JUNE 2024: 1958 DODGE SWEPTSIDE—THIS RARE PICKUP IS A ROAD MACHINE NOW

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The Dodge Sweptside was their response to the high-end Chevy Cameos of the 1950s.

They built approximately 900 of them in 1958, and there are roughly 90 left so this ’58 Swepty is on the very rare list.

Jerry Sutherland

John Romney is the proud owner of this classic truck. He had a completely different vision for his rare Sweptside pickup when he acquired what he described as a “pretty rough” project.

Pretty rough was an understatement because John had a massive job ahead of him. The original engine was long gone—there was a 413 big block under the hood instead of the factory 318 with a pushbutton automatic. Someone had taken a cutting torch to the frame to fit the big block, so that was a big concern.

The cab was a rusty mess—it was so bad John said, “the rust had even crept into the dash”. John found another cab because he didn’t want to face a massive metal replacement process.

John had more luck with the front fenders and inner fenders because they didn’t need a lot of work. He built new frame rails to accommodate the new setup. John also moved the gas tank to the back of the bed on the driver’s side because, “there was a lot of room for a gas tank”. He added a custom filler and placed it in the inner fin part of the tailgate and used a ’69 Charger gas cap to really set off his custom look.

There were other major modifications to the Sweptside. The biggest one was a Ford Crown Victoria front end because John vision included a truck that would handle like a modern car.

The other modification was the powertrain. John found a 5.7 third gen hemi out of a wrecked pickup that had only 120 miles on it. His other modification was a 6-speed manual transmission out of a Challenger because a 6-speed manual was another big piece of John’s vision for the Swepty.

The trim pieces on these trucks are hard to find, but John located a full set of trim pieces for the front grille—they were still wrapped in paper. John had to have the bumpers redone and he had to fabricate a small trim piece out of another trim piece to complete the job.

John discovered this truck was originally red and white under the blue paint, so he went back to the factory look.

There are four-wheel discs on the Sweptside to haul this classic down in today’s traffic. This truck is a resto-mod in the truest sense of the concept because it looks relatively stock—even with the custom wheels. The ride height isn’t radically different from stock–but underneath the skin, this truck is all 21st century.

The process took almost ten years, because the Sweptside was a basket case project, but it’s where John wanted it to be now. He was looking for a cool truck that drove like a modern car and this Dodge delivers that—and more. John said he can run the truck at freeway speeds and the tach shows 1600-1800 rpm.

In fact, the Sweptside runs so well John wants to make it his daily driver in the summer. You could say his vision for this pickup turned into reality after 10 years.  

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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