The Coronet was a full-size car from Dodge in the 1950s, initially the division's highest trim line but, starting in 1955, the lowest trim line. In the 1960s, the name was transferred to Dodge's mid-size entry.
First generation (1949–1952)
The Dodge Coronet was introduced with the division's first postwar body styles. Lower trim lines were the Wayfarer and Meadowbrook. The only engine for Dodge was a 230-cubic-inch (3,800 cc) flat-head straight six cylinder engine with a single barrel Stromberg carburetor, producing 103 horsepower (77 kW) (gross). The stock Dodge Coronet was a smooth running car, and the six-cylinder engine could power the car to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h)+ . A limited production model was a four-door, eight passenger limousine, an extended version of the stock Dodge Coronet. One of the most notable features of the first-generation Coronet was a three-speed, fluid-driven transmission that was operated by a foot pedal on the floor. It required no shifter.
Dodge received a facelift for 1950 but like the 1949 models were still divided into Wayfarer, Meadowbrook and Coronet lines. The 1950 models can be identified easily by the new grille design which featured 3 heavy horizontal bars. The upper and lower bars formed a stylish oblong shape. Within this oblong grille was a thick center bar with parking lights on each end and a large chrome plaque in the center bearing the Dodge crest.
1951 Dodge Coronet coupeDodge received yet another facelift in 1951 but this time the cars remained virtually unchanged for two model years. Busy manufacturing military vehicles for use in Korea, they chose not to dedicate valuable resources to completely redesign civilian vehicles. Still divided into Wayfarer, Meadowbrook and Coronet lines through 1952, by 1953 the Wayfarer line had been discontinued. The grille of the 1951-52 model was similar in shape to the 1950 grille, but with the elimination of the thick vertical center bar and the addition of six vents running horizontally between the top and center bars, a whole new look was achieved.
Second generation (1953–1954)
For 1953, the Coronet was totally redesigned. It gained an optional 241 cu in (3.9 L) "Red Ram" Hemi Engine and set over 100 land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The Dodge Royal line was added above the Coronet in 1954. Dodge was putting more luxury into all of its models which included the Meadowbrook, Coronet and new Royal lines. Still, styling changes for 1954 were modest. The chrome molding on the hood lip was wider than on the 1953 models and a large chrome upright in the center of the grille replaced the five vertical dividers used previously.
Third generation (1955–1956)
The 1955 Coronet dropped to the lower end of the Dodge vehicle lineup, with the Wayfarer and Meadowbrook names no longer used and the Dodge Custom Royal added above the Dodge Royal. Power came from either a 230 cu in (3.8 L) Chrysler Flathead engine straight-6, now producing 123 hp (92 kW) thanks to carburetion and other changes, or a 270 cu in (4.4 L) V8 with dual rocker arms (the "Hemi"). A number of trim lines were available:
- 2- or 4-door station wagon — The Coronet wagon used the Suburban name and had the V8 or Six.
- hardtop coupé — The V8 Coronet Lancer
- 2- or 4-door sedan — V8 or Six
- 2-door sedan — V8 or Six
- 4-door, eight-passenger limousine
1956 was the last year of this body style before the change in 1957, the only differences offered in 1956 from '55 were trim packages and the new D-500. The D-500 was the first Dodge factory high performance "Super Stock" model with the only external clues being discreet, crossed checkered flags and "500" lettering on its hood and lower rear deck. The D-500 (named for the NASCAR requirement that 500 identical models must be produced in order to be raced) was also available on any Dodge, including station wagons and two-door sedans. The standard D-500 model included a 315 cid V8 with hemispherical heads (unlike other Dodge V8s which used polyspherical heads), a unique camshaft, valve lifters, pushrods, carburetor, ignition, and pistons. With a compression ratio of 9.25:1, four-barrel Carter WCFB carburetor, and dual-point distribution, peak horsepower was 260 bhp (190 kW) while torque was a solid 330 ft·lbf (450 N·m). The D-500 also received an upgraded suspension with very stiff front coil springs; heavy duty Oriflow shock absorbers, with the same valving specified for Dodge police cars, were mounted in the springs. Similar units were used in the rear. Overall height of the D-500 was 1.5 inches (38 mm) lower than its standard Dodge counterpart. The D-500 came standard with 15x5.5 inch wheels with 7.60x15 inch tubeless tires. An even hotter version of the D-500, the D-500-1 was intended primarily for NASCAR competition. The D-500-1 had an even stiffer suspension than the D-500. Under the hood, the engine received larger valves (about 18% larger), a full-race camshaft, and a double log intake manifold that used two four-barrel Carter WCFB carburetors. This all added up to 285 bhp (213 kW). It was the fastest car that year from the factory.
