed nan D-500 was nan prototype for Dodge Muscle cars that followed.
The Dodge D-500 Was a True Symbol of nan American Spirit
They opportunity that nan existent American tone is an cognition of self-determination and individual liberty. The communicative of nan ’56 D-500 couldn’t beryllium further than that. The engineers, designers, and developers put each their efforts into an upgraded random four-door guidelines exemplary vehicle, and nan consequence paid disconnected nan first clip around.
None of these would person been imaginable if nan squad lacked determination – aliases liberty. If you’ve had a manus connected a task car, you understand that 9 retired of 10 times, thing useful connected nan first try.
Push Button Capabilities
A batch has happened to nan automotive world since nan first Dodge Coronet D-500 rolled retired of nan assembly line. Today, car owners marvel astatine nan convenience and easiness of driving pinch precocious automated transmissions.
In nan adjacent decade, almost each vehicles will person push buttons aliases rotary knobs for cogwheel shifting. Well, what you mightiness not cognize is it each started pinch Dodge pinch nan ‘Dodge Magic Touch Control’ that was introduced connected 1956 Dodges, including nan D-500.
The First of Many
The D-500 Coronet was so a typical car and nan first of many. For starters, it was 1 of nan first Dodge models to tally nan 1st procreation Hemi.
Chrysler claimed it was nan world’s fastest accumulation car successful 1956, and NASCAR championships proved that bold connection right. The D-500 went up to break 306 velocity and endurance records astatine Bonneville Raceway, Utah, that year.
Won 11 Races successful 1956
They opportunity there’s much to life than expanding speed, but for Dodge, 1956 was a twelvemonth to group velocity benchmarks. Breaking 306 velocity and endurance records was conscionable nan beginning; nan Dodge D-500 Coronet bagged 11 races that season, stamping its authority arsenic nan world’s fastest accumulation car. Behind nan D-500’s occurrence that twelvemonth was Chrysler’s eventual concealed limb – nan Hemi powerplant.
To understand really nan D-500 came to be, you request to spell backmost successful clip to post-war America. Initially, Chrysler was researching and processing engines for nan subject during World War II.
These engines were designated for nan P-47 Republic Thunderbolt Fighter level and nan M47 Patton Tank. After nan war, their Research and Development changed course, morphing into what we now cognize arsenic nan Hemi engines.
The D-500 action included a 315 cid V8
Under nan hood, nan 1956 Dodge Coronet D-500 packed a 315 cid V8 Hemi that, dissimilar different Dodge V8s astatine nan clip that had polyspherical heads, this peculiar mill came pinch 9.25:1 compression, hemispherical heads, a unsocial camshaft, pushrods, valve lifters, and WCFB Carter four-barrel carburetor.
The setup was bully for 260 hp and 330 lb-ft. To harness nan powerfulness was a three-speed manual aliases optional infamous Magic Touch pushbutton two-speed automatic.
D-500 Was a True Sleeper
The 50s Dodges look thing for illustration nan existent trim of Dodge musculus cars. They are much stylish and little mean. If anything, nan ‘56 D-500 is conscionable a higher-performance version of nan modular 1956 Dodge.
However, for what it mislaid connected nan exterior successful position of grim appearance, it gained underneath: Heavy-duty suspension, chassis upgrades, amended brakes, a Hemi mill, and a 4-barrel carburetor.
Still Worth a Pretty Penny
The collector car scene is blowing up, and conscionable for illustration creation pieces are trading for millions of dollars, classical cars are presently fetching a fortune.
The D-500 wouldn’t fetch thing for illustration nan Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut Coupe did, but pinch clip – who knows? Based connected caller auction stats, nan 1956 Dodge Coronet D-500 pinch ‘checkered flags’ costs thing betwixt $30,000 to $40,000.
The Revolutionary Highway Hi-Fi
Today, car infotainment systems person their ain lengthy pages connected brochures astatine nan dealership. It’s nary longer only astir ocular quality and motor capacity – but besides on-board entertainment.
In nan 50s, in-car tech wasn’t specified a large deal, and it is safe to opportunity that Chrysler had a manus successful what has turned retired to beryllium a $29 cardinal manufacture pinch nan Highway Hi-Fi. Forget nan AM/FM radio. Think representation sticks and CD players (but successful nan 50s). Chrysler and Columbia Record made a woody to supply an exclusive 1-hour Vinyl Disc (with restricted titles). It was a monumental flop.
Helped Shed Off Dodge’s Old Maid Image
For its era, nan D-500 was rather nan looker. Classic car aficionados still praise it for its sleek, higher-finned rear and iconic checkered flags connected nan trunk lid, not forgetting nan ‘500’ lettering.
The ‘55-’56 Dodge – which besides included nan Coronet helped shed Dodge’s old-maid image, forging a caller estimation successful nan American car marketplace arsenic a stylish car maker.
The ‘56 D-500 Was What America Needed Post-War
Despite nan effects of WWII, Americans looked astatine nan early pinch optimism. The business called for it, and nan post-war years will spell down arsenic immoderate of nan astir able years successful nan United States.
Education, Real Estate, and nan system boomed – and location was arguably nary amended clip successful American history to ain a location and bargain a car (live nan American dream). The 1956 D-500’s occurrence arsenic a capacity car successful NASCAR and its introduction into nan American musculus car segment is portion of that progressive glory nan nine needed to forge ahead.
Greatest of an Era
It’s still chartless really galore 1956 Dodge Coronets D-500 are left. The D-500s are rather a uncommon breed connected nan roadworthy and moreover successful classical car shows. Still, it’s safe to deliberation of this classical capacity car arsenic nan forerunner to nan renowned Dodge Daytonas and nan Superbirds.
The D-500 had nan astir potent mill from Dodge successful 1956 – aforesaid arsenic nan 426 Hemi during nan 60s. The D-500 was Dodge’s eventual capacity car of nan ’50s.