Dodge lorry rebuild Dodge truck restoration

Deciding which of the Dodge's original panels can be re-used.

Restoration Part 4. Click here to return to the main Dodge lorry restoration page. Part of oldclassiccar.co.uk. Contact page.

May 2007.
In the previous instalment, I laid out pictures describing the stripdown of the Dodge's rear coachwork, which comprises sheets of steel, screwed to an inner frame which is a steel/wood composite. We knew that the panels were in fairly ropey condition, and as they were removed from the lorry after 66 years, it confirmed our initial thoughts that most of it wouldn't be restorable or re-usable. We took some advice on how best to proceed from one or two notable people in the historic racing world, and have decided on a plan of action. The rear coachwork will be re-skinned with new material, and the original panels that still bear the old signwriting, will be preserved, and mounted in some way so that they can be stored safely and displayed with the finished transporter.

Fortunately the large panel fitted above the windscreen by Mulliner, is re-usable and will only require minor attention to the edges where rust has set in.

The front end panelwork (wings, bonnet, scuttle, grille etc) are original American Dodge parts, and are made from a much heavier gauge of steel than the panelling fitted to the rear body, when it was built here in the UK. The front wings have already been restored, thanks to a local panelbeater, and the other front panels just need cleaning up prior to paint. Just to prove how bad the original panels are, take a look at the photographs below!
Rusty windowframes on the offside To begin with, some pictures showing the condition of the bodywork prior to it being dismantled one piece at a time. The offside bodywork is in worse condition than the nearside, I think when the Dodge was left outside the offside caught the worst of the weather. There are also some dents to the o/s frame, probably because the lorry is LHD and gauging the width of the vehicle isn't easy. This photo shows the corrosion that is typical on the offside, here is one of the side window frames and a close-up showing the rot evident in the side panels.
Badly corroded lower edges Still with the offside, and a look at the lower edges where it folds down and under the longitudinal frame, that runs behind it. Both show a fair bit of rot and will need replacing.
Battered panels Sadly re-using the original panels and signwritten signs just isn't feasible, as this photo shows clearly. The deformed rear corner can also be seen at the top left of this photograph. I wish I could re-use all the original panelling, oiling it up to preserve it 'as is', but with rot this bad, careful replacement is the only viable option.
Dented rear corner The vertical rear corners have suffered a lot of abuse over the years, with both the outer skin, and framework beneath, suffering with dents and the ravages of corrosion. Again this will be replaced.
Panels now removed Panels removed from the nearside of the Dodge. These are better than the panels on the other side, but only just. Again, the window frames (steel) are shot and will need to be replaced.
Notwen Oils Same side, showing the n/s/r advertisement for Notwen Oils, one of Poore's sponsors. These crusty panels will act as a template for the signwriter when it comes time to fit the replacement panels and livery.
Ferodo advertising Fortunately these panels came off reasonably well and will be preserved with the vehicle in a separate display.
Dunlop tyres advert The extent of corrosion on the offside is clear in this shot.
Lodge spark plugs advert Not much that can be re-used here either. Dampness had found its way between the various beadings and the steel panelwork beneath, with obvious results. A look along the side of the Dodge showed the panels bowing out, thanks to the rust pushing up beneath the joining strips. No choice but to remove it all and fix things before things got too bad under the skin.
Panel above the Dodge windscreen This massive panel fits above the screen, and fortunately can be re-used with only minor fettling required.
Front wing/fender Flashback to a few years ago, and a look at the offside front wing (fender) before the panelbeater set to work. The edges were bashed to pieces, with rust and iffy patches welded in for good measure over the years. The wings are now restored and ready to be re-fitted when the time comes.
Dodge grille This is the military version of the civilian Dodge grille assembly. Note the two circular holes in the grille. Military Dodges like this were fitted with brush guards at the front, and the support stays protruded through these holes set into the grille. Fortunately this panel is in good order and just needs cleaning up. I'd like to source a better stainless grille trim.
Dodge on axle stands And finally for this page, the Dodge as it looks at this stage, stripped and sat on stands. The chassis will be cleaned up and re-painted, with work continuing on the mechanical side while this takes place.
Return to the Dodge rebuild homepage for more info on this old lorry.
Previous Page: Part 3 - Stripping the rear body panels.
Next Page: Part 5 - Dismantling the engine.
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