Curbside Classic: A Big, Basic Bruiser Of A Truck With A Slant Six

When I first came across this this four-door Dodge pickup I thought I’d surely found a kind of vehicular unicorn. After all, how many Dodge D200 Crew Cabs with the step-side box can there be? The cherry on top is that this big beast has a slant six engine and a manual gearbox!

One can at least hope that this is the 225 cu in slant six and not the 170-cube version. Note the two master cylinders at the top right of the photo, indicating the presence of manual brakes to complement that manual transmission. I didn’t check to see if it had power steering, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it used the strong-arm system.

Looking under those yellow-painted stripes yields a good clue to who ordered the truck this way. You can can still make out “Blairmore” on the top line. Blairmore is a tiny mining town in the mountains, so perhaps it served the mining industry. On the other hand, it could have belonged to a Park Ranger. Unfortunately, the writing under the middle mark is unreadable, and the well-worn bottom stripe covers only a phone number. A dead end? Not quite.

If I’m correct, the pie-plate style headlight surrounds peg it as a 1965-1967 model.

It’s pretty spartan in here–there’s not even a radio, and sheet metal has been riveted over the glove box. Here you can just make out the top of the clutch pedal.

But what do have here? On this side is different (and more legible) lettering. The top line reads “US Air Force”, which solves the mystery about the original buyer. The USAF used trucks like this to transport air crews around the bases. It’s likely this particular truck was stationed in Montana.

It seems the six-passenger Crew Cab is perfect for transporting a five-person B-52 crew and a driver.

According to information provided by my contact, this truck probably isn’t as rare as I first thought. He even provided me with a photo of a more recent example.

You can spot a similar but more recent vehicle at the 35-second mark.

Did the way this truck was originally equipped make you scratch your head? While we’re on the subject,  what’s the most oddly-optioned vehicle you’ve ever seen?