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On Its Ear

By Lacey Healy

“They’re so ugly they’re cute,” is how a friend described Dodge “Sweptline” pickups, “you can’t help but like them.” Before Roger Burman at Lakeside Rods & Rides started turning out show stoppers like this, I was completely able to not like them.

It’s not hard to get caught up in the familiar, deciding you only like Chevy or Ford models; easy for your comfort zone to shrink tightly around what you already know. That’s why Larry and Tim Molzen’s ’62 crew cab Dodge is important; it’s going to stretch your definition of what can be a cool truck and open your eyes to a whole new dimension of classic trucking.

Maybe you’ve never seen one of these trucks before, and that seems altogether possible as they aren’t hanging out on every corner, and rarely show up at a local show. There was a ’63 D-100 stuffed with a max-effort, Max Wedge 413 to run in the B/FX class in 1963. It was nicknamed “The Flying Barn Door” for obvious reasons, and turned consistent high 12s at over 108mph. Other than that, memorable D-100s are sparse throughout history. Roger Burman took that fact as an invitation to start restoring them, starting with a ’62 for himself. Next came a charcoal 1965 short bed fleetside, and the brown more-door you see here. Roger called upon Dakota Digital for instrumentation for the latter two; in 30 years we’ve had just a handful of requests for Dodge truck instrument systems, and here was one shop doing two at once? What gives?
Step one in making this ugly duckling a swan was to get it closer to the earth. Nothing makes a vehicle look more awkward than skinny tires and too much wheel-gap. The Roadster Shop was tapped for a custom chassis with beefy 2x6 rails and a 9-inch Ford; a four link locates the rearend while Roadster Shop control arms, spindles and power rack point the way up front. Aldan coilovers are at each corner. Thirteen inch Wilwood discs serve as a backdrop for 20x8 and 20x10 “Columbus” wheels from Hot Rods by Boyd, which are in turn wrapped in Continental rubber.

Motivation comes by way of a Dodge 360 wearing the full Edelbrock top end kit, including the camshaft, aluminum heads, intake and carb. With the power-building parts sorted out, attention was turned to making the 360 look good. The round air cleaner assembly was sourced from Billet Specialties, and Lakeside formed the engine cover/air cleaner surround, as well as the aluminum valve covers. A 727 transmission wearing a Gear Vendors overdrive unit is snugged up behind the block, right between the 2 ½” pipes leading to Flowmaster mufflers.

Since no one has ever seen a Sweptline in person, Roger, Tim and Larry all agreed that the body just needed a gentle cleaning to stand out from the crowd. The body lines were massaged until they were crisp, and the panel gaps were tweaked for consistency. The outside of the D-100 looks stock, but fits together better than they ever did new! Some of the biggest changes are in the bed; wheel tubs and a “bump” in the floor for suspension clearance were formed, but they don’t detract from the overall look. Paint and bodywork chores were tag-teamed in house by Roger and Bobby Hofbauer using PPG products. Varying sheens are used for different effects throughout the truck; the roof and bed utilize flat clear, while the balance of the body is glossy goodness.

Inside, the stock dash was smoothed and houses a stock gauge cluster filled with one-off Dakota Digital VHX analog instrumentation. Directly below is a Flaming River column crowned by a Billet specialties wheel. The spacious crew cab offered a larger canvas than most classic trucks, and Weber’s Custom Interiors went wild! They began by getting some of the large pieces in place; Dodge Intrepid buckets and the stock rear bench. To split up the new front seats, Weber’s worked over the center console from a late model Ram. Brown leather, adorned with round grommets and sewn with a diamond pattern, was stretched over the door panels, seats and kick panels. The small saddle bags on each door tip the styling to a somewhat western-theme.

So what do you do with a four door, 1962 Dodge pickup, after you painted it brown? If this was 2002, you’d park it in the back of a show, probably alone. Luckily in 2015 when the D-100 made its debut, it was the breath of fresh air the scene needed, and it was selected as the Goodguys Truck of the Year-Late. At the 2015 SEMA show, it was hand-picked to hang out at the Meguiar’s Car Crazy booth, another notable honor. Roger was quoted at Goodguys Columbus informing us that “Dodge trucks man..they’re the future!” We weren’t convinced, but smiled anyway. Looking back, however, it seems that 2015 was the year of the Sweptline, and with all those doors the Molzen’s are going places with room for a few friends!



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