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Dodge Custom Royal

During a long drive, there’s nothing like music to take your mind off the tedium. Today, people play iPods through their car speaker systems so that they can be spared another radio commercial, but in 1956 drivers had no such option and they were at the sole mercy of their car radio’s disc jockey. That is, unless they drove the 1956 Dodge Custom Royal, which had the option of a small, retractable turntable in the dashboard.

In order to fit the smaller-than-normal record player, Chrysler developed custom-made long playing records that were the size of a 45 rpm single, but played at 16 2/3 rpm. The feature had been very expensive for Dodge to introduce and unfortunately it posed nothing but problems. Drivers didn’t much care for flipping a record over while operating a moving motor vehicle, nor did they care for a song getting tragically butchered as the needle skipped over the vinyl at every pothole.

Stephen Foskett