Fluid-Drive Transmission: 1950 Dodge Pickup Truck

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I can see lots of potential and different possibilities for this 1950 Dodge B2B truck, a pretty easy one being to park it in front of a business and paint your company information on the doors, as has already been done by a previous owner in the past.  On the other hand, this one’s just too cool to sit around all the time and deserves at least some street time, and the pickup is already running so that’s not going to be a problem!  The half-ton currently resides in East Galesburg, Illinois, and can be checked out here on Craigslist, with an asking price of $8,500.

Thank you, Gunter Kramer, for the great tip on this one!  Dodge produced their B-Series trucks from 1948 to 1953, with the seller pointing out the high-visibility cab, also known as the pilot house, a neat feature that Dodge did not continue on the subsequent pickups.  He’s owned it for about a year but now needs room for another project, and thankfully, so far nothing has been done to that really cool patina paint.  I realize opinions vary about aged finishes, but it seems to fit right in with this truck’s personality, and for that reason, I’d be somewhat hesitant to change anything outside.  Alternately, I can also envision this one restored to a bright shiny look, so it’s kind of a win-win whatever the next owner decides to do or not do.

According to the seller, the motor was rebuilt about 12,000 miles ago and is said to be running great.  During the last year, he has also replaced spark plugs, added a new battery, and changed the fluids twice.  And speaking of fluids, this one is equipped with a Fluid-Drive transmission, a Chrysler trademark that replaced the flywheel with a fluid coupling, which sort of acts similarly to a modern-day torque converter.  The seller states this component is working properly, and he also mentions that the brakes have received a great deal of attention recently.

Inside you’ll find a very basic interior, which looks pretty decent overall plus there’s a new seat covering and also new seat belts.  Unfortunately, there’s some rust present too, said to be most noticeable in the floorboards and caused by some water leaking in.  It’s been temporarily remedied by old license plates being installed over the holes, which isn’t a bad idea from an appearance standpoint, but if you’re going to do any serious driving a more solid repair might be in order.  How would you move forward with this 1950 Dodge Pickup?

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Comments

  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Very cool ol Dodge! They’ve done some good work and for the price it looks like a steal.
    However, I’d sure want more and better views of the underside..

    Like 8
  2. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Another cool find,,,if it was 1967. I’m not sure the fluid drive is a plus for folks who can’t shift, or a minus. I think I’d have trouble with it. Do I use the freakin’ clutch or NOT!! Not to sound like a redundant cell phone commercial, but it’s all about usage. 2 miles to Walmart? Perfectamundo, I-70, not so much. License plate floors, nice touch, when license plates were made of real metal. Probably worth a fortune right there. When I see stuff like this, that someone spent some cash on to make it 1950 again, seems like such a waste. Someone will completely transform this truck with,,yep, and LS something and clown wheels and puffy interior,, as is, it has little appeal for the future.

    Like 3
  3. Yblocker

    I like the 50s Dodge pickups, although the later 50s are much better looking. Unfortunately, they never sold well, and were never overly popular with collectors, so there’s not much in the way of reproduction parts, you’re pretty much at the mercy of salvage yards. If the motor was rebuilt 12,000 miles ago, seems like they could have at least sprung for a couple cans of spray paint. But if it’s good, I’d replace that transmission with a manual.

    Like 2
  4. JohnfromSC

    If you are anywhere decent with a spray gun, I think this is bargain. Ok, budget $1K for someone to weld in a new floor. But look at that engine compartment! It appears highly original and no extraneous holes in the firewall. Easy to clean up and look great.

    Paint the cab to match the interior red. If the brakes, etc. are good, you get a really nice truck that is a refreshing alternative to a Chevy 3100 for likely half the price.

    Like 5
    • Yblocker

      Anything is a refreshing alternative to a Chevy anything.

      Like 12
  5. Will Fox

    I’d (properly) fix the rusty floor holes, as that can be a health issue with exhaust gases. Otherwise, tidy it up and drive it as is!

    Like 6
  6. Fred

    I’d keep the fluid drive. You drive it like a regular 3 speed stick but you can stop in any gear without using the clutch. You can start from stop in any gear (although it would be really slow in third!). So you can keep it in second around town and never touch the clutch until you want to shift into third or reverse. I’d fix the floor and drive it as is.