Fourth generation (1957-1959)
1957 saw the debut of the new D-501, which replaced the D-500 from the year before as the top Coronet. The D-501 received Chrysler's proven 354 cid Hemi V8, which were actually left over engines from the 1956 Chrysler 300B production. Camshafts from the 1957 Chrysler 392 cid engines were installed in the 354 V8s for added kick. Topped with a pair of Carter four barrel carbs and sporting a 10.0:1 compression ratio, the new engine put out 340 bhp (250 kW). Other changes included the addition of the Torsion-Aire Ride (torsion bar) front suspension and a heavy duty suspension with heavy duty shock absorbers and a heavy duty leaf sprung rear. A 3.73:1 rear axle was standard with the three-speed manual transmission, but automatic cars received a 3.18:1 rear axle. There were 13 optional rear axles available, ranging from 2.92:1 through 6.17:1. The D-501 received 7.60x15 tires wrapped around 15x8 inch wheels. Brakes were impressive 12-inch (300 mm) diameter drums. Only 101 D-501s were produced. The 1958 and 1959 Coronet, Royal, and Custom Royal used a DeSoto chassis but had less ornate trim. Power came from the 230 cu in (3.8 L) "Getaway" L-head straight-6 or the 325 cu in (5.3 L) "Red Ram" V8. In 1959 a Silver Challenger model was also offered on the Coronet line. This was a six-cylinder or V-8 model available only in silver paint and only on a two-door body. It came with many extra features at no cost, such as wall-to-wall deep pile carpeting, premium white wall tires and wheel covers, luxury fabrics and upgraded interior and electric windshield wipers.
Fifth generation (1965–1970)
After a brief absence, the Coronet name was attached to the former full-size models in 1965 to become Dodge's intermediate-sized car. The 1965 models were basically refreshed Dodge Polaras in the same B-body style offered in 1963 and 1964, riding on a 117 wheelbase. For 1965, Dodge sold slightly over 209,000 units, making the Coronet the most popular model sold by Dodge that year. Trim levels initially were base Coronet including a Deluxe version, Coronet 440 and Coronet 500. The base Coronet and Deluxe were available as two-door sedans, four-door sedans and station wagons. For 1965 only, Dodge also sold only 101 units of a modified wheelbase version of the base Coronet two-door sedan and 440 hardtop used for NHRA drag racing. The model known as A990 came with a racing version of the 426 Hemi engine. The car A990 was stripped of all features and included base bucket seats from Dodge's truck-van line of vehicles. The altered wheelbase eventually became commonly known as Funny Cars because of their stretched front clips. The middle of the Coronet line-up was the 440 and was available as a two-door hardtop, convertible or station wagon. The 440 designation did not indicate engine displacement as commonly assumed. The nomenclature was a carryover theme from the 1963–64 Polara series. The top of the Coronet line-up was the Coronet 500 and was only available as a two-door hardtop or convertible in 1965. Slightly over 33,300 units were sold in 1965 and included as standard, a V8 engine (273 cubic inches), exterior trim and badging, bucket seats, padded dash and chrome floor console. Coronets were manufactured at Chrysler's Los Angeles assembly plant and at Lynch Road assembly plant in Detroit. Engines offered for 1965 included the base 225 Slant-Six, 273, 318 (Polyhead), 361 (the last year for this big block engine was 1966), 383 and 426 in multiple HP choices. Sales brochures list the 413 (its last year offered) as available, but no records exist of this engine commonly used in Imperials, being installed in Coronets for 1965.
There would be no Coronet 500 wagon until 1968. Coronet received a redesign in 1966, and a facelift in 1967. Trim levels initially were base Coronet, Coronet 440 and Coronet 500. In 1966, the Coronet Deluxe was introduced, fitting between the base Coronet and the Coronet 440. The Coronet R/T was introduced in 1967. The Coronet R/T was available as a two-door hardtop or convertible.
When the 426ci Hemi was made available to the general public for the 1965 model year, it could be ordered in any Coronet model or trim level. No Hemi-powered Coronet wagons have been verified, but a few Coronet Deluxe four-door sedans are known to exist. A total of just 136 Coronet 500 Street Hemis were built for 1966. Beginning in 1967, Chrysler decided that the Hemi should only be available in their badged muscle cars: the Dodge Charger and Coronet R/T and the Plymouth Belvedere GTX. The top engine option for the rest of the Coronet line was supposed to be the 383 ci 4 bbl V8. Despite this, some Hemi-powered 1967 Coronet Deluxe two-door sedans were produced. There is also one Hemi-powered 1967 Coronet 440 two-door hardtop known, which is not among the 55 WO23 Super Stock cars produced for Dodge drag racers.
1968–1970The Coronet and similar Plymouth Belvedere received complete redesigns in 1968, as did the Dodge Charger, which shared the B-body platform. There was a mild facelift in 1970. Trim levels initially included the base Coronet, Coronet Deluxe, Coronet 440, Coronet 500 and Coronet R/T. The Coronet Super Bee was introduced in early 1968 as a companion to the Plymouth Road Runner. In keeping with Dodge's position as a step above Plymouth, the Super Bee shared the Charger's Rallye instrument cluster and the Coronet 440's rear finish panel.
