1935 Dodge Truck Canopy Express: What To Do?

I’m not exactly sure what to suggest that you do with this 1935 Dodge truck. It’s listed here on eBay, and bidding is still under $250, although there is a reserve higher than that. It’s being stored in Mentone, California. Thanks to long time finder Peter R. for this submission!

The seller describes this as a Canopy Express. There certainly weren’t many of those made; this is the type of vehicle that w0uld be used by grocers to display produce or something like it. The sides were open, while the top is covered. Here’s a link to a slighter later one to give you an idea of what it looked like. Of course, considering the current state of this truck, I would think you could go in pretty much any direction from here. Perhaps a long bed pickup? It certainly would be striking.

You will be constructing a bed, without a doubt. Or at least part of one. Let your mind run wild for a moment — what would you make the rear of this interesting vehicle into?

Who says that RAM is a new brand? Yeah, I know, they only just split from Dodge, but they have been using the ram for a long time. Now, I can lose the ram, but the cloisonne wings? Those are glorious!

The seller tells us that the truck was actually running two years ago when they put it into storage. The tires were new then as well, as well as the brakes. Of course, you are talking about a seller who claims the rust outs in the floor “add to the patina.” Not so much with this potential buyer. Actually, I’m struck by the corrugated steel that’s been added to the roof! Make anything work that you can, right? So I’m left with asking again — what would YOU do with this truck? I’ll let you know my ideas in the comments after some of you have chimed in.


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  1. David

    Bring it back to life. A truck is a truck is a truck!

  2. Mike

    Two options:
    1. Metallic orange paint with green stripes, crate motor with all the blingy billet do-dads, billet wheels, custom brown leather interior with billet steering wheel, oak floors driven by an owner in his 60’s sporting cargo shorts and his favorite hwy 66 themed Hawaiian shirt.

    2. Cobbled together rat rod with that one distracting design choice like bizarre exhaust routing or ill fitting front grill at a weird angle.

    • Eric Barbosa

      Both re re suggestions

  3. Fred W.

    Since the original vehicle had a simple canopy of canvas with a wooden frame (I think), it would be easy to recreate something similar but incorrect. This would be an expensive truck to do right, but a fairly easy one to get running and looking presentable.

  4. Nrg8

    The suicide doors make this. I’m not a purist so maybe turning into a stretch sedan delivery if you could find enough sheet metal to stitch it together on that frame.

  5. Ron Goben

    This appears to be a modified humpback 1 ton panel/bus vehicle. The body has been cut behind the drivers seat where the the raised roof portion would have started. They were built as buses and commercial panel trucks having a longer wheel base and heavy suspension. Here is a picture of one that has been street rodded

    Like 1
    • Nrg8

      Exactly my thought, now seeing it, don’t really like the hump. Rear roof would have to be reworked for the hump and over all height.

  6. Peter S.R. Member

    Do a canvas roof/Fred. Bump it up hump back style. Line the bed with school bus seats and take your friends to the beach…

  7. Don

    I own a 47 Canopy and it doesn’t look like a Canopy. They actually started in 38 and with minor changes remained the same thru 47. I don’t know if there was Canopys made in the previus 31 to 36 versions. There are posts welded in the back to support the back of the roof and the entire roof hand made of wood.
    To totally restore this would take a lot of work since the template for the roof isn’t there and the front of the roov is hand carved to fit in the front of the cab. Believe me I made one and it’s a tedius job. If it’s finished, it will look beautiful.

    Like 1
  8. jdoc

    My first vehicle in 1964 was a 1935 Dodge pickup with suicide doors. I have seen two others recently and know where there is another. This is the first canopy type I have seen. This example is a long ways from being a usable vehicle and will require a dedicated restorer to complete.

  9. Mark S

    Id just restore it to look as original as possible, I’d upgrade to disc brakes but other wise pretty much stock. This done up right would make a good venders truck at the cars and coffee nights whatever you choose to sell. I’d paint it forest green with black fenders and gold pinstripes. I’d also paint the wheel forest green in the centre with gold around the rims.id do the interior in brown leather. As for the engine and drive line I’d go with rebuild all the original stuff and enjoy the experience of the back step in time.

    • Don

      Like I said, if it’s a real Canopy, building a roof will take a lot of patience and knowledge of wood It’s not easy.
      I guess if you’re going to do it, it’s just like any other vehicle that’s in bad shape. It’s a labor of love for anyone. Finding parts for a MOPAR is a full time job.

  10. Marvin Granger

    If you’re going to build a body , build a woody. Before any one says it , no , they didn’t, but they could have. We built one out of an old rusty Power Wagon one time. Just make friends with the guys in the Chris-Craft club. They love working in wood.

  11. hal

    This has the potential to be an awesome creative project ….back to a time frame it came from.
    A true labor of love for sure for a creative thinker.

  12. Sirpike

    What’s the bonnet / hood ornament worth ?

    • Scammell

      The Ram on the radiator is approaching $1k these days.

  13. BHB

    Having just finished 2 wood top replacements on big buicks, my shop is all set up for this. I did find out that the correct bed for these is an interlocking metal kit to be welded in ($1200), nevertheless I was high bidder out of 24 for this, but to no avail. Reserve not met!!! El-dud-O

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