An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

1956 Dodge Line-Up at a Banning, California Dealership

Today’s feature image takes us to Banning, California, which is located thirty-two miles southeast of the City of San Bernardino for a view of seven new 1956 Dodges. The Dodge and Plymouth dealership was located on West Ramsey Street in Banning, although after a brief search the name of the agency was not found.

The signs on the side wall spell out the top-of-the-line Custom, the mid-range Royal, and lower-priced Coronet model. The three models offered are powered by a mix of an inline six-cylinder, the Mopar “A” V-8 o.h.v semi-Hemi, and a new 315 c.i. “Red Ram” Hemi V-8 with a longer stroke that produces a reported 260 h.p.

Share with us what you find of interest or can add to this article. The photograph by Leonard McCulloh is courtesy of the Banning Library via the OHC.

19 responses to “1956 Dodge Line-Up at a Banning, California Dealership

  1. The cars aside, as we all know what they are, I find the cinder-block construction of the dealership rather minimal, in an age of floor-to-ceiling showroom windows and fancy neon signage. Mind you, we’re only seeing one corner really of the place, but it does appear rather cheap-looking. Surprised the mfr. OK’d such a look.

    • That block construction looks like it used the more stylish block that has a wavy/textured surface to give it a more elegant look instead of just plain block.

  2. In those days, a dealer was allowed far more leeway in designing the facilities. Add in that Banning still isn’t a big community, it is more important to have a crisp, clean appearance with the name and purpose clear from the road.

      • Battenkill Dodge in Manchester, VT, was rather basic into the 1970s. There was a wooden office and service bay(s), but the “showroom” was across the road in the pasture (don’t let the cows out).

  3. Could the building which sits behind and to the left of the Dodge/Plymouth dealership, shown in picture #2, be a Ford dealership? It appears there is a ’55 Ford sitting in the extreme left garage stall.

  4. In the 2nd photograph, the 2nd car from the right and the 4th car from the right are Coronet models.

    In the 3rd picture, the car on the far left is also a Coronet.

    The ’56 DODGE Coronet models had “baby teeth” in their grilles compared to the other models with more “mature teeth” !!

    • Thanks for pointing out the dental difference of the ’56 Coronet, hard to believe they would spend tooling money on such a minor detail.

  5. I wonder if we are looking at the back of the dealership building? The Dodges could be sitting in an auxiliary lot that faces another street.

    That said, I know that in small towns in my state, dealerships were run on a shoestring and there were a limited number of customers (mostly farmers whose main vehicles were trucks). The local dealer frequently “repurposed” a building mainly for dealership, mainly for service work.

  6. Not including wagons, top of the line Dodge in 56 was the Custom Royal (not “Custom,” notwithstanding the sign – I’m assuming there simply wasn’t room to put both words in). Then Royal, then Coronet at bottom. (Coronet had been top of the line only a couple years earlier.)

    Wagon models were Sierra and Custom Sierra, which as I recall were more or less equivalent to Coronet and Royal model sedans in trim and equipment.

    My parents owned a 56 Coronet D500 2dr sedan for several years back in the day.

  7. The modest dealer building would still be considered modern compared to many still doing business in facilities from the 1920.

    The third and fourth cars from the right are the new-for-1956 four door Lancer hardtops with their uniquely operating rear door windows which appear to have quarter windows but which aren’t.

    Anyone else notice the ’56 Dodge grille looks much like the ’54 Imperial grille split with a center feature inserted?

  8. The cinder block construction is common in Banning, even today. It gets very hot and very cold and windy in that part of California. Well, hot and cold by Calif standards anyway. Large display windows of that era had virtually no ‘R’ rating and as such would seriously impact your heating and cooling bill.

  9. David, your comments about the Mopar “A” engine are beg some clarification. In 1956 both Dodge and Plymouth had “A” engines which had absolutely nothing in common. The Dodge engines were for the most part undersquare, had open runner intake manifolds, a tappet valley cover and rocker covers that had a `sine-wave’ outboard edge design. The Plymouth “A” engine which eventually became the more well known engine was for the most part oversquare, had an intake manifold that completely enclosed the top of the cylinder block and had a sawtooth style outboard edge on the rocker cover. What both engines had in common was the distributor at the back, but that’s it. The Plymouth engine became the 273, 318, 340 and 360 engines. The Dodge engine was produced as the 315 (3.63/3.80) and 325)3.68/3.80)/326 engines with the largest displacement being the 345cid (3.80/3.80)hemi head engine used in DeSoto Adventurers

  10. This building, most recently a tire shop, is still standing. Not sure about ownership in 1956, but by ’57, this was Gene Burson’s Chrysler agency where my Uncle Fred bought his turquoise ’57 Imperial. By 1960 it was Burson-Pointer Chrysler and continued as a Chrysler dealership through sometime in the mid eighties.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *