Dodge lorry rebuild Dodge truck restoration

More restoration done to this ex-WW2 American lorry.

Restoration Part 30. Click here to return to the main Dodge lorry restoration page. Part of oldclassiccar.co.uk. Contact page.

Jan/Feb 2010.
Heavy snow, and illness amongst some staff at the workshop, meant that work on the truck resumed two or three weeks into the new year. Most of the progress during January and February was concentrated in the rear end of the lorry's body. Completion of the rear flooring had to be a priority, but before that could finally be laid, various pieces of the side panelling had to be installed. It was hoped that the engine would have been fired up by now, but for various reasons this didn't happen. Hopefully March will see the engine fired up for the first time since its rebuild, and progress resuming on the exterior panelwork. Various meetings have taken place over the two months, in a bid to see the vehicle finished for mid/late April. This is definitely an aggressive deadline, but everyone is keen to see the lorry finished by then. There is still much to do, but my fingers are crossed.
Re-furbished instrument
A few months previously, the lorry's temperature gauge had been sent away for overhaul, and to have a new feed pipe made for it. New-old-stock lenses have been fitted to both rectangular instrument clusters. Unusually, the lettering is printed on the glass, rather than the instrument face.
Lining the rear coachwork
In January, the newly-made lower side panels were painted and fitted. They originally acted as kick plates, for when the Dodge carried aircrew to their aircraft. Rows of seats would have been in place, their outer frames attached to a box section that runs down either side of the body. Although not required for its post-war life as a car transporter, these sections were re-instated. The inner arches have also been painted and fitted. They are dented for a reason - during the early 1950s, the truck was used to carry not just the Alfa, but also a DB3 Aston and, on another occasion, a Connaught. It was found that a car's bodywork tended to foul the lorry's arches when being winched aboard. To get around this, the arches were hammered down and pieces of wood screwed in, to give sufficient clearance for any car to be loaded without damage. Each piece of wood was numbered and removed, and will be re-fitted shortly. The wall insulation has also been cut to size, and installed prior to the re-panelling of the interior.
Ply-lining the interior
Next job was to cut and fit the ply lining to fit inside the body, echoing the original construction.
Front doors
Both front doors also needed new linings, as will various areas of the cab. The front door frames are largely original, although the skins had to be replaced due to the attentions of the "metal moth" (rust).
Work inside the lorry's rear body continues
Work continues with the ply-lining. Bill has a background in working with commercial vehicle bodies, and has a good eye for the detail when it comes to this kind of work. Leaning against the new ply are the original pieces that fit to where the roof joins the body sides. These will be re-made, and the original brass air vents re-instated. The partition behind the driver's seat has yet to be restored at this point, new ply will again be used but the original window and all the steel framework can be re-used. The winch fits to the floor, just behind the partition.
Window frames made from pine
As soon as the ply has been installed for the final time, the framing around the rear windows can be made and screwed in place. The original sections fell to pieces when they were removed. I took a sample to a local joinery firm, and they made new sections out of Columbian Pine, rebated as necessary. They also made up new lengths of wood beading, to fit over the joins in the plywood. All the ply has been treated, and once painted should look as good as new.
More new parts to help the restoration
Some more goodies that arrived in the post. New petrol filler neck grommets could now be crossed off the list, as could rubber door bumpers. Also seen here, wing piping, and bonnet welting to fit on the bulkhead and the nose cone, to prevent the bonnet chafing. All being well, the front end body panels will be prep'd and primed shortly.
The plan for March, I'm told, is to finish the rear body inside, and prime the exterior of the vehicle. Before priming can commence, there is still some minor rectification work to be done, and the entire body prepared for painting. The engine seems to be slow turning over, probably down to the work that has been done to the crank and bearings during the engine's overhaul. A few test runs should help it loosen up, so hopefully this will happen in March. Other jobs still outstanding include re-assembling the screen and frame, completing the wiring, installing and testing the brake servo (but only once the motor runs), fitting and testing the lights, and various detail jobs.

Flashback to 2000.

As mentioned, the engine needs to be fired up to test it out, prior to the front end panelling going on. I recently dug out an old VHS tape from 2000 that shows the Dodge running in the barn I once stored it in. Prior to firing it up, I dropped the sump off to clean out (with a spoon) the old oily gunge, and checked over the carb. A temporary ignition circuit was put together, and a fuel feed provided by a tank sat on the front wing. After some experimentation, the old girl fired up, and is seen in this Youtube video on a subsequent test. I'm looking forward to see how it sounds now, some 10 years or so later. Note the other interesting old vehicles stored there. Commentary by dad :-)

Alfa Romeo model.

In February, I learnt that a limited edition model of the Poore Alfa 8C-35 had been introduced by ABC Brianza. The company make specialist kits, and had produced this basic model, requiring assembly, for a while. However in January they brought out this version, assembled at the factory, replicating the Poore car in hillclimb trim. Built to 1/43 scale, mine is no. 8 from 500.
ABC Brianza model of the 8C-35
ABC Brianza model of the 8C-35 photo 2
Return to the Dodge lorry restoration page for more info on this rebuild.
Previous Page: Part 29 - Rear flooring, propshaft installation.
Next Page: Part 31 - Painting of the lorry commences.
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