Dan the Dodge is a 1975 Dodge D-100 pickup truck that wandered our way via a car guy Youtube channel when we spotted it in an episode.
The reason behind the truck’s sudden retirement was unclear, but it subsequently spent the next 42 years off the road while a small forest grew up around Dan the Dodge. The truck was hidden in plain sight until it was spotted by an eagle-eyed parts store guy after the trees were cleared around it.
The ’75 Dodge ended up with one of the parts guy’s buddies and became the star of a Youtube episode when it was resurrected from the dead by a posse of talented car guys. They unstuck the Slant Six engine and gave the name-inspiring previous owner (Dan) time to consider his options for the Dodge.
The fact the truck ran and only had 22,000 miles on it made Dan the former owner consider either upgrading it to a Cummins diesel–or keep it as a very low mileage survivor truck. Dan did not have selling it on his bingo card, but the intervention of the Youtube program’s host opened the door for us here at MyStarCollectorCar to buy the truck from him.
We got the truck on the Easter weekend and were willing to tackle every issue related to a long period of outdoor storage. We were deluded or cocky enough to believe the truck had been able to survive the long timeout with no fuel delivery issues, even though it had been siphoned dry and the gas cap was about 20 feet from the truck.
Several weeks of constant fuel filter replacement (around 15-20 filters in total) did not cure the problem, so we had many road misadventures in the truck.
Most of them involved heavy traffic and a stalled vintage truck with varying degrees of hostility demonstrated by other drivers. We are not fast learners and were deluded enough to believe we would reach the end of the dirt deposits in the fuel tank.
It was a sad car guy fantasy driven by a deeply seated reluctance to drop the tank and clean it. Eventually, we introduced ourselves to reality and dropped the tank. We replaced the fuel pump and oil pressure sending unit-but not the fuel sending unit because the aftermarket replacement did not fit–even though the seller claimed it was the right one.
We also replaced the drinker side front caliper and discovered we had no need for the recently purchased master brake cylinder that we kept, mainly because a refund with the aftermarket company only amounted to 8 bucks since they did not cover return shipping costs. Both aftermarket parts companies should not build their future sales projections around our patronage.
However, the happy ending is Dan the Dodge is back on the road after 42 years of solitary confinement in a tree prison. The branches were cut out from between the rad mount and grille, the truck was given a light tidy, and now it runs like a top. In fact, Dan the Dodge is clearly a low-mileage survivor truck that is rattle-free and has a new truck vibe to it.
We are old enough to be very familiar with Tin Grille Dodges, both from a work perspective when they were fleet trucks–and an owners’ perspective since we owned a few (including a Little Red Express) over the years.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.