Dodge lost its stodgy image once and for all with the daring "swept wing" styling of the 1957 Dodge Coronet Texan and other 1957 models. Dodge's 1957 cars were lower and fins were higher. The windshields wrapped well into the front doors. There was so much glass that one wondered what supported the roof. Instead of a conventional grille, there were horizontal chrome strips and a huge bumper.
The only place where Dodge played it safe was with the headlights. Three states hadn't approved quad headlights for 1957, so large parking lights were mounted inboard of the headlights to suggest the quad-headlight look, while remaining legal in every state. The dual taillights at the rear presented no such regulatory worries.
While everyone was taken with Chrysler styling director Virgil Exner's "Forward Look," there was also a major technical innovation. Torsion-bar front suspension would be a Chrysler Corporation trademark long after tailfins were gone. Chrysler claimed torsion bars gave a better ride than conventional coil springs, yet the 1957s also handled better than any previous Dodge and better than the competition.
To provide the power were a six and five V-8s, ranging from 138 to 340 horsepower. The most powerful were the hemi-head D-500 V-8s. These were identified with a subtle "D-500" badge on the trunklid.
Our Photo Feature car has the Super D-500 engine. With dual four-barrel carbs and 325 cubic inches, it puts out 310 horsepower. This car is a rare Texan model. Available through Dodge dealers in the Lone Star State, Texans were based on the custom-trimmed Coronet sedan, hardtop sedan, hardtop coupe, and two-door club sedan. Nineteen fifty-seven was the second year for the Texan. In 1958, a convertible was added.
The custom interior was a bit more luxurious than that of base Coronets. A special Texan badge was added to the glovebox door, tailfins, and trunklid -- where, on this car, it replaced the D-500 tag.