Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
The Big Three all introduced new pickup trucks in 1948, but historians generally acknowledge that the Dodge B-series was the most advanced of them all. While Ford and Chevy tried to put new details in old trucks, Dodge went all-out and designed a completely new vehicle with several notable improvements to design, safety, and carrying capacity. The result is that trucks like this final-year 1953 Dodge B-1 "Pilot-House" truck that drive like much more modern pieces, and when they're as nicely restored as this one is, they're not often found in the wild and admired additions to any collection.
The single most noteworthy design feature of the new Dodge trucks was the fender line that sweeps all the way into the door panel. Not only was this the first foray into the completely integrated designs that would come in the 1950s, but it instantly made the Ford and Chevy trucks look dated. Dodge designers referred to it and the 5-window cab configuration as the Pilot-House safety cab, and it was mimicked by rival manufacturers for years to come. Refinished in dark green with black running boards, this handsome half-ton shows a large amount of gloss, perfectly appropriate for a collector vehicle with a finish better than anything you'd see in 1953. Nicely assembled, the door gaps are good, the fenders line up well, and that unique side-opening hood sits just right. There's not a lot of chrome, and the grille has been painted in green as was the fashion of the day, centered with a 'Job Rated' badge right in the middle, giving the truck an honest, blue-collar look that's extremely appealing. Bumpers are basic black, the bed features beautiful fresh wood planks and painted slats, and it's still running those killer Dodge scripted taillights, just like 1953.
The interior is spartan, yes, but still stylish in a hard-working way. The bench seat features new black vinyl as original, and the rubber floor mat meant that you could hose the interior out after a long day working out in the field. Stacked pods at each end create a symmetrical dashboard design, with big speedometer and the secondary gauges below fixed in front of the driver, screens for speakers on the other end, with controls for the wipers, lights, and ignition in the center. Presumably, the passenger-side pod could hold an AM radio, although as a work vehicle, such equipment would be quite rare. All the gauges are fully operational and it isn't difficult to feel at home behind that big steering wheel.
Flip up the side-opening hood and discover Dodge's rugged 250 cubic inch inline-six engine, which was a mainstay of Chrysler products for many years. Virtually indestructible, these flathead engines made good torque and ran forever with only basic maintenance. Thanks to a responsive carburetor, this one runs smoothly and moves the half-ton pickup very well on city streets, and will cruise happily at 50 MPH all day. It's not detailed to show off and very tidy, and from behind the wheel it delivers the true early truck experience. It also features heavy duty oil and air filters and a big radiator that will keep this hard working engine cool no matter what the conditions. It's backed by a 3-speed manual transmission with a very strong first gear for slow-speed work, but in most cases you won't need it. The front axles and wheels of all models eight inches further back than the former trucks and moved the engine slightly forward, resulting in shifting more of the payload to the front axle and allowing greater payload ratings without adding heavier rear axle springs. As a result, the Dodge rides and handles extremely well and feels much more car-like than its contemporaries. A set of absolutely gorgeous Firestone whitewall bias-ply on the painted steel wheels adorned with chrome hubcaps certainly help ride and handling, yet look authentic under the fenders.
If you've been looking for a vintage truck to cruise around in, and are tired of all the Fords and Chevys you see these days, perhaps a B-series Dodge is what you've been looking for. Give us a call today!
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