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