I found this Dodge Crew Cab in the Highlands of North Denver, and had to stop to gather a few photos. Outside of the aftermarket wheels, the exterior appears completely original, and I love the look of this tough, rough truck.
As Paul noted in an earlier posting, International offered the first pickup crew cab in 1961, but Dodge beat Ford and Chevy to the market in 1963, giving them bragging rights among the “Big Three.”
Those quad headlights identify this as a first generation D series, built from 1961 through (part of) 1965, but the crew cab showed up in 1963, narrowing down the possibilities. I chose ’64 to set it right in the middle of the crew cab run.
From the rear, we can see the “Sweptline” styling, Dodge’s name for the full width bed option. Although there’s lots of surface rust on every panel, I don’t see any significant rust holes. Denver’s dry climate helps prevent rust, but it does snow here every winter. Given that this truck is pushing 60, Dodge appears to have done a pretty good job on rust prevention.
Inside, the condition and originality matches the exterior. These crew cabs tended to go to commercial users back in the sixties, and such buyers rarely spent money on fancy options. Looking at that bench seat and big shifter jutting out of the floor, I’m not sure I’d care to pilot this rig on a lengthy road trip. To go along with this utilitarian interior, I’m sure there’s a crude suspension mounted to a ladder frame adding up to a punishing ride and noisy cab.
Dodge used the same hood, badging and grill from ’61 to ’65, the primary reason I can’t ID the exact model year. That “200” callout makes this a 3/4 ton, probably the lowest load rating for the Crew Cab option.
Denver dumps lots of gravel on their streets during the winter, and this traction aid also sandblasts the front of our cars for six months of the year. This shot really shows the impact of winter road grit has on paint over six decades of driving.
Just to confirm this is a lifetime Denver truck, here’s the dealer tag. A few letters have broken off, but “odge Cit” used to read “Dodge City,” a now closed dealer out on West Colfax in Lakewood, Colorado. As I recall, it was about 15 blocks west of the famous Casa Bonita Restaurant.
I called the suspension crude a bit earlier, but it’s also hell for stout. The truck is built to last, using lots of heavy duty features as represented by those eight bolt wheels. That bolt-on the axle flange tells us it has a full floating axle, completing a driveline that’s ready for all the abuse a hired driver could hand out.
We’ll end our look at this truck with a close up of the rear bumper. Back in the day, many (most?) pickups left the factory without any rear impact protection, so someone built this heavy duty battering ram out of thick steel plates. It has performed well, preventing damage to the tailgate, end caps and tail lights.
There’s no external engine badging, but the twin pipes tells me we’re looking as a V-8 rather than the slant six. It appears the only V-8 available was the 318, which I believe in ’64 was the polysphere A block. We had a family friend with a newer (standard cab) version of this truck, running the 383 big block. That motor provided some serious grunt, but I’d imagine in this longer, heavier truck a 318 felt… sufficient.
Still, that’s really what this truck is all about- No frills, no excitement, just the parts required to reliably deliver a full days work.