The 1959 Dodge Custom Royal pictured here is a rare bird. For one thing, it's one of only 984 fliptop Custom Royals built for 1959 (base-priced at $3422). For another, it has that year's new Super D-500 option, a 383-cubic-inch V-8 with twin four-barrel carburetors and a blistering 345 horsepower. The point? The Super D-500 was available on any Dodge but wasn't often ordered, so how many other top-line ragtops could have had it too?

1959 dodge custom royal
This 1959 Dodge Custom Royal boasts the rare Super D-500 V-8 engine option.
See more pictures of classic convertibles.

That 383 was a new size for Dodge as well as '59 Chryslers and DeSotos, the first of what would be a long line. But you didn't need the Super D-500 to enjoy a Custom Royal ragtop, as its standard engine was a Super Ram Fire 361 with a healthy 305 bhp. In between was a single four-barrel 383 D-500 option with 320 bhp.

1959 dodge custom royal
The 1959 Dodge Custom Royal had swivel front seats, a popular
but short-lived feature.

All these engines were efficient "wedgeheads" that worked best with responsive TorqueFlite automatic transmission. Rivaling its trademark pushbutton controls for futuristic gimmickry was another new '59 feature: swivel front seats. Our featured Custom Royal has these too, though other Chrysler makes also offered them. The idea was to ease entry/exit in ever-lower cars. This option was fairly popular, but it didn't last beyond 1960.

For more classic convertibles of the 1950s, see:

1950 Oldsmobile 88

1955 Cadillac Series 62

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

1951 Chrysler New Yorker

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Lincoln Premiere

1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

1955 Mercury Montclair

1957 Oldsmobile Super 88

1951 Rambler Custom Landau

1956 Ford Thunderbird

1958 Continental Mark III

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta

1956 Lincoln Premiere

1958 Edsel Citation

1954 Hudson Hornet Brougham

1956 Packard Caribbean

1959 Cadillac Series 62

1954 Packard Caribbean

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1959 Ford Thunderbird

1955 Buick Century

1957 Chrysler New Yorker

1959 Pontiac Bonneville

For more information on all kinds of cars, try these: