Semi-Automatic: 1958 Dodge D100 Short Bed Pickup

Delving into the Barn Finds archives seems to confirm that most of the older Pickups we see hail from the factories of Ford or General Motors. That makes this 1958 Dodge D100 Short Bed a refreshing change, and although it isn’t completely original, it does come with the rare optional Gyromatic transmission. Undoubtedly, it would attract plenty of attention, and the Gyromatic could be an excellent conversation starter at a show or Cars & Coffee. The D100 is listed here on eBay in Fenton, Missouri. Bidding sits below the reserve at $7,200, but there’s still time for prospective buyers to stake their claim on this beauty.

This D100 is a stunning classic with a few custom touches that help it stand out. Its panels wear a combination of Aqua Metallic and Alaska White, with the paint holding an impressive shine. There are no marks or flaws, and the panels are laser straight. The bed is equally impressive, with the lack of scratches suggesting that nobody has been throwing anything in there for a while. The complete lack of rust will attract some potential buyers, with the exterior looking clean and the underside showing nothing beyond the occasional spot of surface corrosion. The chrome and glass are excellent, and the addition of spinner hubcaps and wide whitewall tires give the exterior a classy finishing touch.

Powering this Pickup is a 230ci flathead six-cylinder engine producing 120hp. Although most buyers selected a manual transmission, this classic features a semi-automatic unit called the Gyromatic transmission. The Gyromatic utilizes a fluid coupling between the engine and the clutch, sending the engine power to a two-speed manual transmission with an automatic overdrive unit. The driver selects the gears conventionally with the clutch, but once on the move, easing the gas pedal engages the overdrive unit. This feature effectively transforms the two-speed transmission into a four-speed. It comes into its own in stop/start traffic, where the driver can ignore the clutch pedal and treat the vehicle like a conventional automatic. While it all sounds fine in theory, many people found the operation slow, which explains why the company eventually replaced this unit with a traditional automatic. This D100 is in excellent mechanical health. It starts, runs, and drives beautifully, with this YouTube video acting as supporting evidence.

Although the D100’s interior presents well, it doesn’t reach the same standard as the exterior. There’s nothing horrendously wrong, but the slightly stretched upholstery on the driver’s seat and the carpet marks prevent it from achieving perfection. However, for a driver-grade Pickup, it is definitely acceptable. There are no signs of abuse or neglect, the painted surfaces are crisp and clean, and there is no wear on the wheel. The dash features a couple of spotless machine-turned inserts, and the gauges have clean markings and clear lenses. There is no radio, so occupants might need to tune up their vocal cords for a spot of “carpool karaoke” on long journeys.

Although it remains short of the reserve, this 1958 Dodge D100 Pickup has attracted twenty bids from nine people. It appears to need nothing, with the photos and YouTube video confirming it is in sound physical and mechanical health. That poses the question of where the seller may have set their reserve. Fortunately, I spotted this classic on another site with a sale price of $34,900. If that indicates the potential reserve, the figure is pretty competitive. Would you consider pursuing this beautiful Pickup further?


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Stunning. The interior looks pretty authentic and the outside is gorgeous. The Sixer would really be all anyone would need for short hauls IMHO..
    The transmission “problems” insofar as slow shifting might be a malady we’ve had for awhile since too many “just want it (results) NOW” but I’ve never driven anything with a transmission like this.
    Bob McCloskey, Gaspumpchas, Geomechs, Howard A.,Wayne (A.)? What can any of you guys tell me about it?
    I’d own this in a minute if I could!

