The 1956 Dodge lineup bowed -- without the Dodge La Femme -- on Friday October 7, 1955, sporting dash-mounted pushbutton transmission controls; Dodge advertised them as "The Magic Touch of Tomorrow."
Also featured were increased power, 12-volt electrical system, reshuffled chrome trim, and a face-lift that centered on "high-sweep" fins sprouting from the rear fenders. The model lineup was strengthened with the addition of three four-door Lancer hard-tops, but the 1956 Dodge La Femme option was not listed.
Nonetheless, a news release dated October 4, 1955, indicated Dodge's intentions: "The enthusiastic reception of the 1955 Dodge La Femme by women motorists everywhere has led to a successor model for 1956. This glamorous Custom Royal Lancer, soon to be named, will be specially appointed with colors, interiors, and accessories styled for the woman of today."
The public's first glimpse of the 1956 La Femme came on January 27, 1956, at a special car show -- "The Forward Look 1956" -- at the Chrysler Building. There, the crowds could come in from the cold to feast their eyes upon the most stylish collection of production cars ever shown by Chrysler Corporation, among them the Plymouth Fury, DeSoto PaceSetter (Adventurer) convertible, Chrysler 300B, and -- of course -- the La Femme. They could also glimpse into the future via a station wagon show car, the Plainsman.
Although Dodge apparently toyed with the idea of renaming the La Femme, the final decision fell in La Femme's favor. In preparation for the 1956 model, Dodge Division sent out the following letter to its dealers:
"TO ALL DODGE DEALERS:
"The success experienced by Dodge Dealers in merchandising the La Femme of last year and the splendid publicity benefits that it created has inspired a sparkling new crown jewel -- the distinctive and fashion-styled 1956 La Femme.
"Designed exclusively for Her Royal Highness -- the American Woman, this majestic beauty is rapidly approaching public announcement. Built around the Custom Royal Lancer two-door hardtop and finished in a queenly cloak of Regal and Misty Orchid, this newest member of the royal family will be available in production in early January.
"The jewel-toned interior styling is enhanced by skillful selection of beautiful fabrics. An undertone of golden threads lends depth to the Orchid Jacquard, which was specially developed for this model. Bolsters in gold cordahyde and an orchid head-lining flecked with gold dots add an extra touch of regal elegance.
"Convenient pockets are provided on the front seat backs and contain a set of lovely rainwear created especially for Milady. This consists of raincoat and hat made of fine quality nylon in color matching the interior of the car and flecked with gold to richly enhance its chic appearance. A folding umbrella is also provided and is covered with the matching nylon material.
"Designed in fine taste to please the most discriminating buyer, it follows that the La Femme models sold in your area will attract favorable attention towards your dealership as well as to Dodge products.
"We ask that you place your orders now for the units you will require and start a program in your sales area to select the prospects to whom it would be most desirable to sell a car of this type."
Vice-President in charge of Sales
For more on the 1956 La Femme's styling, continue to the next page.
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