Solid and Cheap: 1953 Dodge Pickup

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These early Dodge pickups with the dual engine hoods area beautiful and interesting. This Dodge is solid, but is in need of mechanical help. The head has been pulled off of the block and the engine is rusty now, so one would be looking at a rebuild, or an engine of their choosing.  Bidding has reached $365.00 with the reserve unmet, but the buy it now price of $3,000 seems very reasonable for this old Dodge. Find it here on ebay out of Springfield, Oregon.

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The flat head inline 6 has seen better days. When the head was pulled there may have been some hope of reviving this engine, though we assume the head was pulled for a reason. The inline 6 sends power through a floor shifted manual transmission. There is still plenty of paint left in the engine bay, and though there is rust, there doesn’t not appear to be any rot.

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The interior is simple, and looks exactly like what one would imagine an old truck looks like. The dash looks to be complete, and has some light surface rust sprinkled here and there. The steering wheel has some cracking, but does not appear to be brittle like some old and very dry rotted steering wheels. The gauges look pretty good as well, though we are sure they would need a little help to return to operational duty. The original seat is there, and wears very little of its original upholstery. Though there is plenty of horse hair, and the frame looks to be in good shape to use for a recover. Rot is present in the cabin, as the floors are a little crispy, but manageable. The exterior of this Dodge has a nice patina, with surface rust present, but dents and rot are at a minimum. Having originally been green, this Dodge at some point has been repainted black. The black paint has held on pretty well, as surface rust is minimal, and is primarily on the running boards. The sides of the truck bed have a fair amount of surface rust as well. There are plenty of these trucks that pop up from time to time, but this truck in particular is a very solid example, with minimal rust. The rear window in this Dodge is cracked, but the rest of the glass looks clean and clear. The grill has been painted, but we wonder what a little striper would show us after the paint has been removed? The Bed walls are solid, as are the rear fenders. The tailgate is nice and looks dent free as well. The truck bed itself is still there, but is a little tired. It would likely hold some lighter weight items, but otherwise it has a suitable look that matches the patina of this Dodge.

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We are sure this Dodge will get snatched up quick due to its solid condition and affordable price. What would you do with this old Dodge? Restore it, maintain it, rebuild the engine, or swap a newer engine of your choice?

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Comments

  1. Mitch

    Find the book “Truck” by the late John Jerome. He tells of fixing up a ’50 back in the early 1970’s to make a daily driver of it, & all the interesting problems that came with it. Good read.

    • David Wilk Member

      One of my favorite books, by a fine writer.

      • Pete W.

        Still on the shelf upstairs in our “library”. I’ve read it a dozen times, myself.

        That scene in the junkyard when intestinal distress hits still makes me laugh.

  2. Terry J

    Hey! Springfield Oregon! That’s my town. If I didn’t already have 3 projects going….. That truck series has gotten so popular that there is even a national Club.

    From the website of the Dodge Pilothouse Era Truck Club of America:
    We are dedicated to the preservation, repair and restoration of 1948 – 1953 Dodge and Fargo Pilot-house (B Series) trucks. Our goal is to offer the general public a delightful and informative insight into this dynamic historical transportation era our 20th Century. :-) Terry J

  3. Dave

    Viper/SRT10 swap…

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Those old Pilothouse trucks are coming into their own as time goes on. I’ve always liked them, especially the ’48-’52 models with the smaller rear fenders. I’d fix this one up, right down to the engine. It’s pretty hard to ruin one of these; you pretty much have to kill them with a stick. Yes, the rusty cylinders do indicate an overhaul in the making but I wouldn’t give up on it; I’ve brought some rusty motors back from the dead before, and this one doesn’t look too bad. I’m pretty sure this one is still running the old Warner T-9 crashbox. Either upgrade it to a T-98 or get used to double-clutching. Someone is going to enjoy this project…

    • Mark S Member

      Geomech I think your right with some diesel fuel and some careful bushing on those Pistons I’d be willing to bet that this engine would free up and run again. The cab is a bit of a mess but not impossible to clean up. I’m a fan of these dodge flat head engines. So my vote would be to restore this truck to original condition.

      Like 1
  5. jaygryph

    Man…I had a pair of these but with the pilot house cab that has the corner windows. sold the pair for like $2k…or maybe it was $1200…it’s been a while ago. Regret selling them now that I know a lot more about auto repair. They would have been sweet cruisers and haulers.

