A True Hybrid: Toyota-Powered 1946 Dodge Truck


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How is this for an unusual build? This is a chopped 1946 Dodge pick up truck mounted on 1980 Toyota running gear! Only in California will you find a car like this, it seems. This truck is listed for sale here on craigslist in Pacific Beach, near San Diego. I am guessing this will be a polarizing vehicle – we’ll either love it or hate it, but probably no one will be in between about it.

I love that modern art style firewall and the overall look is very cool. On the other hand, I am not in love with the way the front end looks.  With the fairly radical chopped top, the grille section in gray looks kind of massive and clashes with the rest of the truck. Maybe it needs a bit of chrome, or to be cut down in some way. Even painting it white to match the rest of the truck would help.


I have some other questions too. Is this vintage Dodge mounted on a Toyota truck or passenger car frame and running gear? It’s hard to tell from the pictures and the ad copy says nothing about the engine either. And how about the interior and truck bed? The body of this truck looks amazingly solid, and even knowing very little about it, the whole thing comes off really well.

The ad itself is a perfect example of the minimalist craigslist ad (too short for me): “Chopped 46 Dodge Pickup on 80 Toyota Running Gear. Perfect Running Condition.”


I’d love to know more about this truck and at the seemingly reasonable asking price of $10,000, if I lived anywhere near San Diego, I would be all over this one. I like this builder’s concept, combining the pleasure of driving a vintage truck with the reliability of a more modern Japanese running gear. Think about how cool the test drive would be.

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  1. Glenn from Wisconsin

    Somewhere between dumb and dumber.

    Like 1
    • krash

      lol….funny, Glenn!!

      Like 0
  2. Blindmarc

    I’ll bet it passes smog, and get descent gas mileage.

    Like 0
  3. grant

    Ok. The first question is “why” but we will all have different opinions there, and theres no one good answer. It’s probably reliable anyway. That nose needs to be chopped in proportion to the top chop, and it needs some color. Those lines are just classic. In anywhere but California 10k is probably a crack pipe price unless the platform it sits on is fairly new. It’s interesting anyway.

    Like 0
  4. jimbosidecar

    I’m guessing a Toyota truck as I don’t think they made very many rear wheel drive platforms in their car line.

    Like 0
  5. Donnie

    done much better then yesterdays DELROEAN on a bronco frame

    Like 1
  6. Andrew Minney

    Only my view but again why. A good truck rated better than this. If I got it I’d rip out the rice burner motor and put in a proper lump. Then change that front end.

    Like 0
  7. DREW V.

    I normally don’t bash the vehicles posted here but, this is one of the ugliest vehicles I have seen here. It’s funny because I love the old Dodge trucksbut this one just looks fugly… Oh well one mans trash another mans treasure…

    Like 0
  8. JayGryph

    I’m the ass for that seat.

    I’m guessing it’s a pickup frame which is a nice fully boxed steel frame, likely a half ton truck which is around the right size for use on that era pickup. You get independent front suspension, front disk brakes, a tough, if physically small, rear diff, common ford/toyota/jeep 5 lug bolt pattern, a simple wire harness, and a compact 4 cylinder that you can buy ample bolt on performance parts for.

    It will drive and run out better than that truck in stock form ever could have dreamed, and will do it for many many miles. There are youtube videos of toyota 20r and 22r engines running with pistons blown out both sides of the block, which itself is something of a feat.

    10K, it would really depend on the rest of the build quality. If it’s a hack job, not so much.

    People don’t bat an eye at running S10 running gear under a hotrod because it’s a ‘murrican brand, but this, lord help us is an abomination because them furiners built it. Sacrilege! Nevermind it’s a running gear that’s proven time and time again to be outstandingly sturdy, reliable, and easy to get parts for.

    Food for thought, here are some of the performance parts you can get for a toyota engine. https://www.lceperformance.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=16759

    I personally would rock this truck all over town with some hop up parts.

    Like 0
  9. skloon

    Great idea for a car show- combine chopped with car building- you get a pile of unrelated car parts and have to build something out of it -in 72 hours

    Like 0
  10. mark

    Paint it and haul it around to car shows. As a driver………………..with that radical of a chop top…………….Not very useful.

    Like 0
  11. Jason Houston

    Gives new meaning to the term, “rubbish truck”. Don’t know which is worse, the crack pipe collector or the destroyed truck. Please rent a backhoe and give it a proper burial.

    Like 0
    • Mark S

      DI’m so glad that there are open minded people unlike yourself. It’s not my personal old car cup of tea but in ok with others liking it. If it were mine I’d put a hood on it with the sides left open, I’d also paint it something a lot darker that white is killing its looks. i think this would be a fun daily driver.

      Like 1
      • JayGryph

        I for one think the truck is a great idea.

