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Dodge cars of 1946: Deluxe and Custom

Dodge dashboardThe 1946 Dodge line featured numerous improvements over prewar cars; the big news, though, was the new “All Fluid Drive,” essentially the addition of a torque converter to the manual transmission (selling the five millionth Dodge was also big news, as was sales of 156,000 units and a 7.4% market share in the United States). The base model was, oddly, the Deluxe; the only other model was the Custom. Both were equipped with a straight-six flat-head engine. The Deluxe sold for $1,229-$1,339 while the Custom went from $1,384 to $1,743. The Deluxe was available as a two or four door six-passenger sedan, or a two door, three passenger coupe; the Custom was available as a six-passenger, four-door sedan, twin sedan, or two-door club coupe, or as a five-passenger, two-door convertible, or as a seven-passenger, four-door sedan (the most expensive model). Weights ranged from 3,146 pounds to 3,461 pounds, except the seven-passenger sedan at a whopping 3,757 pounds. All were officially classified as Series D-24.

The Custom was similar in appearance, but included more comfortable front seat cushions, electric wipers, chrome around the outside windows, and more upscale trim. Both lines were assembled in Detroit and California.

  • folding seatsThe six cylinder flathead high-compression engine returned, with a new manifold for more even acceleration. 
  • New six-cylinder hydraulic brakes provided safer stops with one-third less pressure; two hydraulic cylinders in each front brake increased braking force. Even distribution of force helped to keep brake lining wear down.
  • A new starter was operated by a button on the dash
  • The wiring harness was now wrapped in plastic (oven-sealed) to protect against shorts, leaks, and wear. The wiring was also shortened and simplified for better radio reception.
  • An Oilite fuel filter was now installed in the gas tank, self-cleaned “by the sloshing action of gasoline in the tank.” The brochure noted, “Under the most rigid Army tests this was the only filter that met military requirements to prevent the passage of dirt and other impurities.” It removed the need for a glass sediment bowl at the fuel pump.
  • An improved micronic oil filtration system using a replaceable cartridge oil filter was now available; replacing it cost less than one third the cost of the prior filter, but it was more effective.
  • A new, higher-capacity oil pump was used.
  • A new instrument panel, with brighter, safer non-glare edge lighting was used; it had higher contrast. The steering wheel got a new horn ring and center ornament.  The speedometer was wick-lubricated. New plastic control buttons were centrally grouped.
  • A new optional electric clock put the setting button onto the clock instead of in the glove compartment.
  • Door drainage was improved to reduce rust.

The car itself was 204 ½ inches long, on a 119.5 inch wheelbase (quite an overhang); the height was about 68 inches, the width 76 inches. Tires were six inch by 16 inches, inflated to 28 pounds.

1946 Dodge car seats

Inside, plastic was used for door knobs and controls on the instrument panel. Rotary door latches allowed for closing doors lightly; spring tension kept the doors closed.

The optional turn signals were put in their current position to the left of the steering column. Other options included a clock, radio, heater, and backup lights.

Pistons were a lightweight aluminum alloy with a special plating for protection against scuffing and scoring. Four piston rings were used; the upper two were plated. Special alloy valve seat inserts and a new rolled finish of valve stems increased valve life.

For more information, see our postwar-Chrysler Corp. vehicle section or our 1949 Dodge section!

1946 Dodge specifications

1946 Dodge cars
Bore and stroke 3.25 x 4.625 (230 cid)
Horsepower 102 gross @ 3,600
Compression ratio 6.7:1 (Dodge figure); 8.6:1 (Std. Cat. of Chrysler figure)
Carburetor Stromberg BXV-2, single barrel
Wheelbase 119.5 (except seven-passenger sedan, 137.5)
Length 204.5 (except seven-passenger sedan, 222.5)

1946 dodge car specifications

See the 1949 Dodge page

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