By Fuelish Media
In the realm of classic trucks, the Chevy C10s and Ford F-100s often steal the spotlight while the Dodge D100 remains overlooked despite its appealing appearance. Although lacking the flamboyance of the C10 or the widespread popularity of the Ford, the D100 possesses immense potential—hence why some have opted to build one of these distinctive trucks.
Let’s turn our attention to Carl Smith, a dedicated truck enthusiast residing in the serene town of Hornbeck, Louisiana. His journey into the realm of trucks commenced when he customized an OBS Chevy Silverado, a project that sparked his passion. As Carl’s skills flourished, he transitioned into the field of fabrication, securing a position at Xtreme Machines in Leesville, Louisiana. Now his days are consumed by the art of elevating and lowering trucks from all corners of the state. With his expertise steadily advancing, so were his aspirations. However, he wanted to challenge himself by constructing a full frame for one of his personal ventures and remained open to the possibility of any suitable vehicle.
Through his network Carl became acquainted with Mike Hopkins, the owner of a captivating D100 Sweptline. Although mostly original, Hopkins had replaced the engine with a powerful 365 V-8, imparting a renewed vigor to the vehicle. After some haggling, Carl acquired the truck for a mere $2,000, knowing it would serve as the ideal canvas for his full-frame project. Notably, the truck’s well-worn patina perfectly aligned with his budget-friendly vision.
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At first glance, one might not be able to believe that a truck featuring 22×8.5 and 24×15 billet wheels with Pirelli tires, a full frame, and a custom interior could be realized within a modest budget. However, Carl’s profession provided ample opportunities to acquire various components at reduced costs. Helping keep the budget down, his boss at the shop generously gifted him the wheels, saving him thousands of dollars and setting him on a path to success.
Undoubtedly, building a Dodge truck posed certain challenges. The absence of knowledge and guidance, along with a relatively limited aftermarket necessitated resourcefulness. Carl found himself robbing parts from other truck brands to procure the necessary components. With help from Brian Hanners of Grey Matter Fab, he focused on constructing a full frame and bypassed the need for many Dodge-specific suspension parts.
Leveraging his familiarity with Chevrolet pickups, a staple of his workplace, Carl utilized steering knuckles from ’07-13 models as the foundation for his front clip. Fabricating custom flat upper and lower control arms, a bespoke rack-and-pinion system, installing Air Lift ’bags, and incorporating shocks from an ’85 C10, he achieved the desired functionality. The rearend proved more straightforward: Carl narrowed a Chevy axle by 7.75 inches on each side, outfitted it with 3.73 rear gears, and seamlessly integrated it into the frame through a meticulously crafted four-link setup.
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Now, eagle-eyed Dodge enthusiasts may observe a slight discrepancy in the overall dimensions of the truck. Upon closer inspection, the sizeable gap between the cab and the bed becomes apparent—a characteristic trait of the D100. Carl set out to rectify this by shortening the frame approximately 1 ½ inches, bestowing the truck with a remarkably sleeker profile.
Speaking of the exterior, one cannot help but appreciate the distinct patina adorning the truck’s surface. Time has imparted a unique two-tone/leopard spot effect, merging tan and black hues. Carl adamantly believes that a fresh coat of paint would not enhance the truck’s already-distinctive charm. To safeguard his meticulous sheetmetal work in the bed and maintain cleanliness, he opted to have Hanners spray a custom bedliner, thereby showcasing his dual FLO air tanks and the Air Lift 3H system.
The interior, although simple, emanates a sense of cleanliness. Carl had EBT Upholstery cover the stock seat with premium vinyl, shaved and painted the dashboard, and made subtle adjustments to the door panels. While scrolling the Internet, he stumbled upon an appealing billet steering wheel that has just enough shine to dress up the inside of the cab. The interior, though currently modest, serves the purpose of functionality without distraction.
So, why did Carl choose a Dodge? The answer becomes clear when one gazes upon the truck. Lowered to perfection it exudes an undeniable allure. Many claim that every vehicle looks better when it sits closer to the ground. This truck serves as a testament to that sentiment.
Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of A 1970 Dodge Sweptline That Defies the Odds.