        I would really really like to know what Jason up there drives, and what his credentials for being such a stick in the mud are. Honestly, were this my site, he’d be banned and the community would be better for it. I would entirely play favorites with commenters. Currently, he’s the only one I’d actually have blocked.

        Disagreeing and having personal tastes are one thing. Spitting negative unhelpful and spiteful vitriol at everything you dislike takes the comments section of this site and makes it akin to reading Youtube comments. It drags the rest of the community down with the squeaky wheel.

        Honestly that’s why Reddit, for it’s flaws, seems to have a better commenting model. Comments can go on for as long as they need, with as many replies as they need, but with community up and down voting on particular comments you tend to find more helpful and insightful discussion going on at the top of the threads, and the unhelpful or abusive behavior languishing largely unseen at the bottom, which frankly, is where it belongs.

        On the up side, the reactions to building a vehicle like this just to go against the grain of people like him is a large part of what drives my tastes in the automotive fandom. I imagine I’m not the only one. Haters can be motivation.

        Like 0
      • Bobsmyuncle

        “I’m so glad that there are open minded people unlike yourself.”

        Isn’t that the truth?

        Like 0
  12. PerMember

    I am agree.

    Like 0
  13. Rick

    Cool – like the stance too

    Like 0
  14. Alan (Michigan)

    Like the truck or not, everyone might agree with this:
    REAL money, $10K…. merits more than 3 mediocre photographs and a single line description. Cheeze.

    Like 1
    • Jason Houston

      You sure got my vote on that.

      Like 0
  15. Jim Mc

    I’m an old-school MoPar guy so this isn’t exactly my thing to begin with. I’d have left it near stock. But….I can’t bag on it too hard, it’s San Diego, a world away, and my taste[s] are suspect to begin with. That said….
    1) shave the nose. If you’re gonna chop it, bring down the nose, too. As it is, it just looks like that girl with the big schnozz who has her ponytail pulled back waaay too tight.
    2) I like the kidney bean mags but they’re the wrong color and the tires are too small. Re-paint and bigger slicks will go a long way.
    3) Lose the stance. Along with the bigger tires, a couple inches up on the shocks will do worlds for this truck. Not too high, just a few inches. It will actually make it look tougher and more balanced on the whole compared to what it looks like now, especially with the severe chop. The $$ will be there if done right.

    My opinion. Worth nuthin’, just sayin’…..

    Like 1
    • Jason Houston

      And I can add a few tips to make it a really nice truck. Add some lakes pipes, a fox tail on the antenna, some fuzzy dice on the mirror, some met. purple rear fender skirts, dingle balls around the inside glass, a chain license frame that lights up, make the bed jump up and spin around, put some really good rap at 3,000 decibels, add a front license frame that says “ass, grass, or gas, no one rides for free”, get some nail-polish red wheel rims and 1940 Buick whitewalls, a ’54 Pontiac grille bar, then add some jazzy flames coming out of the hood to make it look like it goes really fast, add on some 1955 Packard taillights, a go-kart steering wheel, and a skull and crossbones bobble-head on the dash. Then take it to Barrett-Jackson and watch the money roll in!

      Like 0
      • Jim Mc

        Mr. Houston, you must have glossed over the sentence where I said “I’d have left it near stock”. I’m not big on this build but my comment was meant towards making lemonade out of sour yellow. I am still trying to figure out what your comment is trying to address. Sounds like pointless snark to me. My opinion, nothing more.

        Like 0
  16. MountainMan

    Personally I like the build. Cheaper to run than a V8 and super reliable. The chopped top is too short for my taste but taking the grill and chopping about 6 inches out would likely improve the looks quite a bit. The price seems high but its craigslist so maybe seller will have some room to come down a couple grand at least. Finally, it would need to be looked at in person obviously to really asses the build quality and determine an exact value.

    Hard to say why some folks feel the need to be so negative. I dont understand taking the time and energy to spew out such unhappy comments. If you see something you dont like then why even click on it?

    Like 0
  17. Jay

    There are a surprising number of resto rods turning up on an unusual chassis. Usually because inexperienced builders look for a donor vehicle with a similar wheelbase and track.
    Sometimes this presents more challenges down the road, but gets the job done-if you can’t weld and fabricate yourself.
    Is it worth 10k?
    Not likely.
    If it was on a Dakota chassis with a V8, maybe…but, to each their own I guess…
    I’m building a supercharged AWD 1938 Chevy pickup on a Sonoma chassis.

    Like 0
  18. Bobsmyuncle

    I think this is the natural progression of hot rodding.

    As the classics they are built on become so expensive that they are either unattainable or unsuitable for anything but an OEM restoration I think you will see more and more alternative builds.

    And really, that IS what hot rodding was all about.

    Like 1
    • Jason Houston

      Was? You mean it’s finally coming to an end? And we can have our hobby back?

      I want to throw a block party! All you can eat steak! lobster! caviar! and champagne for everyone!


