1955 Dodge La Femme.
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The Dodge La Femme was a product of the Chrysler Corporation's Dodge division between 1955 and 1956.
The La Femme concept was based upon two Chrysler show cars from the 1954 season. Named Le Comte, and La Comtesse, each was built from a Chrysler Newport hardtop body, and each was given a clear plastic roof over the entire passenger compartment. While the Le Comte was designed using masculine colors, the La Comtesse was painted "Dusty Rose" and "Pigeon Grey" in order to convey femininity. Favorable responses encouraged Chrysler to pursue the La Comtesse concept.
Dodge received the project and renamed the concept the La Femme, which began as a 1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer "spring special" hardtop two-door coupe, painted "Sapphire White" and "Heather Rose".
From there, the exterior received special gold-colored "La Femme" scripts that replaced the standard "Custom Royal Lancer" scripts on the cars front fenders.
The interior of the car also received attention and features. 1955 La Femme interiors were upholstered in a special tapestry material featuring pink rosebuds on a pale silver-pink background and pale pink vinyl trim. The La Femme also came with a keystone-shaped, pink calfskin purse that coordinated with the interior of the car. The purse could be stowed in a special compartment built into the back of the passenger seat, and its gold-plated medallion faced outward. This brushed-metal medallion was large enough to have the owner's name engraved upon it.
Each purse was outfitted with a coordinated set of accessories inside, which included a face-powder compact, lipstick case, cigarette case, comb, cigarette lighter and change purse, all made of either faux-tortoiseshell plastic and gold-tone metal, or pink calfskin and gold-tone metal, and all were designed and made by “Evans”, which was a maker of women's fine garments and accessories in Chicago, Illinois.
On the back of the drivers seat was a compartment that contained a raincoat, rain bonnet and umbrella, all made from a vinyl patterned to match the rosebud interior fabric. Dodge marketing brochures for the La Femme stated clearly that the car was made "By Special Appointment to Her Majesty... the American Woman."
For 1956, the La Femme returned, with no less fanfare; letters to dealers from Dodge’s marketing department called the La Femme a "stunning success". For 1956, Dodge replaced the Heather Rose and Sapphire White scheme with a Misty Orchid and Regal Orchid color scheme. The interior of the car in 1956 did not take its cue from the 1955 model, and instead featured "La Femme" only seat patterns, headliner, interior paint and carpet.
Dodge dropped the La Femme for 1957 and did not revisit the concept. Because the La Femme was a $143 option package, its total production was never broken out from Dodge's production numbers, although research suggests less than 2500 were made over the two-year period. At least 40 known examples exist of the 1955 version and over 20 for the 1956 version, including at least 3 verifiable D-500 optioned 1956 La Femmes.
Exterior colour is Heather Rose over Sapphire White, with a gold La Femme name plate on each front fender. The interior consists of specially designed Heather Rose Jacquard Fabrics and Heather Rose Cordagrain bolster and trim.
The crowning touches which personalize the La Femme are its special feminine accessories. Two compartments located on the backs of the front seats are upholstered in Heather Rose Cordagrain. The compartment on the driver's side contains a stylish rain cape, fisherman's style rain hat and umbrella which carry out the Jacquard motif. The other compartment holds a stunning shoulder bag in soft rose leather. It is fitted with compact, lighter, lipstick and cigarette case.
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