The Res­ur­rec­tion

❚❚DCM Clas­sics’ 1962 Dodge D100 Goes From Trash to Trea­sure

Street Trucks - - QUICKTIME - TEXT BY RYAN LEE PRICE PHOTOS BY GRANT COX

THERE ARE FEW PROUDER MO­MENTS IN THE LIFE OF A FA­THER THAN WHEN HIS SON FIRST PICKS UP A TOOL, SHOWS AN IN­TER­EST IN THINGS ME­CHAN­I­CAL, OR DRAGS HOME A DERELICT VE­HI­CLE TO MAKE IT HIS FIRST PROJECT TRUCK. There are no finer mo­ments than shar­ing wis­dom, ad­vice, skills, tools and garage space with your son, side by side, un­der the hood of a truck. Life skills are learned, bonds are formed, and in the case of Steve Flok­stra and his son, Todd, a suc­cess­ful restoration shop and parts busi­ness is started.

Todd took a keen in­ter­est in Dodge trucks when he was a lit­tle boy. “At the age of 10,” Todd ex­plains. “I bought my first truck to start cus­tomiz­ing it.” It was a ’46 Dodge pickup, and when the search for orig­i­nal parts proved elu­sive, the fa­ther-and-son team put their heads to­gether and cre­ated DCM Clas­sics in Zee­land, Michi­gan, a restoration and re­pro­duc­tion shop that spe­cial­izes in vin­tage Dodge truck models 1930-80. They not only of­fer com­plete project trucks for sale, but they re­con­di­tion parts— such as speedome­ters, gas tanks and stain­less trim—and of­fer high-qual­ity restoration parts.

In 2015, the crew at DCM Clas­sics was con­tacted by a lo­cal junk­yard that wanted to get rid of an old Dodge pickup. Todd re­calls, “We went and looked at the truck and right then saw its po­ten­tial in its nat­u­ral patina.” The ’62 D100 was the sec­ond year of Dodge’s widely re­garded D se­ries line of pickups (the same year Chrysler switched from gen­er­a­tor to al­ter­na­tor and in­sti­tuted run­ning changes on the assem­bly line).

It fea­tured the pop­u­lar Chrysler B slant-six en­gine. The D se­ries stayed in pro­duc­tion un­til 1980 and was even­tu­ally re­named Dodge Ram.

Upon load­ing the Dodge on the trailer that warm sum­mer af­ter­noon, the ne­glected truck, on its last cylin­ders, was about to be res­ur­rected. From birth at the War­ren, Michi­gan, Dodge plant in 1962 to its re­birth at the DCM Clas­sics shop in 2015, it took 53 years to travel just 175 miles.

Plans for the truck’s fu­ture started im­me­di­ately. Todd spent the rest of 2015 and most of 2016 re­search­ing ideas, for­mu­lat­ing the de­sign and gath­er­ing the parts. “The build started as a ba­sic shop truck to run er­rands and pick up parts,” Todd says. “As the build pro­gressed, it be­came clear this wasn’t go­ing to be a nor­mal truck. We wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.” Fi­nally, in July 2016, they wheeled the Dodge into the shop to be­gin a com­plete resto-cus­tom. Todd ex­plains, “When I found this truck I knew it would be the per­fect truck for this project.” Soon af­ter be­gin­ning, DCM Clas­sics re­ceived a phone call from the Cox fam­ily at Quiet ride So­lu­tions, a large automotive insulation and sound-dead­en­ing com­pany in Stock­ton, Cal­i­for­nia, that ex­tended an in­vi­ta­tion to de­but a truck in its SEMA booth that Oc­to­ber. This gave Steve and Todd ap­prox­i­mately six months to com­plete the truck and trans­port it half­way across the coun­try. “I worked pretty much day and night to get it ready in time,” Todd tells us.

POWERTRAIN

While com­pletely tear­ing the truck down to the frame, dis­card­ing the floor pans and sheet metal that had suc­cumbed to more than a half cen­tury of snow, rain and salt, the first thing to go was the slant six. In its place they shoe­horned a Cum­mins diesel, not the inline six that al­ways seems to be used in old Dodges, but in­stead a 4BT tur­bod­iesel from a late-’80s-era de­liv­ery truck. Orig­i­nally, the 3.9L en­gine pro­duced a flac­cid 55 hp, which, of course, wouldn’t do for this truck.

The 4BT was shipped off to

ADP Per­for­mance in Marne, Michi­gan, which spe­cial­izes

in cus­tom en­gine and trans­mis­sion builds, turbo set­ups and diesel en­gine in­stal­la­tions. The crew at ADP Per­for­mance was able to squeeze around 350 hp and ap­prox­i­mately

600 ft-lbs of torque from the rebuilt en­gine. The re­mark­able boost in power is thanks to a cus­tom com­pound turbo setup de­signed and fit­ted by ADP Per­for­mance. Gasses exit through a 3-inch cus­tom stain­less steel ex­haust sys­tem fur­nished by Magna flow.

Orig­i­nally, the D100 was sad­dled with the slug­gish four-speed au­to­matic, which was quickly scrapped in fa­vor of a five-speed NV4500 from a 1994 Dodge 3500 to help the power reach the wheels.

SHINY SIDE

Rat rods with faux-patina paint jobs and glassy clear coats have been all the rage for the past few years, and there’s a good rea­son: Trucks with won­der­ful rust pat­terns have per­son­al­ity, a story and heritage. They’ve been re­stored, sure, but they can still main­tain a cer­tain level of orig­i­nal­ity and dig­nity. Todd re­mem­bers, “I de­cided to leave the out­side with nat­u­ral patina and make the in­side, en­gine bay and un­der­side up­dated and modern. I al­ways saw patina trucks but have never done one be­fore.”

