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1978 Dodge D100 Diesel: Japanese Influence


For the Mopar family, the 70s and 80s seemed to be defined by collaborations with Mitsubishi to introduce Japanese engineering into its product lineup with varying results. For instance, I’ve often thought the Chrysler Conquest / Mitsubishi Starion project was a worthwhile venture, and it remains a desirable car today. I’m a little less certain of anomalies like this 1978 Dodge D100 here on eBay with a starting bid of $400 and no bites. It’s certainly a rare find with the Mitsubishi-sourced diesel powertrain, but be prepared for leisurely acceleration if this one catches your eye. Power was rated at a stirring 105 bhp, a far-cry from the impressive horsepower and torque numbers of the modern Cummins diesels. Regardless, this example is like others we’ve featured lately with a potential connection to municipal service, which at least gives it some interesting history – in addition to being a bit of a time-capsule for the early days of diesel technology.



  1. Mark E

    Meh, slap some wheels and emblems from a Dodge Viper onto it and voilà! The world’s slowest Dodge Viper! Job done…

    • Mark E

      Oh and did you mention the engine is a 243ci straight six? (Checks) Ha, didn’t think so! Just a WEE BIT smaller than a Cummins. Still, this would be a cool truck to have, just to drive around and confound the Dodge ‘experts’ who would insist that it does not exist! ^_^

      Finally, this was not the only diesel engine of this era that had low HP output. Back in the ’80s I drove an International school bus that had a tremendously huge V8 diesel – something like 9+ liters, that put out about 130 or 140 hp. And about 950 lb ft of torque.

  2. Tourdog

    A neighbor and friend of the family had a dodge pickup of about this vintage. I have very few memories of that house, as we moved when I was about 3, but I distinctly remember the day he bought it, because he drove it home from the dealer with a bright yellow Cat Diesel in the bed. He then did the transplant in his garage. I don’t know if the truck came with a stick, but I know it had one once he was done with it.

    At the time that gentleman was working for a very large construction company, driving the biggest of their track equipment. He had a 200+ gal tank in the bed, and a 500 gal tank sunk in the yard at his house. His wife had a diesel mercedes. I am guessing he was buying diesel in bulk through the construction company, or maybe something a little less moral.

    He just couldn’t get the truck he wanted, so he built it himself. I am pretty sure that truck had in excess of half a million miles on it before it was replaced by a factory ford diesel f250

    I think he would have considered a Mitsubishi power train sacrilege.

  3. Ed P

    I remember these being available and I did see one on the Interstate. The diesel option was quite expensive. The engine was installed by a contractor to Dodge per Very low power and very low sales.

  4. Chebby

    The wheels are the best thing about it,and they’re not included! IMO if this was in perfect condition it would be something, but it’s a curiosity at best, and the Cummins diesels were available in basically the same truck.

    • Ronald B Hood

      This goes to Chebby.
      Your comment about the wheels made me go back and take another look,I had came to this site looking for a truck I’d never seen. Happens those are mopar recalled wheels. Just crazy. Did you realize this when you made that statement? Best regards Ron Hood

  5. The Walrus

    You’d have to be one helluvan expert on this extremely rare option to know that the engine in there is correct. The one pic with open hood seems to have somehow defied the laws of physics by being taken from a side street in the next county at a perspective angle below the level of the headlights, yet the photographers shadow tells a different story. Seems bizarre that the only thing interesting or collectable about this 2-wd long bed P.O.S. Edition doesn’t at least get a solid head-shot. With the condition of this rig, the only thing that matters are the aforementioned engine and the vin plate/accessory tags.

    • The Walrus

      The optional horn button is terrific. The fact that it appears the block heater is plugged in during summer months is simply awesome as well. You have to believe that 8-ball air freshener has met its match. I’d make an offer on the treehouse, though.

  6. Karl

    This might be a good purchase if you need a nose clip to fix a better truck, as long as the price stays low (I have a hunch it will). Otherwise, with the boat-anchor diesel and the rusted doors and quarterpanels, I’m lost as to why this would be a good purchase.

  7. jim s

    it is up to $682 with 6 bids. i too think someone wants the motor ,VIN plates, and title. since the motor is mated to an automatic trans i wonder how much time/money to change motor over to accept a manual. interesting find.

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’ve never seen these in the flesh although I know they’re around; I get components from the diesel fuel injection system to go through every once in a while. The injection nozzle tips are readily available but parts for the injection pump are extremely difficult to find. I’ve been able to cross some over to Bosch (which the Mitsubishi fuel system is licensed from anyway) so they can be fixed. Be ready to spend as much on the fuel system as the rest of the motor though.

    It seems to me that International used a similar engine in the Scout Traveler. Same options: Get out and push to get rolling.

  9. Mopar Maniac

    Agree about the Conquest/Starion project. I drove an ’89 Chrysler Conquest TSI Turbo for a couple of years. Helluva car…and just a quick as you’d think. My wife called it the “Little Red Rocket Ship.” It was fun picking your spot in traffic and getting there with room/time to spare. It had 60s on the front and 50s on the back and looked awesome. Miss that car.

  10. krash

    I see (by the photo) that the seller is also including his wife’s method of transport in the sale…

    • Jeff

      have been looking for that doggone broom for weeks, please point it toward Chicago and toss it, it’ll get back to her

  11. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I have a equally rare Chrysler/Nissan 6 cyl diesel engine, the cast alloy valve cover is clearly marked with “Chrysler/Nissan”. If anyone wants it, I can offer it cheap. Was running well when removed [ports properly sealed & engine prepped for storage]. Haven’t got a clue what it fits, but does not appear to be marine. [Cooling system separate from exhaust].

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