Sunday, October 14, 2012

1961 Dodge Lancer GT—Hardtop Coupe

This rendering shows what a dedicated 1961 Dodge Lancer coupe have looked like. The pillarless coupe Dodge produced was hamstrung in the looks department by the beancounter decision to use the exact same roof stamping as the sedan. This meant an additional, stationary window was needed in the C-pillar, which just looked odd with the pillarless glass in front of it. My coupe shows what they could have done if they had OKed a second, sportier, dedicated coupe roofline. It almost hints at sister division Plymouth's Barracuda coming up for '64. With bucket seats front and rear, this Lancer GT would have looked great next to that year's Corvair Monza sport coupe and would have predated the Mustang by three and a half years. Falcon wouldn't have a hot pillarless coupe until the '63 model year.

About the early sixties Lancer in general, it's clear that it's a sister to the original Valiant. I'm convinced that in '61 though, Dodge pulled off the better looking car. I didn't change anything in the front of this rendering, and look at those awesome lines! The grille is expensive looking, the and fender blisters work perfectly with the headlights and hood. With the windshield laid back a few degrees and the roofline lowered a couple of inches, my reversed C-pillar accentuates the rear fenders. It was suggested by an actual stamping in the production car's fenders.

Not My First

This is't the first early sixties Dodge Lancer I've rendered. This road warrior/daily driver sedan was done a couple of years ago. As in the chop at the top, I changed the C-pillar to include that reversed kink. There is a little pressed indentation in the production Lancer's and Valiant's doors (or fenders on coupes) that looks like it would lead to this pillar. The actual production C-pillar doesn't relate as well. I also gave it suicide doors just because I think they're cool, lol. The Lancer in the base photo was in better shape than "mine." I did all the battle-scars and aging in Photoshop.

Not My First
I just realized this is my 100th post here. Time flies! I just wish I could do new ones every day!

22 comments:

  1. Slick and yet very period correct. The black and white makes it even more so. Terrific.

    BobF

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  2. Nice work! I like how the slope of the windshield follows that of the C pillar. I've always thought the Lancer the better looking of the Valiant/Lancer pair, although I must say the six window configuration on the hardtops never bothered me at all. I found the piece in the new CA interesting, although the author's tone was so derogatory that I felt like "if you dislike the Lancer so much, why did you write this piece?"

    I guess, given my family history, I still feel protective towards Chrysler products!

    Paul, NYC

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    1. that CA article was my inspiration for this coupe. I've found that CA is writing a lot more opinion pieces rather than "just the facts, ma'am," style that they used to. Their Facebook presence is dreadful, too. I had to "unlike" their page so I wouldn't get their daily drivel. I still love the magazine for their photos and information. I just don't agree with them very much when they veer off into opinion.

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  3. Hi Casey
    I hav'nt seen the CA yet but I know this body shell Mopar has always inspired definate opinions!
    You either love it or hate it. I love it, as I've always felt like I knew Ex's intent. He was without a doubt the master at pulling cues from the past for a modern if not futuristic design. Just look at how Ford tried this by adding cheesey JC whitney landow irons to their otherwise sexy state of the art Thunderbirds.Those god awful things hurt my eyes LOL.As far as your 2 door hardtop ,It would have easily competed in the burgeoning personal luxury segment. It would have needed a premium interior ,V8,14 inch wheels(mayby even WIRE?)and lots of power equipment. I can only imagine its collectibility today! Oh yea a convertible sister would have rocked. Personally I like the Valiants shield grill but hey that's minor . By the way I've enjoyed the heck out of the Imperials you have shared with us lately!
    Marty

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  4. I agree with you that the Lancer's front end was much better looking than the Valiant's. When I was very young (4 or 5, late 1960s) we had next-door neighbors who had a Lancer wagon, and even at that young age I was fascinated by it.

    I really like how your coupe came out.

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  5. I'm betting that there are a couple of variations on the theme in your head. A derelict version amidst the cactus somewhere in southern New Mexico with lots of surface rust but still sound body. And, maybe, a guy in Ohio with an updated version. Stock body but a modern drivetrain and suspension from a new Chrysler 300. With a $6,000. paintjob. So many cars, so little time, lol. Right?

    BobF

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  6. I likey! The new side window is awesome and works well with the character lines!

    Patrick

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  7. What a remarkable design. I see Avanti design in there, between the A & B Pillars.

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  8. Congrats on #100--- Thanks for your great work--- always a treat. Well done Casey! Rob

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    1. thanks, Rob! They're coming slower these days, but I hope to "rev" back up this winter.

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  9. I know that run-down brick mansion! I used to live around the corner from it in Washington, DC. It was occupied by a single person who was in way over his head. My wife and I would walk past it in the morning and fantasize about buying it for a song. Then it actually did go up for sale, and the asking price was many, many times what we could afford. That's DC real estate for you....

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    1. For some reason I thought this fabulous old home was in Detroit, but DC makes sense, too. I've been all around DC, not just the pretty memorials. Thanks for stopping by, Murphy! Anyone that would even think about living in this home and slowly fixing it up is WAY OK in my book!

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    2. Ha, thanks! Here's the Street View image if you're curious...

      http://goo.gl/maps/SCF2U

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    3. cool! It looks a bit better in the Google view. I guess I cut off some of the front lawn when I photoshopped it into the background. I could live in a "Munster" home like this quite easily.

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  10. This greeting is kinda late, but congratulations on your 100th post! Time flies, indeed. But when you are passionate with what you are doing, you would hardly notice how time flies. :) Anyway, your work is amazing! I'm a fan of the Dodge Lancer and it is nice to know that there are people who still taking notice of this awesome Dodge model.

    Best,
    Stelle

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  11. As a car restoration shop in Nebraska I run across a lot of junk scrap cars that are just headed to the crusher. I happened across a 61 2 dr Lancer few years back with a title! I saved it & stashed it in the warehouse for years, every time I'd look at it I think man that's ugly I need to change it sometime! Dec 2010 I hosted a weekend work shop at my shop "Learn to redesign an Ugly car" featuring this 61 Dodge Lancer! It was a fun class eight guys signed up and we cut the roof skin off spun it 180 lowered the windshield frame into the cowl slanting it back a few inches, pivoted the rear window frame forward and raising the rear deck up 4 inches at the same time. Opened up the wheel arches for larger modern wheel tire combo. Wow what a change it almost looks Cool! Now I'm re inspired to drag it back in the shop thanks to seeing Caseys great design on the forgotten Lancer!

    Doug Kielian
    Auto Kraft
    Lincoln, Neb.

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