Dodge Regent: The Classic Frankenstein Child of Chrysler Canada
Canada is a whole different world when it comes to the automotive market, but not because it’s across a border or because Canadians have different tastes in vehicles. It’s because Canada, just like a variety of other market regions, get their own variations of American-made vehicles. Case in point, the Dodge Regent one of Hooniverse’s writers stumbled across in a Canadian parking lot. The model may not be something many Americans are familiar with, but after looking into it, we sure wouldn’t mind having one to mess around with.
After it was decided by the Chrysler Corporation that a low-budget Dodge needed to be available in Canada, although Plymouth had been filling that spot previously, the Dodge Regent was introduced in 1951.
Basically a Plymouth Cranbrook, the Regent replaced the Special DeLuxe nameplate and offered drivers the best of both worlds- a Plymouth body with a Dodge front end. A four-door sedan, club coupe and Mayfair hardtop were available under the Regent nametag, although the Mayfair became its own model in 1953.
Unlike American models at the time that used the 23-inch Chrysler 217.6cui six cylinder engine, the Regent made use of the 25-inch Chrysler 218.1cui inline-six engine like other Chrysler Canada models. Although the Regent saw quite a few design, trim and engine changes, the car maintained it’s Dodge/Plymouth mash-up.While Chrysler Canada imported polyhead V8s for their higher end models in 1955, the Regent, now a Plymouth Savoy with a Dodge front clip, maintained a six-cylinder engine until 1956 when a V8 became an option on the low-end model. New for 1956 was a two-door hardtop version of the Regent, but it was only available with a flathead six. It was that year that Canadian Dodge saw top sales, selling over 50,000 cars from their entire lineup of vehicles for the first time.
In 1957, the Regent was plagued with problems. While the car was redesigned again, the push to get the new model year out as soon as possible resulted in poor engineering and vehicles that were produced with mismatched parts. For 1958, a four-door hardtop was added to the Regent line but it didn’t last long as 1959 was the last year for the Regent model. By 1960, the Dodge Dart Seneca had replaced the Regent, making the model a thing of the past.
As a car made as a Frankenstein model to begin with and plagued with problems late in its life, we can’t imagine that there are too many Regents still alive and well. That’s why it’s so interesting that someone is still driving what Hooniverse labels as a ’56 two-door model around during the Canadian winter. Seeing this kind of makes us want one!
What do you think? Would you rock a Dodge Regent or is the model just too strange to bother?