“My wife had seen this 1965 International Loadstar for sale, and she fell in love with it immediately,” Dewey says. “She envisioned the truck done up in true rat style with lots of patina and a combination of unique parts. At first, I wasn’t so sure how I felt about the idea, but as we made progress on the truck, I started gaining a whole new outlook and appreciation for the work and imagination that goes into the best rat rod builds.”With this being my first retro type rat rod build, I’ve come to the understanding that no matter if your truck has a shiny painted finish oR not, the same sense of pride is still there regardless.
To start his new rat truck project, Dewey started from the ground up as he began prepping a customized frame to serve as the International’s foundation. A ’99 Chevy 1-ton chassis was selected as the base, but there were some necessary alterations that had to be completed to make it work just right. Trick fabrication to the rear of the frame were done to support the ‘bag system, but other than that, Dewey was able to make relatively quick work of the suspension portion of the build.
Since the Loadstar looks as big as a semi-truck when compared to standard sized pickups, Dewey wanted to capitalize on that fact by selecting a set of wheels that properly fit his truck’s hefty profile. Fuel’s Maverick wheel had all the bold styling cues he was after from it strong, simple lines, to its overall industrial strength appearance.
With a damn cool rolling chassis ready to go, Dewey then set his sights on selecting an engine to power the International. The chosen mill was an ’05 Chevy 6.0L LS, along with a matching 4L80E transmission. The combination has proven to be a great move after a few chassis tweaks were made to properly seat the engine into position. A rear drive axle from the same ’05 1-ton Chevy was also utilized in the Loadstar’s implanted drivetrain to allow all the components to work together in harmony.
It was around this point when Dewey realized some key aspects regarding how he was approaching his project thus far.
“I was starting to value the importance of being very open minded and listening to the suggestions of others,” he admits. “I also made it a point to think outside the box and keep reminding myself that I was building this truck for myself, so there was no wrong way about it no matter what I chose to do with it.”
Maybe it’s just the free form rat rod nature, but there is nothing really cookie cutter about creating a custom truck like this. Everything is done to taste, and whatever works best for the greater good in any given phase is always the right way to go.
With this realization in mind, Dewey moved on to the International’s exterior to truly make the truck his own. Now, the truck already had a great natural patina going for it, which was preserved, and even improved upon to get the look just right. Dewey thought some sort of loose theme to the truck would be cool, and the first thing he thought of was Jameson Whiskey.
“My grandparents are from Dublin, Ireland, and so is Jameson,” he says. “Incorporating the logo just seemed like the right way to go.”
Luckily enough, the Loadstar was solid enough to be able to use all the original parts like the fenders, doors, hood, roof and a whole lot more. While that is reason enough to celebrate the success of the truck’s simple yet killer façade, it’s the custom built bed that gets the most attention from onlookers. The wooden bed stakes and whiskey barrel styled bed floor give the truck’s rear end the perfect finishing touch. From front to back, Dewey’s International drips of genuine originality with a twist of rat-infused flavor.
Inside the truck’s spacious cab, both OE bench seats were covered in brown distressed, diamond-stitch leather by Lucky’s Upholstery in Ocala, Florida. The same material was also used on the door panels since the texture is oh so fitting to the International’s intentionally weathered appearance. Brand new Equus instruments allow for more accurate readouts while still maintaining a classic factory appearance. Fresh wood flooring was used instead of carpeting, and of course, a Jameson logo was applied to the rear center for fluidity. Nothing was overdone, and the International’s interior flows naturally with its outward styling.
“With this being my first retro type rat rod build, I’ve come to the understanding that no matter if your truck has a shiny painted finish or not, the same sense of pride is still there regardless,” Dewey says about the completion of his rusty concoction. “This has been the most fun project I’ve completed to date, and I can tell that folks have a blast just looking at it. It’s a different level of enjoyment from anything else I’ve built to date. I’d like to thank my wife Leila for the inspiration. I would never have gone through with this type a build if it wasn’t for her.”
Dewey also wanted give some love to some great companies that supported this build along the way including Full Pen Fabrication, Lucky’s Upholstery, AWW Custom Metal, Pappy’s Patina and Moto Metal wheels.
1965 International Loadstar
- 2005 Chevy 6.0 LS
- 2005 Chevy 4L80E transmission
- 2005 Chevy 1-ton rear axle
- 1999 Chevy 1-ton frame
- Fabricated and welded rear modifications to support bag system
- 210 wheelbase
- Viair compressors
- Firestone 2400 air bags all around
- Belltech front and rear shocks
- Wheels & Tires
- 18×10 and 20×12 Fuel Maverick wheels
- 295/45/18 and 305/55/20 Hankook and Atturo tires
- Shop: Paint by Dewey Dougherty, Graphics by LN Signs, Dunnellon, FL
- Green, original and DuPont single stage paint mixture
- Hand painted logo work
- Custom bed using, all International parts from fenders, doors, hood and roof
- Shop: Lucky’s Upholstery, Ocala, FL
- Factory International seats
- Leather upholstery
- Equus instruments