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The 1946 Dodge cars had many improvements over the prewar cars; the big news, though, was the new “All Fluid Drive,” which added a torque converter to the manual transmission to make driving a little easier. This was the year Dodge hit five million cars built — with 156,000 sold for the year; market share for Dodge along was a generous 7.4%.
The two Dodges were merely trim levels of the same car — the Deluxe and the Custom, both using a straight-six flat-head engine. The Deluxe was sold as a two or four door six-passenger sedan, or a two door, three passenger coupe; the Custom was sold 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).
The Deluxe sold for $1,229 to $1,339, while the Custom went from $1,384 to $1,743. 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 had electric wipers, chrome around the outside windows, upscale trim, and more comfortable front seat cushions. The Delxue and Custom were assembled in both Detroit and California.
The car itself was 204.5 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.
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!
See the 1949 Dodge page
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