NEO’s ‘Forward Look’ Dodge Lancer is Fin-tastic
I admit to having a soft spot in my car styling heart for the “Forward Look” Chrysler and Dodge models created by Virgil Exner in the late 1950s and early ‘60s.
These big-finned beauties featured dramatic taillights and oodles of chrome trim on their fronts, sides and backs. My Uncle Paul had a white 1959 Chrysler 300 that barely fit in his garage with fins taller than me.
So I’m a big fan of NEO’s 1:43 scale Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertible and its beautiful red and white paint scheme.
Dodge offered the Royal and Custom Royal from 1955-59 and the NEO model depicts the top-level Custom Royal in its heyday and final year, featuring dual jet exhaust taillights under each chrome-laden fin. The convertible featured a “Wedge” big-block V8 that used a wedge-shaped combustion chamber along with 383 cubic inches of displacement. The serious performance buyers snagged Dodge’s Super D-500 V8 overhead valve engine, a $415 option, with a massive 345 horsepower.
Royals and Custom Royals were available in hardtop, sedan, convertible and station wagon body styles and a base four-door listed at $2,934 in 1959. The premium Custom Royal convertible sold for $3,422 and 984 were sold that model year. Chrysler touted the use of front torsion bars and its mighty engines, plus push-button automatic transmissions. For 1959 there was an elliptical steering wheel and swivel front bucket seats too.
NEO delivers a stellar resin version of the Custom Royal convertible with gray and red bench seats and white accent trim on the car’s exterior lower body panels and top half of its pronounced fins.
Like the real deal, this NEO model is loaded with chrome from its finely detailed grille to trim over the headlight hoods that sweep down along the convertible’s sides and over the wheel wells into the accent strip that ultimately blends into the big rear bumper, also chrome, and including rocket-like bulges under the taillights. Dodges had two jet exhaust taillights on each side and chrome fin inserts above the lights. There’s even a chrome edging along the white tail fin separating it from the red side panel.
Here, as in the real convertible there’s “Custom Royal” in script on the chrome panel just behind the doors, and a. Lancer crest on the fuel door along with one on each front fender, before the wheel well.
Dodge is on the black nose nameplate with the Lancer’s knight logo incorporated in it, plus realistic looking dual headlight lenses under each fender’s light hood that swoops down to that nameplate.
In back are thin twin antenna atop the trunk, just beyond the lowered matte red convertible top. There are red and white Ohio license plates front and rear, plus twin exhaust pipes in back along with fine Dodge badging on the trunk face.
I like this car’s wrap-around windshield, which includes a black border that sets off the chrome surround, which includes vent windows on either side, and finely detailed chrome wipers rest on the windshield. The Dodge also features dual chrome rearview mirrors mounted in front of the windshield on the fenders.
Inside the doors are well sculpted to reflect the styling of the day with gray inserts above the door’s armrests. Two sun visors project from the windshield frame and that elliptical steering wheel is white top and bottom with black sides and a chrome horn ring. Dash detailing is modest, but includes chrome accents and a dash-mounted rearview mirror.
Like NEO’s finer 1:43 models, the Custom Royal Lancer goes for $74.95 and comes in a handsome acrylic display case with gray base with the car model’s name imprinted on it.
FAST Stats: 1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertible
Stock No.: 176619