That’s not to say that there wasn’t work to be done on the pan­els. Though few needed straight­en­ing, some holes needed to be filled and some rust re­moved. The body­work and paint were left in the ex­pert hands of Todd’s fa­ther, Steve, who ap­plied the orig­i­nal color spar­ingly to keep the ex­te­rior of the truck as orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble. Once Todd fi­nal­ized the in­te­rior de­sign, Steve sprayed the com­ple­men­tary beige there as well.

Since the truck can be slammed into the weeds, space needed to be made for the driv­e­train, so the bed was raised and com­pletely customized with wood pan­el­ing and the DCM Cus­toms’ logo.

BOT­TOMS UP

Un­der­neath the truck, mostly hid­den

from view, the frame and un­der­pin­nings were com­pletely orig­i­nal. For the D se­ries, Chrysler’s de­sign­ers added 6 inches to the wheel­base, strength­ened the frame and added a stout cross mem­ber while beef­ing up the front and rear axles. De­signed to han­dle more cargo over rougher ter­rain, han­dling and driv­abil­ity were sac­ri­ficed for ca­pac­ity and dura­bil­ity when wider and longer leaf springs were added.

In the in­ter­est of stick­ing to the scheme of mod­ern­iz­ing the run­ning gear, Todd ditched all of the orig­i­nal sus­pen­sion parts and in­stalled a Mus­tang II front sus­pen­sion with an air ride sys­tem up front and a com­plete cus­tom setup in the rear. The bumps in the road are ab­sorbed by a quar­tet of Ride­tech shocks, and the truck com­plies with stop signs via a set of Wil­wood four-pis­ton brakes, fore and aft.

Nor­mally, bling is in­tro­duced in the wheel se­lec­tion, but in the case of this D100, the sub­tlety of the scheme isn’t be­trayed by a gar­ish wheel choice. Todd went to Hot Rods by Boyd and picked its HR-74 wheel in the Pro Tour­ing se­ries. An un­der­stated satin bronze paint was ap­plied to the 20x7.5s in the front and 22x10.5s in the rear, while the lip was pol­ished to a bright shine.

Wrapped around th­ese wheels is a set of Invo tires from Nitto, a street tire cho­sen in part be­cause they were de­signed specif­i­cally for stag­gered size ap­pli­ca­tions found on lux­ury and high­end classic ve­hi­cles. The front re­ceived the 235/30ZR20S, while the rearend en­joys the larger 285/30ZR22S.

ON THE IN­SIDE

Since the truck would be spend­ing the bet­ter part of a week in the Qui­etride So­lu­tions booth at SEMA be­ing gawked at by thou­sands of show-go­ers, it would make sense that the en­tire cab of the Dodge was plas­tered with Qui­etride So­lu­tions’ prod­ucts, pro­vid­ing a hushed ride even with the ham­mer down.

The seats were mostly left orig­i­nal, with some slight mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the bench seat. It was cov­ered with a layer of plush leather/suede by Hardy Up­hol­stery, which is lo­cated just down the road from DCM Cus­toms in Zee­land. Hav­ing the stock gauges glar­ing out from the cus­tom-fab­ri­cated dash wouldn’t do, so Todd sourced a set of cus­tom gauges from Dakota Dig­i­tal.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Be­cause of a la­bor strike at the Dodge plant in 1961, only 12,672 of th­ese trucks were ever made, and who knows how many of them sur­vive to­day. But thanks to Todd and Steve Flok­stra and the crew at DCM Clas­sics, this fine ex­am­ple of an early D se­ries Dodge has been res­ur­rected from the brink of de­struc­tion and trans­formed into a beau­ti­ful truck that graces the roads of Michi­gan once again.

Steve and Todd plan to take the truck to a few Mid­west shows this sea­son to show off their shop’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties and pro­vide them with some muchap­pre­ci­ated ad­ver­tis­ing. Af­ter that, Todd re­marks, “I will sell it and start new projects,” in an ef­fort to help make Dodge trucks more pop­u­lar. With qual­ity builds like this one, the fa­ther and son Flok­stra team is off to a great start.

BE­LOW. THE ORIG­I­NAL SLANT SIX WAS DIS­CARDED IN FA­VOR OF A RARELY USED 3.9L 4BT TUR­BOD­IESEL FROM A LATE’80S-ERA DE­LIV­ERY TRUCK.

ABOVE. WHAT SETS THIS TRUCK APART FROM OTH­ERS IN ITS CLASS IS THAT IT FEA­TURES MOST OF ITS ORIG­I­NAL PAINT, DENTS, SCRATCHES, POCKMARKS, PITS AND BLEMISHES. THE PATINA LOOK IS A POP­U­LAR CHOICE FOR TRUCKS OF THIS ERA, WHICH IS IRON­I­CALLY BEAU­TI­FUL DE­SPITE

ITS FAULTS.

WITH UP­GRADES TO THE ORIG­I­NAL CHAS­SIS MEANT TO PRO­VIDE THE TRUCK WITH A SMOOTH RIDE, AN AIR SYS­TEM WAS ADDED TO THE SUS­PEN­SION SYS­TEM TO AL­LOW THE WHEELS TO SET­TLE DEEP INTO THE WELLS. AC­CESS TO THE SYS­TEM IS VIA CUS­TOM WOOD-PANELED COVER DECKED OUT WITH THE DCM CUS­TOMS LOGO.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.