    Like 4
    • Pnuts

      I’ve actually had these apart. Was a long time ago but the customer still owned the old Desoto until about 5 yrs ago. I also own a 1950 Coronet that has the 3 speed version better known as fluid drive.The Fluid drive Chryslers, I’ll start by explaining the 3 speed version, is basically a 3 on the tree with a sealed torque converter in front of the clutch. The bell housing is over a foot long. Bolted to the crank with a starter ring gear attached is a fluid coupling (viscous coupling or what most of us know as a torque converter). The back, instead of having a female shaft that goes in to a pump on an automatic trans, is machined flat in to a standard shift flywheel. The pressure plate bolts on here like any standard flywheel. The trans. bolts to the bell housing with the input shaft going in to clutch splines like any other standard trans. You have to use the clutch to change gears but the torque converter lets you start and stop without clutching. You will however be taking off in whatever gear you stopped in. At a dead stop I usually put mine in second and roll off easy and then shift to high. You can turn a corner in high and lug it slowly back up to speed but I usually down shift. These have the same 3 speed trans a standard would have. The Gyromatic has the same setup back to the transmission. Instead of a standard 3 speed they still use basically a standard shift trans but it has two electric solenoids that will shift the standard trans. If you put the shift lever where second gear is on a standard it takes off in a low (basically 1st) gear. Once you get it rolling you let off the accelerator and wait and the solenoid will shift the transmission to what is basically 2nd gear. It clunks as you can imagine like we’ve all done shifting without using the clutch. When the speed, load and RPM all get just right you can shift without the clutch. The shift works much nicer if you release the clutch. At that point your in second gear. To get to high you have to shift the gear lever from the typical 2nd gear position to the high gear position. If you take off with the shift lever in the high gear position the car takes off in second (which is the same gear it shifted up in to before. They are called 4 speed transmissions since there is theoretically 4 different gears it can be in. The low gear it takes off in with shift lever in 3rd gear position and the high gear it shifts up to if you take off with the shifter in the low position is one and the same gear). Once you get up to speed the other solenoid will shift in to high gear when you let off the accelerator again working smoother if you clutch. So basically you usually put the gear shift in what would be the high gear position to take off. Let the clutch out and hold the brake like an automatic. Roll off to the speed you want to shift, let off the accelerator and it shifts to high. Gearing much like an old power glide if the era. They even have a switch on the carb that will down shift (passing gear) at WOT below a certain speed.

      Like 6
  2. Howard A Member

    First, anyone else having problems with “error, page not found”?
    2nd, leave it to BarnFinds to feature a tin can like the Nissan on the previous post, and in the next breath,,,this. What a site, eh? Dodge got such a kick in the bum, on par with Studebaker, or IH. Never had the zing of a Ford or Chevy. Took them 50 years, but they sure got their due. This was/is a sharp truck, although the 6 will be a bit weak. While the cab, that was new for ’58, wasn’t used long as a pickup, it was used in the heavy duty trucks into the 70s.
    To answer Nevadas question, I, if you can believe, shifted every transmission known to man, but never a Gyro-matic. I read, the Gyromatic was the same as Fluid Drive,( Chrysler) or Tip toe shift( Desoto). I believe, fluid drive is merely a manual transmission, but a fluid coupler, or torque converter instead of a clutch. Operation was similar to a manual. The “semi-automatic ” here, was a different deal . Fact is, I’m not sure what the clutch pedal was for? On semi-automatics, I think to change gears, but not starting or stopping. Someone smarter will know, but that’s the gist of it.
    It’s certainly a nice truck, priced right( did I say that?), for what it is.Sorry to throw this in there, but how could anyone compare this to the Asian picks?

    Like 7
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Been having the “Error page not found” for the past 3 months. BF guys couldn’t find anything and probably think I’m going nuts.

      Like 3
      • bobhess bobhess Member

        Just got it getting off this posting…

        Like 3
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        RE: “Error…” notice-thought it was an issue with my internet provider (satellite) so it’s a relief to see it’s not!

        Like 1
      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

        When exactly are you guys getting the error? When clicking an outgoing link, after commenting, or trying to access a page on the site? We will look into to it but need more info. Thanks!

        Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Sunspots maybe? All clear now, Cap’n. I believe it may be an internet provider thing,,or sunspots, as I post early in the morning, and have had issues at that time, more than once. Far as the “re-log in” issue after EAs, I checked my cookie list,,,mmm, cookies,,,and I had like 167 cookie,,,things, from BarnFinds.

      Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Haven’t seen the Dodge Lancer wheel covers in a while. Had them on my dropped ’54 Chevy along with almost every car nut I knew. The ’55 Olds spinners were the other desired covers of the era for the street cruisers. Good information on the slush-o-matic transmission guys.

    Like 4
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Jesse…. Takes two clicks to get back to the listings after commenting. First click gets the comments again and the second one get the Error, no page found. No picture etc. just that note. Click off that and you are back to the listings.

    Like 3
  5. Terrry

    This looks to be the same setup used on early 50s Plymouths called “HyDrive”. You clutched to shift it into gear but otherwise the fluid coupling got you moving.

    Like 0
  6. BlondeUXB Member

    Right out of the Flying Crown barn…

    Like 1
    • angliagt angliagt

      I think they’re vehicles are featured on BringaTrailer daily.

      Like 0
  7. Grant

    Those Dodge Fluid Drive trannies were silly. Too complex and expensive for what you got. This truck with that awesome engine would be perfect with a standard three speed.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Grant, I agree, almost there, but not quite. While the TorqueFlite came out in 1956 for cars, it took a while for trucks, and this was the tail end of the semi-automatic. I read, there was a PowerFlite, a 2 speed fully automatic, but didn’t make it into pickups. I think 1960 was the 1st year for the TorqueFlite in pickups. In the late 50s, automatics, especially in trucks, were a hefty option, sometimes adding 25% to the cost, and some folks, that shifted gears for 40 years, just didn’t trust them, like power steering. To be appealing in todays market, a truck like this NEEDS a fully automatic and something more capable than a WW2 military motor.

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        1959 was the year for the fully automatic Powerflite in trucks. The semi automatic was used (I think) from ’51 to ’58. My uncle sold Chrysler-Dodge from just before the war till ’59. He talked my dad into buying a ’51 Dodge swb with the Fluid Drive. Dad loved and hated it. He said something (in sailor speak) about not being able to pull something out of a pail of lard. He didn’t keep it long but a friend of his bought it and drove it until it literally broke in two (constant overloading with do that) and it sits in the farm fenceline to this day.

        I’ve got a customer with a ’60 International BC-180 with a ‘Select-O-Matic.’ Now if you want something that you might love and hate, try one of those on for size. A 4 or 5 speed transmission with a fluid coupling (you could call it a torque converter if you really wanted to) where the clutch pedal controlled a pressure release valve that diverted the oil somewhere else when you stepped on it, and slammed it in with full pressure when you engaged it. If you ever had to start out with a load on a hill, the unit would suddenly grab, and you would end up with your load on the road behind you. A Jump-O-Matic…

        Like 0
  8. MGSteve

    I owned this “same” truck for 43 years. It was a real workhorse, and for most of its life, never looked like this. Then, I “fixed it up” quite a bit, but it still didn’t come close to this!!!! Beautiful restoration . . . but too pretty to really use!

    Like 1
  9. Shuttle Guy


    Like 0
  10. RalphP

    Bidding up to $11,500 now. Beautiful truck.

    Like 0
  11. scottymac

    Was ChryCo last manufacturer to build a flathead? Or was that Studebaker or Rambler?

    Howard: Wasn’t this engine used in the Thirties?

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Chrysler built the flathead six for automotive use up until around 1968. It was used in the traditional WM300 Power Wagon and there were also a lot of industrial applications which lasted into the 70s. it was based on a design from the 20s and came in displacements from 161 CID to 310. There were (2) different block configurations: 23 and 25 inch.

      Like 0
  12. Lonemalt

    I had two 50 Dodge Coronets. One was a Gyromatic and one was a fluid drive 3 speed. Both were real slush boxes as I recall but reliable. I can’t believe this transmission was still available in 1958.

    Like 0
  13. Joe Haska

    All the transmission comments are interesting, but I am more interested in the truck than the transmission. You just don’t see the old Mo Pars in this body style and condition. I think the bid has reached 17k and it might go much higher using similar Fords and Chevrolet’s in similar condition. I would like to have it but I am sure a large portion of B/F readers would agree with what I would do with it.

    Like 0

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