When the going got tough for Dodge dealers outside America, Chrysler bailed them out with a special package summed up in one word as “Kingsway”. From 1946 to 1959, it took a Plymouth model and gave it a regal look, thanks to the grippingly beautiful Dodge bumpers and trim.

Called Dodge Kingsway, this new product changed overseas buyers’ perception of Dodge cars as expensive. As it was essentially a Plymouth, the Kingsway could be offered at a competitive price.

The cosmetics were so irresistible that a buyer did not feel a Plymouth was being palmed off on him. The Kingsway generated an interest that has survived till today. The car’s abiding popularity can be sensed at any rally for veteran vehicles — a Kingsway is treated like royalty. And that’s why Ranjit Pratap took a lot of trouble over a 1957 Kingsway that had seen better days.

Originally a Madras vehicle, the Kingsway had been bought by a resident of Cumbum. It was running on a diesel engine and even the body had also undergone alterations. To restore this Kingsway, Ranjit bought another for cannibalisation of parts. “The newly purchased Kingsway was in a state of extensive disrepair, but it had the engine, the badges and the meters that I was looking for. What I did not get from it, I fabricated,” says Ranjit.

The inline-six petrol engine required elaborate servicing — as the Kingsway moves like butter on a skillet, you know the job under the bonnet had been executed perfectly. In India of the 1950s and 1960s, the Kingsway served a dual purpose — making the perfect entry for a business meeting and stuffing in a big family on a vacation. The contents of a 4x4x1 feet cupboard can be emptied into the spacious boot. The rear seat can take in four at a squeeze.

In these respects, this 1957 Kingway Deluxe is like the second-generation Plymouth Savoy. Thanks to the identical side-trims, the Kingsway Custom is in fact a lot more like the second-generation Savoy.

Why not? All Kingsways are Plymouths at heart.

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