Here it is so far! This truck is a combination of 1949 Dodge 1 1/2 ton sheet metal on a 1985 Dodge D300 4X4 chassis. The '85 was a forest service truck that had a cab fire- the interior was destroyed but the engine and chassis is in excellent shape. Our goal is to make a truck that looks like a factory model- assuming that Dodge had a 360 V8 in '49. We have a good start- as you can see, the frame rails match the original frame cutouts in the nose exactly!
Because the axle width for the '85 is so much wider than that of a '49, we had to compensate by using the wider fenders of a 1 1/2 ton truck as opposed to standard pickup fenders. Also, we had 20 inch custom wheels made out of a set of old split-rims to give the truck a vintage look.
Here is the cab being lowered into place for the first time. We welded new crosspieces to the cab and built mounts on the frame to set the crosspieces on. We had to cut out a new firewall and floor pan to replace the originals- we wanted everything to look factory rather than butchered and patched.
Here is the inside before the floor was made. You can see one of the crosspieces notched around the bellhousing. We will have to bend the firewall to match, and add an access panel to reach the distributor. Gauges will go in the round holes with a vintage-styled radio in the middle slot.
This is a truck almost identical to the donor trucks; you can see the rear wheel of the chassis in the picture. The grill and fenders came from a junkyard in Moscow, Idaho and the cab came from a truck we bought and drove home from Kamiah, Idaho. The remnants of the truck that donated the cab will be used to restore the truck in this picture and a one-ton stake. The pictured truck was used to haul grain in eastern Washington, and was abandoned in a field for many years. It has 29,000 original miles, and after changing the oil and putting in a battery and fresh gas, it started right up and runs like new. Needless to say, this truck will be restored to factory specs.
This is the truck that started it all! I bought this truck when I was 16 for $2000. It only had 45,000 miles at the time, and even had its original spark plugs and front tires. I've rebuilt the brakes and engine, and had the seat recovered. It will be restored someday, but for now it is a work/play truck. When I brought it home, Dad suggested that I get a modern 4X4 chassis and put this body on it. I told Dad that this truck was too original to chop, and that if he wanted to do a project of that sort, he'd have to go and get his own truck. So he did! As you can see, the lowermost stainless steel grill bar is missing. When I was towing the '85 Dodge up to the barn, the chain came loose from the tractor and the '85 rolled away down the driveway and smashed my grill and fender clear back to the tire. Since then, I got the sheet metal repaired but I haven't been able to find a replacement grill bar. If anyone has one they are willing to part with, please drop me an e-mail!