In 1956, Dodge won 11 NASCAR stock car races, set speed records at Bonneville and class records in drag racing with its Custom Royal Lancer D-500 model powered by a “Super Red Ram” V8 engine.
One of those cars, a 1956 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer D-500, is Pick of the Day, advertised for sale by its private owner in Prattville, Alabama. Lancer was Dodge’s name for its hardtop (no B-pillar) sedans.
The Red Ram was Dodge’s most powerful engine, a Hemi-headed 315cid V8 topped in D-500 guise by dual Carter 4-barrel carburetors “with progressive linkage, Offenhauser intake manifold, dual Red Ram air cleaners,” the seller reports in the car’s advertisement on ClassicCars.com. The engine was factory rated at 295 horsepower.
“We know that at least 500 D-500s were produced as homologation cars for NASCAR,” the seller reports. “How many actually still exist is not known.
“You can think of the D-500 as the forerunner to the Dodge Daytona or Plymouth Superbird. The D-500 denotes the most powerful engine from Dodge for 1956. Just like the 426 Hemi was the most powerful engine from Dodge in the 60s.”
“The Dodge D-500 was developed under Chrysler President W.C. Newberg by Carl Kiekhaefer of Kiekhaefer Racing. The styling was by Virgil Exner.”
The seller reports that the engine is original to the car and is linked to a 3-speed push-button Power Flite automatic transmission.
“The actual race car version is known as a D-500-1. My car is the street version, not unlike the Daytona or Superbird street cars,” the seller notes. “The D-500 is a muscle car from the time before the term was coined.”
The seller says the car “starts, run, drives and stops the way a car from the mid-50s should. Even though there is no power steering, this is one of the nicest steering cars I have driven.”
“The interior is all original according to the previous owner and looks excellent,” the seller adds.
“The car had a thorough body on restoration approximately 10 years ago… I am a driver/hobbyist not a collector… I’ve driven the car regularly and enjoy driving it.”
The seller believes the 33,000 miles showing on the odometer to be the correct mileage figure for the car, which was ordered with the “radio delete” option.