WHY I LOVE … Dora, my 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer, by Lily Tomlin
DORA, MY 1955 DODGE ROYAL LANCER
I’ve always loved old cars. When I was growing up in Detroit, our idea of a fabulous date was walking down to the General Motors building to see the Cadillacs. So in 1975, when I found myself needing a car, I knew I wanted a cool, old one that I could drive around and really enjoy. I was in the studio working on a comedy album with Jane Wagner at the time, and between takes I’d flip through the newspaper to look at the cars. This Dodge Royal Lancer caught my eye, so I went over to the owner’s house and immediately fell in love. I paid $1,500 for it and named it Dora Bannister after a character in Wicked Woman, a movie that was showing when I worked as an usherette at the Avalon Theatre. Dora was so gorgeous that I drove her everywhere. I would yell out, “Go fire up, Dora! We’re taking off in 20!” She and I have been through a lot over the years, and I’ll never get rid of her. I’m gonna be buried in this car. At one point her brakes didn’t work so well anymore, and I gave her a rest period. But thank God I kept her, because when I signed on to do the movie Grandma in 2015, our director Paul Weitz was looking for an old car for my character to drive. Dora was perfect. It also happened to be 40 years since I had bought her, so it was a birthday of sorts. She was true-blue the whole way through—a total star. Now when I drive her here and there, to the bakery or the store, I get waved at a lot. But I know it’s Dora they’re flirting with, not me.
Tomlin stars in the fifth season of Grace and Frankie, premiering Januar y 18 on Net flix.
In the 2015 film Grandma