The truck that answers the question, “Why a Dodge?”
When it comes to trucks built in 1970, two examples stand out: The Chevy C/10 and the Ford F100. Nobody talks about the Dodge D100, even though it’s not a bad looking truck. Sure, it doesn’t have the flair of the C/10 or the ubiquity of the Ford, but it’s got tons of possibilities. All that said, the question to most truck guys is obvious: Why a Dodge?
Carl Smith from Hornbeck, Louisiana, got into the truck scene 11 years ago with the build of a ’92 Chevrolet Silverado, and quickly moved into the fabrication field, gaining a job at Xtreme Machines in Leesville, Louisiana. His days now are spent lifting and lowering trucks from all over the state, and as his skills improved, so did his goals. He wanted to build a full frame for one of his personal projects, and he wasn’t picky with the type of vehicle it would sit under.
Carl knew a guy named Mike Hopkins that had a pretty sweet D100 Sweptline (that’s the name that Dodge used for its Fleetsides). It was all original, minus the motor; the truck originally came with a six-cylinder engine, but Mike put in the 365 V8. Carl bought the truck for just $2k and knew that this would be the perfect project for his full-frame build. And since nobody was building trucks like these, he knew he’d stand out from the crowd. Oh and that patina? It was perfect for the budget build he had in mind.
On the surface, you might not think that a truck with 22- and 24-inch billets, a full frame, and a custom interior could be done for under $10k including the price of the truck. But that was Carl’s target, and one that was completely attainable considering his profession. He does have the opportunity for a hookup or two. Case in point: His wheels were given to him by his boss at the shop. That alone saved a few grand and put him well on the way to success.
Of course, the downside to building a Dodge is that there isn’t a handbook out there that will give you tips and tricks to making it easy. The aftermarket is also pretty light, which meant that Carl would have to dig into the other guys’ parts bins to get what he needed. Fortunately, since he was building a full frame, he didn’t need a bunch of suspension parts from Dodge. Instead, he based the front clip off the steering knuckles from a 2007-2013 Chevrolet Silverado, a component that he’s intimately familiar with since he builds those trucks at work all the time. He made up some custom flat upper and lower control arms, a custom rack and pinion, installed Airlift bags and some shocks from an ’85 C/10, and he was good to go. Out back was a bit easier. A Chevy axle was narrowed 7.75 inches on each side then rebuilt with 3.73 rear gears, then installed to the frame with a custom-built four link.
About that frame. The Dodge fans out there may notice that the truck as a whole looks just a little bit shorter than it should. The next time you see a D100, check out the gap between the cab and the bed. It’s huge, right? Carl wanted to close that gap to about the same size as the ones on the doors. To do that, he shortened the frame around 1.5 inches, giving the truck a substantially cleaner look in the process.
The inside is a bit spartan, but clean. The stock seat was rewrapped in vinyl, the dashboard was shaved and painted, and the door panels were tweaked ever so slightly. He also picked up that billet steering wheel for cheap online, and even though it doesn’t have an obvious brand name, it sure does look cool. The interior works — for now — but it’s one of the places where he’d like to make improvements in the coming years.
As for the outside of the truck, what do you say about that patina? This truck aged just like every other, and yet it’s got a distinct two-tone/leopard spot thing going on between the tan and the black. Carl doesn’t think he’ll ever paint the thing, because it’s just so distinct as-is, and there’s no way a paint job will make it stand out more. But he did do a bunch of sheet metal work to the bed, so to protect and keep things clean, he sprayed a custom bedliner in there. It also doesn’t hurt with showing off his dual FLO mfg. air tanks and the AirLift 3H system.
So why a Dodge? It’s an obvious question. After all, pretty much everything looks better on the ground, and this truck is no exception. But for those that ask that question to Carl — and many do — the answer is fairly straightforward: “Because nobody was building them.”
1970 Dodge D100 Sweptline
Xtreme Machines, Leesville, Louisiana and Grey Matter Fab
Custom IFS with rack and pinion
Custom 1/2-inch flat upper control arms
Custom 3/4-inch flat lower control arms
Stock 1985 Chevrolet C10 front shocks
Airlift 2600 front airbags
07-13 Chevrolet 1/2-ton spindles
Stock Chevrolet brakes
Custom four link
Airlift 9001 rear airbags
Nissan truck rear shocks
3.73 Chevy rear end
Axle narrowed 7.75 inches per side
Custom built full frame
Shortened wheelbase 1.5 inches
Stock floor body drop
Airlift 3H air management
Flo Mfg. air tanks
(2) Viair 480 compressors
Wheels & Tires:
22X8.5 and 24X15 Raceline Explosion 5 wheels
265/35 22 and 405/25 24 Pirelli tires Interior:
Owner and Brian Hanners, EBT Upholstery
Billet steering wheel
Shaved dash and dash pad
Custom carpet and headliner
Second Skin and Lizard skin sound deadener
Wiring by Brian Hanners
1975 Dodge 365 c.i. V8
1975 727 automatic transmission
450 horsepower/450 ft/lbs of torque
Crane cams camshaft
J Cylinder heads
Crane Cams valves and lifters
Crane Cams pushrods
Edelbrock intake manifold
Stainless block hugger headers
Custom stainless-steel exhaust
Good and Cool Fan Company cooling fans
Flowmaster Super 44 mufflers
Custom valve covers
CVF drive accessories
Custom engine cover
TPI torque converter
1800 stall speed
Precision Shaft Technologies driveshaft
Body & Paint:
Carl Smith at Xtreme Machines, Leesville, Louisiana
Bed shifted 1.5-inches closer to the cab
Custom bed floor and tubs
Stock Chrysler paint
Special Thanks from Owner:
Brian Hanners at Grey Matter Fab for helping with the fabrication of just about everything; Scotty Dowden for being my boss and friend and letting me work on the truck anytime I needed; John Tillman for painting the frame and Xtreme Machines for giving me a place to build amazing customs; Mike Alexander at FLO Airide Mfg.; and My Savior, Jesus Christ.