Dodge lorry rebuild Dodge truck restoration

July sees the cab stripped of its many layers of paint.

Restoration Part 9. Click here to return to the main Dodge lorry restoration page. Part of oldclassiccar.co.uk. Contact page.

July 2007.
One of the stages I'd been looking forward to since the beginning, was seeing the cab back in its bare metal finish. To get it to this stage required many hours of sanding back, through a number of layers of (sometimes very obstinate) paint, to reveal the original metalwork beneath.

For the most part the condition of the cab, which is original Dodge panelwork upto the top of the screen aperture, was found to be very good, with localised areas needing some panelbeating only. The rear framework, which had yet to be worked on in any great depth, would end up needing much more re-metalling.
Cab stripped of paint at last
Nearside (driver's) view of the Dodge cab, stripped back to metal for the first time in its 67 year life. The truck was shipped from the USA in 1940 as a chassis/scuttle assembly only, that is to say a running & driving chassis, with just the front end panelwork and scuttle, including the screen and surround. The remaining coachwork was designed, built and fitted by Mulliners of Birmingham in late 1940, or early 1941.
Nearside front view of the truck cab
Moving around to the front 3/4 view now. The main areas of the cab were now in bare metal, with just the underbonnet bulkhead area still to do. In-depth work on the rear body frame had yet to start in earnest when this photograph was taken.
Offside front view of the truck cab
This photo of the offside shows that the lower scuttle panel had to be removed for repair, due to signs of an impact during the truck's postwar life. I have details of a couple of crashes that the Dodge was involved in, so it came as no surprise to find that certain areas would need straightening out!
Dashboard view, seen from the rear of the truck
Here is a long shot taken through the gap where the rear doors used to hang, looking through where the Alfa was transported, to the cab and the recently stripped dashboard. As can be seen clearly in this view, the wooden framing above the screen has survived in near-perfect condition and will not need replacement, shielded as it was entirely from the weather. Other areas of wood framing, such as the sturdy rear pillars onto which the rear doors are fitted, will need to be replaced. The plan is to also add in extra reinforcement at the rear to strengthen up the rear corner structure.

The cab was found to be very solid, although numerous fatigue splits in the metalwork were found. This seems to be a frequent occurrence in American trucks for some reason, perhaps the steel used is more brittle than that found in UK-built commercial vehicles? These splits were welded as required, and extra seam welding was applied to the areas where the vertical scuttle and floor panels met.
Full view of the truck once paint had been stripped
This overall view shows the Dodge once most of the cab had been stripped of its paint. The chassis has been sanded back but had yet to be painted. The rear body frame was the next area to be tackled, and proved to be quite a time-consuming job to get right.
Return to the Dodge lorry restoration page for more info on this rebuild.
Previous Page: Part 8 - Starting to re-furb both axles.
Next Page: Part 10 - Fabricating new rear body sections.
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