As in 1967, the 440ci RB V8 was only available in the Coronet R/T in 1968. The 426ci Hemi V8 was supposed to be limited to the R/T and Super Bee, but two 1968 Coronet 440s are known to have been built with this engine.
In mid-1969, the A12 package was introduced on the Super Bee. It included a 390 hp (291 kW) version of the 440 with three 2bbl Holley carburetors on an aluminum intake manifold, a black fiberglass lift-off hood secured with metal pins, heavy-duty suspension and 15" steel wheels with no hubcaps or wheel covers. The hood had an integrated forward-facing scoop which sealed to the air cleaner assembly and bore a decal on each side with the words "SIX PACK" in red letters, "Six Pack" being the name used for the 6-bbl induction setup when installed on a Dodge (Plymouth went with "440 6bbl" on the A12 Road Runners). The A12 Super Bee could be had with most Super Bee options, with the exception of air conditioning and tire-wheel packages. The A12 option was a 1969-only package, but the 440 6bbl returned in 1970 as an optional engine on both the Super Bee and the Coronet R/T.
The base Coronet and Deluxe were available as 2-door coupes, 4-door sedans or station wagons. The base Coronet was dropped in 1969, leaving the Deluxe as the lowest trim level through 1970.
The Coronet 440 convertible was dropped for 1968, but a 2-door coupe was added along with the 2-door hardtop, 4-door sedan and station wagon. This would remain the lineup through 1970.
Coronet 500 retained its 2-door hardtop, convertible and 4-door sedan through 1970. A Coronet 500 station wagon made its debut in 1968, continuing through 1970.The Coronet R/T 2-door hardtop and convertible continued through 1970.
The Super Bee was only available as a 2-door coupe or 2-door hardtop. Chrysler did display a convertible with Super Bee stripes at car shows in 1968, but never offered it as a production model. Some enthusiasts have created "phantom" Super Bee convertibles by adding the appropriate trim and stripes to Coronet 500 convertibles. 1969 Dodge Coronet Super BeeThe Dodge Super Bee was a limited production muscle car from Dodge division produced from 1968-1971. The original Super Bee was based on the Dodge Coronet, a 2-door model only and was produce from 1968-1970. It was Dodge’s low-priced muscle car, the equivalent to Plymouth Road Runner, and was priced at $3,027. Available with Hemi engine, this option increased by 33%, only 125 models were sold with this engine option. The Super Bee included a heavy-duty suspension, an optional Mopar A-833 four-speed manual transmission, with high performance tires, and a stripe (with the bee logo) wrapped around the tail. The name "Super Bee" was derived from the "B" Body designation given Chrysler's midsized cars which included the Coronet. 1970 Dodge Coronet Super BeeA “six-pack” (three two-barrel carburetors) version of the 440 engine was added to the list mid-year. This engine was between the standard engine and the Hemi as a $463 option. The 1969 model year gave customers several engines to choose from, the base 383 hp (high performance), 440 six pack, and the 426 Hemi V8. The 440 Magnum (4bbl) was not available as an option, it was reserved for the Coronet R/T.
In 1970, the Super Bee was given a different front end look that consisted of a dual ovaled grill that was referred to as “bumble bee wings”, this new look turned off many buyers. Despite the new looks, the engines, as well as the “ramcharger” hood (that carried over from 1969 model), sales plummeted for the 1970 model. In 1970, Dodge also produced four Super Bee convertibles; the whereabouts of the four cars are unknown.
Sixth generation (1971–1974)
The new Coronet was a twin of the four-door Plymouth Satellite and featured more flowing styling. It was offered only as a sedan and station wagon, the related and also restyled Dodge Charger covering the coupe market. Slight alterations of the front grille, headlights, and taillights followed in 1972. Sales of the Coronet were fairly low from this point onwards, with around 80-90,000 produced each year through 1973 (compared with 196,242 as recently as 1968), due both to the fuel crisis and to a proliferation of Dodge and Plymouth models, and the growing effect of overlap with the other Chrysler Corporation brands.
In addition to the usual changes in grille, lights, and interior, Dodge introduced its "TorsionQuiet" system of additional silencers and rubber vibration insulators, providing a much smoother ride and a quieter interior.
The front and rear fascias were redesigned, most notably the rear bumper, which met the 1974 DOT requirements. The sedan bodystyle would be the basis of the later Coronets (and its twin, the Plymouth Fury) until the 1978 model year.
In 1975, the cars received a freshening, with the body appearing squarer, and the Coronet coupe returned for a single year (and would share much in common with the 2-door Charger Sport that would appear the following year). The front fascia was redesigned with two round headlights, which was shared with its Plymouth Fury twin.
1976 was the final year for the name; for the 1977 model year, Coronets were renamed Monaco — until then, the next Dodge up, on a larger body — and given stacked square headlights and other minor changes, which provided an immediate sales boost. The Royal Monaco model remained on the larger, former Monaco body.