After solving the mystery of exploding car engines in “Land of Black Gold”, Tintin and Captain Haddock were invited to Syldavia by Professor Calculus. This was Tintin’s second visit to this East European country after “King Ottokar’s Scepter”. The duo was received at the airport and taken under the charge of the ZEPO, the secret police of Syldavia. They were then taken on a long journey into a secret area in a blue coloured car. This car was a Dodge Coronet, 1949.
Coronet means a small crown worn by princes and dukes. People, who are important but not the kings and queens. The Cornet was the top model offered by Dodge from 1949 to 1955. In 1949, in order to celebrate new body styles introduced by Dodge since 1945, the company changed the naming system and started identifying its various models by names rather than by letter and number codes or generic corporate shared names like Standard, Deluxe etc.
The Coronet was manufactured and sold by Dodge from 1949 to 1959 and then from 1965 to 1976. During this period this model saw a lot of upheaval in its positioning. It was a full size car and the top trim offered by Dodge from 1949 to 1955, while on the contrary from 1955 to 1959 it was the lowest trim offered by Dodge as a full size car. In 1965, it was reintroduced as a mid-sized car and remained so till the model was discontinued in 1976.
The 1949 Coronet had a low and long look, however, it retained the conservative looks of the post-war cars. It had that typical toothy grin, a hallmark of American cars of the era. High set headlamps with parking lights positioned below them. Dodge offered the Coronet in a number of body styles like:-
- 2-door coupe.
- 2-door hardtop.
- 4-door sedan, which could seat six passengers.
- 4-door limousine, which could seat eight passengers.
- 4-door station wagon which could be ordered in six or nine seat trims.
These cars were powered by naturally aspirated, 3,772 cc (230.2 Cu-inch) six cylinder inline petrol engines. Breathing through two valves per cylinder these engines produced 103 BHP at 3,600 rpm and 258 N-m (190-lb-ft) of torque at a low 1,200 rpm. This was enough to propel the 1,533 Kg car to a top speed of 131 km/h (81 mph). They could do a 0-100 km/h in a sedate 25.4 seconds.
All this power and torque was transmitted to the rear wheels through a 3-speed automatic transmission known as the “Fluid Drive”. Stopping power was provided by drum brakes on all four wheels. However, in favour of safety, the front brakes had two cylinders instead of one providing better stopping power and fade resistance. Dodge used bonded brake lining for the first time.
On the comfort and styling side, these cars came loaded with a heater, electric clock, radio, white wall tyres and turn signals. The Coronet was a successful car with 260,000 sold in 1949 itself, this taking Dodge to number 2 position in its class and the sixth largest automobile maker as a whole. The company held on to a 6% market share.