      Like 0
  19. Woodie Man

    Talk about a polarizing build! Not for me but what the hell. Maybe thirty years ago I came close to buying a 3/4 ton ’46 Dodge truck in Lemon Grove, California east of San Diego. A wonderful old lemon farmer and his wife had used it before the encroachment of low rent suburbia wiped out his lemon groves. two tone black and blue…..I have a picture of it somewhere

    Like 0
  20. Gary I

    That needs a monster turbo diesel put in it, with huge pipes and belching black smoke. It looks too aggressive for a little engine. I’m humoring myself of course!

    Like 0
  21. Jim

    California, land of smog regulations to punish old cars and car guys. I’d pass on this truck, and I’ll keep my rude comments to myself. I do agree with everyone, the grill shell must be in proportion to the truck. It looks like a turd in a punchbowl.

    Like 0
    • Jason Houston

      Thanks for saying “turd in a punch bowl”. I first heard that term used by a crabby old man who offended us young kids by saying that Henry J’s were just that. It’s one hella adjective, and certainly fits that ugly turn in a punch bowl. So, thanks!

      I know an easy way to get the grill to align with the cab: run it through the crusher.

      Like 0
      • MikeG

        You sir, are the classic comments section troll.

        Like 0
  22. bobhess Bob HessMember

    Freshman year in high school we found a ’41 Willis coupe for $50. Didn’t have an engine until one of the other kids involved said his father had a ’49 Nash overhead valve six and transmission he would donate. Stuffed it in and came up with a light weight car with enough power to make it worth taking to the drag strip. This truck isn’t that much weirder…. Bob

    Like 0
    • Alan (Michigan )

      I read that one and just can’t resist grinning thinking about it, Bob. Thanks for sharing!

      Like 0
    • Jim

      Any chance you still have the Willy’s sitting behind the garage, I’ll be there in a few minutes! It’s on my bucket list of cars to build, when I was a kid my first time to the dragstrip the Willy’s and Altereds got my addiction started, I couldn’t get enough.

      Like 0
  23. JCW

    For me the thing is out of perportion with the chop so severe it looks like a person would with a shrunken head. I feel it makes the fenders and grill look oversized. If you could somehow with paint fool the eye and add some chrome wheel to draw attention away from the top it would make this more eye pleasing. Still would need to chop the grill or maybe add a big blower. Good concept poor follow through.

    Like 0
  24. AMCFAN

    I think it is an awesome build. I would change a few external things to suite my taste but that is it. The Toyota driveline is a fantastic idea. You could drive all day on $10. and know it was going to get you home at dark. Those Cali guys are true innovators.
    If he had used a Twin turbo 2JZ Supra in the boiler room I am sorry to say it would smoke anything ‘meracon you could put in it.

    Like 0
  25. Jim

    First, the pickup weighs double what the Toyota weighed, forget 10mpg. What kind of knucklehead would waste a 2jz twin turbo motor on a 4000+lb pickup that handles like a top heavy brick? I’d love to watch a fabricator plumb the twin turbos, exhaust and fit a decent size intercooler in that relatively narrow engine compartment. I’ll bring him the Tylenol! I love brilliant statements like “it’ll beat anything American”, anything is a big category. There’s always someone faster, the deepest pocket usually wins. Stick to being a keyboard warrior without the insightful commentary, it’s better for everyone. Have a good day.

    Like 0
  26. AMCFAN

    Jim, Since this is a hybrid build using a Toyota motor and since I am located behind my keyboard in America I am entitled to have an opinion. Just like you are. Like the choice or not.
    The builder isn’t clear if using the Dodge or Toyota or any other chassis or specifically what the motor came out of. Taco, T100 or Hino? Depending on the answer would determine weight and fuel mileage. Regardless would be pretty dependable and get good fuel economy is where I was going with this. However in staying with a Toyota power plant why not add the biggest baddest? Not too many even know what a 2JZ is. Glad you do. So you want to hate on a build like this hate it even more if its fast.
    Plenty of Youtube vids of 2JZ swaps lots of knuckleheads out there. Not just for Supra’s anymore. In building this Rat truck with the 2JZ swap I had assumed a custom chassis with using the Dodge body panels lightened. Sorry I wasn’t clear. To install a intercooler wouldn’t be an issue nor would pluming. The guys here buy mandrel bends and cut and weld. Not rocket science. One thing I can agree on is that fast = money. Running a JDM Turbo motor is good value per dollar compared to many V8 buildups.
    Keep your Tylenol for yourself and your bad attitude and a nice day to you :)

    Like 0
  27. Joe Winter

    This is my TRUE 1946 Chevy Prius Hybrid Truck. Powerplant is a fist generation Toyota Prius Hybrid. I’m currently finishing up this build. My goal is to keep the stock farm truck appearance yet get 40+ mpg.

    Like 0

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