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There are many trends in the old car hobby because it’s such a fluid world.


Things that were cool last year are suddenly yesterday’s news in 2015 but one of the latest trends is a power train that aligns with the manufacturer.


In other words, Mopar in a ’51 Dodge truck.



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Dwight Bleiler is the proud owner of this Dodge truck and he was clear from the beginning how the project would turn out as he explained: “This is a 360 out of a 1978 Volare donor car so it’s got the front clip, engine and rear end plus it has the 904 (automatic transmission) out of it too”.


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This truck has been on the road for a few years ago as Dwight explained, “It was done in 2001 and I put about 1000 miles a year on it”.


The key to the relationship is Dwight’s Mopar-centric philosophy and the reliability behind this truck. Another factor is the scarcity of Dodge trucks from any era and Dwight is proud of the Mopar heritage but that characteristic is a liability.


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Part of that is because Dodge trucks from the early 1950s don’t have the luxury of a giant parts catalog like the Chevy or Ford pickups so Dwight relied heavily on the improvisation side: “It was a crime to tear up the donor car because it was a 60,000-mile two door. It’s got the original heater but I used the Volare heater control”.


The ‘fitting the pieces together part’ is another hurdle for resto-mods but Dwight mapped that out like a pro: “I had to cut back the firewall 3 inches and it’s lower now too. Now it doesn’t overheat because it is lower so it’s good that way. I mounted the battery upfront too”.


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The Volare donated a ton of other features to the project: “It’s got Volare wheels on it and it’s got the 8-track too plus it’s got the cruise control out of it too”.


The only real departure from the Mopar theme are the LTD seats but that’s clearly not a deal-breaker for this Dodge because Dwight has taken it to several Mopar shows with full acceptance from his Pentastar brethren.


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Dwight is really happy with the old Dodge and the 13 years on the road behind the wheel of his truck really cemented the bond and one of the reasons is pretty basic as he explained: “I’m a truck guy”.


The real test of a resto-mod is the behavior of the car or truck on the road and Dwight is highly impressed with his ’50 Dodge as he admitted, “It’ll cruise all day at 70 miles per hour and I drive it right into November”.


Hobbyists who build their own projects rarely take an easy route because in reality there are no easy routes—there are simply less complicated routes like an old Chevy truck over an old Dodge truck.


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Dwight knew that back in 2001 when he finished his ’50 Dodge truck and that extra effort cemented his bond with the old truck so the question of the truck’s future is summed up in one sentence.


“I wanted one of these for a long time so I’m definitely going to hang onto it for a long time”.


Jerry Sutherland

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