    On the other hand, I still have my Galaxie, and some of that money bought some other pretty awesome vehicles so, onwards and upwards I spose.

  6. Ed P

    I would restore it as close to original as possible. The flathead 6 should be rebuildable. The floor is rusty, but a person with good body repair skills should not have to much trouble with this one. Nice find.

  7. Rustytech Member

    I like these old Dodges. I too would do a complete restoration to OE specs. Though not especially powerful, these old flat heads were pretty much bullet proof. I once tried to blow one up intentionally driving it almost 15 to a salvage yard in second gear with the ending knocking badly but she never quit.

  8. 4-Doors-for-my-Tuba

    MY TRUCK!

    My first vehicle in 1971 was a 1953 Dodge “Job Rated” truck, painted red; original paint without patina. I bought it for $350 from one of my high school teachers. It had one very small dent in the rear fender, about the size of a silver dollar. Otherwise it was perfect metal. No rust anywhere. 35,000 miles, but all of them as a prune orchard work truck. Lots of first gear.

    But… when on an extended trip it would not go fast enough for me, it loved to go 55 mph. I was in a hurry to get home from a camping trip. I got it up to 74 MPH occasionally going down hill from the top of the Sierra Nevada down to the Central Valley. It didn’t ever drive right after that. The idiocy of misspent youth.

    My dad and I pulled the head and bottom end, removed the pistons and found I had blown little holes in the aluminum pistons. We sold it for a bit more than what I bought it for even though it was not running.

    My replacement car was a 1963 Chrysler 300 2 door with a three speed manual and factory floor shift. That car liked 130 MPH.

    • Uberladen 69

      Plus one dammit!!!

      • 4-Doors-for-my-Tuba

        Or a few more… I loved that truck. Just not the speed it traveled.

  9. Chris Buchaniec

    calling gas monkey garage…..crate hemi, cragar mags otherwise leave be

  10. Steven

    Nice and if it was a D200 longbed I would want it , awesome Restomod project body on a late model frame as longbeds look cool with big tires and wheels..

  11. Texas Tea

    These trucks can also make good yard art. Maybe that would be wall art as in the 48 I have. However this would make a good project as a whole truck. I like it.

  12. Howard A Member

    I had a truck very similar to this, only it was a 5 window cab. If you want a rebuilder, this is pretty typical of what you’ll have to deal with, everything. Dodge was a classy truck, very popular in the midwest. I believe, the only thing chrome on the grill was that center “job-rated” piece, otherwise they had painted grills. Mine was in similar condition, never got it running, but sold it in the late 80’s for $250. Again, same thing, depends what you want to do with it. DD down the interstate, late model guts. Putt-putt around town, nothing wrong with what it has. Can’t go wrong here.

  13. Ben T. Spanner

    I am very old. My Father was, at one time, was a Dodge man. He bought a 1951 Dodge Wayfarer convertible brand new off the showroom floor. 4 or 5 years later, on one of many driving vacations, emphasis on the driving, the headgasket blew.

    We were in Kentucky and limped into a garage. They had the gasket hanging on the wall. Two guys had the job done in no time. The picture with the head off triggered this memory. Later on the same trip, a rear spring broke in Texas. The mechanic’s helper drove to the junkyard on a Sunday and torched off a replacement spring. No problem, off we go again.

    That car never had a problem except when on vacation.

    • Ed P

      Homesickness?

    • Terry J

      Sidetrack: Have a Pal who restored a ’49 Wayfarer convertible . Odd… it was a convertible but did not have roll up windows, but side curtains like an old British sports car. To be different he put in a slant 6 with an auto. He had a triple SU carbed manifold and H.P. cylinder head that were factory pieces that he got from Australia. Duster front end. Very nice car. He just sold it this year after many years of enjoyment. He needed the cash to fund his Morgan purchase. :-) Terry J

  14. David Frank David Frank Member

    Bidding is ending in a few hours and it hasn’t even reached $600. Is there no love for this old Pilothouse? The 1948 I wrote up in September went for $3250 and many of you had very kind words for it, thank you.It wasn’t running but the engine was together.

    http://barnfinds.com/1948-dodge-pickup-old-blue/

    • Dave Wright

      What a difference a couple of little Windows make.

  15. Seth

    If it was on the east coast I would jump at it

  16. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Reserve not met at $1,025. 28 bids.

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