    Like 5
  7. Your pal, Steve

    Seems these old dodges never get as much love as their Ford and Chevy cousins of the same era. I have a sweet faded green ’51 parked in front of my barn that serves as a great backdrop to bluegrass concerts, and though my wife considers it eleven hundred dollars of yard art, it does start and move when coaxed with liberal amounts of starter fluid (“old truck meth” as my fellow old truck buddies call it).
    I never quite understood what the fluid drive transmission does, but I do know you cannot tow start it, so what started as a jump start ended up being a tow all the way across the neighborhood.
    Also, driving it is like herding geese down the road at 35 mph…and you do a lot of smiling and waving at impatient Teslas piling up behind you.
    These are tough old trucks- you can put 8 railroad ties in the back and it won’t squat a bit. I’m going to keep it unpolished to admire the “p”-word while banjos ring from the barn rafters!

    Like 3
    • MGSteve

      Regarding your comment about 8 RR ties not causing it to squat a bit. I had a 58 Dodge D100 1/2 ton for 43 years. Best truck ever. Ultimately, I replaced it with an Isuzu 1/2 ton truck (after I got seriously rear-ended in my beloved ol’ Dodge). Point of my message is: I would oft go pick up a yard of gravel in my ol’ Dodge. Sitting in the cab while they loaded, I would feel the load drop in, the truck would settle, and basically be at the same ride height. I tried this once in the Isuzu, and the front tires were barely touching earth. That was the last load in the Isuzy . . . and I put more effort into resurrecting the ol’ Dodge.

      Like 0
  8. Gary

    I bought one like this in 1989 for 125.00 It had the flat six and fluid drive.
    It even had the patches on the front fenders like this, it is where the fenders attached to the cowl. I still have it and it now has a 351 ford windsor, C4 trans,
    9″ ford rear. I took straight axle out and put a 1979 AMC Pacer front end under it, using the steering column out of the Pacer as well.This swap gave me independent suspension, power steering, rack and pinion steering and lowered ride height. I parted out a 1976 Ford Torino for ford parts. It is painted Corvette bright white. They make great street rods. This particular truck has the base cab [ no corner glass]. My truck has corner glass and is deluxe cab, which is what they called a pilot house.

    Like 4
  9. George Birth

    Nifty old truck. Price is reasonable also which is a plus.

    Like 1
  10. Fred
  11. David KelmMember

    Is the fluid drive transmission the one with a 2 speed forward gears plus reverse, and an overdrive ( underdrive?) vacuum operated, or just a fluid coupling and a regular 3 speed?

    Like 0
  12. Fred

    Just the fluid coupling and regular 3-speed. I think the other version was only used on the big Chryslers and DeSotos.

    Like 1
  13. geomechs geomechsMember

    Although my Uncle Woody owned a Plymouth/Chrysler/Dodge truck dealership he had a hard time swaying my Dad away from his beloved Chevys and Internationals. He finally got Dad into a ‘51 short box with Fluid Drive.

    Dad was building some new corrals at the ranch. He drove that new Dodge to the lumber yard and proceeded to load up. 16 ft. planks in first (of course), shorter planks and posts on top to keep the long stuff seated in the truck bed. All loaded up and the rear was down on the rebound bumpers. A quick stop at Woody’s garage to air those tires up to 60 psi and Dad was on his way.

    Well, what Dad didn’t anticipate was that the front tires were barely touching the ground, and the only way to steer it was to nudge the brakes. From a dead stop you were pulling a wheelie. Needless to say that the 20 mile trip home was dead slow. And that final plunge down the hill to the riverflat where the ranch was did give Dad some anxious moments.

    To make a long story short, Dad sold the Dodge to a good friend up the road and bought himself a new International L-120 which was more than up to the task. Bill, the new owner, continued to use/abuse the Dodge for the next 20+ years until the greatly overstressed frame finally gave up, it’s back hopelessly broken.

    I saw that truck about 10 years ago, still languishing along the fence line with all the rest of the cast off cars, trucks and farm machinery—Bill never traded anything off. I entertained the thought of buying it back, finding a new frame and restoring it. But it’s given so many parts away to other farm vehicles that there isn’t a lot left, not even a stainless emblem telling the world that it has Fluid Drive…

    Like 4
  14. Lowell Peterson

    Fluid drive??? Yeah baby ! Now that is fun to drive and show off to your car buddies. This is the best vehicle I’ve seen today!! Wow! Thanks!

    Like 1

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