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Homepage. This page: Restoration of a historic 1940's Dodge racing car transporter, ex-WW2, later used by Dennis Poore.

Restoring an old racing car transporter.

The transporter shown in this section of the site was a regular at British motor races and speed events in the late 1940s and into the mid-1950s. Venues it frequented included Goodwood (Poore's local circuit at the time), Silverstone, Ibsley, Gransden Lodge, Bo'ness, Prescott, Shelsley Walsh, and many more. Ever since finding the truck in 1995, my plan was to restore it to how it looked in those years, based on early photos such as the one below.
The old car transporter and the Alfa 8C-35 it transported
Vital Statistics
Dodge VK62B 3 ton 4x2
Chrysler Corp., Dodge Division, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Engine size: 331cu in (5.4l)
91bhp (100 gross) at 2800rpm
Compression 5.2:1
5 speed gearbox
Semi-elliptic leaf springs
Hydraulic brakes, servo
10 stud Budd wheels
Auto-Lite electrics, 6v
42mph maximum (governed)
Turning circle 68ft
The following pages document the rebuild and ongoing maintenance of this old racing car transporter, reg. 866 XUB, a vehicle that began life at the Dodge plant in Detroit, USA, back in 1940. This 3-ton Dodge VK chassis was shipped over to Europe late in 1940, and spent its early years being used to carry bomber crews around a wartime base, 'somewhere in England'. Post-war it was sold off to civvy street, where it was purchased and began a new life hauling Dennis Poore's pre-war Alfa Romeo (and other cars) to sprints, circuit races and hillclimbs.

In 1955, Poore's racing career ended, and the historic transporter, along with the car it once carried and the trailer it towed on occasion, were stashed away, not to see light of day again for several decades. The car went on to be completely stripped and rebuilt, but the Dodge did not for many years to come. The photograph above, showing the Dodge with the Alfa, is a re-coloured version of a black and white picture dating to the early 1950s.
The Dodge & trailer, 50 years on
Dodge VK
The trailer that the Dodge once towed
Dennis Poore in the Alfa

The plan to restore this relic of post-war motor racing in Britain.

In 2007 I decided to enlist the services of a restoration firm in Cheshire, the idea being to get the restoration moving along at a quicker pace than hitherto had been the case.

I didn't really have the room at home to pull the old truck apart, and didn't have sufficient free time either, so a plan was hatched to get a local company on board, to do a sympathetic restoration of the old girl. It was moved on a low-loader to the workshop in April 2007, for work to begin.

Relations with the restoration company had their highs and lows, and came to an end early in 2011 prior to the completion of the project, as the instalment for Mar/April 2011 now documents.

But what of the Alfa Romeo? The car went on to a new life in the USA, where it was stripped completely, refurbished, repainted, and put back on the track, to a specification similar to that it had when new in the mid-1930s. My plan with the Dodge was always to re-use as much as was practicable of the original vehicle, to try and keep it as original as possible, and also (theoretically) keep the costs in check, without compromising the finished article in any way. If you have any information on these LHD US-built 3 ton Dodges (as opposed to the RHD Canadian D60 3 ton model), please get in touch, as I'm always interested to hear of spare parts that may be suitable for this, the Dodge VK series.

This area of the website tells the Dodge's earlier history, that of the team and the driver who owned it, the various racing cars it once carried, and describes the rebuild as it took place, some 52+ years since it last drove on the road.

If you can help with my search for items (pictures, parts etc) relating to this Dodge, the Alfa 8C-35, or Dennis Poore, please drop me a line. In 2012 the Dodge featured in a new book on old transporters titled Inside the Paddock - Racing Car Transporters at Work.

In 2014, the restored Dodge was joined by a second transporter, this time a Commer from 1950. Read its story here: Commer Superpoise transporter.

Running-up the engine in 2000.

Dodge heading pic

Dodge Information

The restoration diary may be found further down this page (jump). Below are some extra pages about the history of the transporter and the car it once carried.
A potted history of the truck 1940-2007
The Dodge's history since 1995 in more detail
Team sponsor logos & signwriting
Photos unearthed showing the Dodge in 1994
A model of my truck found in Australia
The transporter post-restoration - gallery of images
Return to Goodwood - Revival 2015
Poore's "high-speed" racing car trailer
Links to other older transporters
Alfa Romeo heading pic

Alfa Romeo Information

More information on the cars that the Dodge once carried, primarily of course the Dennis Poore Alfa 8C-35, of which more below...

The Dennis Poore Alfa Romeo 8C-35


Restoration Diary 2007 - 2012.
The rebuild has been serialised into the following pages, from when it was taken away for the restoration to begin, to it making its first outings as a nearly-completed transporter.

April 2007 Read more Transporting the Dodge to the workshops
May Read more Lifting the engine and gearbox from the lorry
  Read more Dismantling the rear bodywork, and removing both axles
  Read more Assessing the condition of the Dodge's bodywork after being removed
June Read more Stripping the Chrysler 6 cylinder engine to assess work required
  Read more Repairing the cracked cast iron cylinder head using metal stitching
  Read more Sanding down and de-greasing the Dodge chassis
July Read more Dismantling and cleaning the front and rear axles
  Read more Stripping the paint from the truck's cab areas
August Read more Re-furbishing the rear coach body frame begins
  Read more Fixing the cracks found in the iron engine block
September Read more Trial fitting the front end panels and other bodywork issues
  Read more Mention of other work done this month
October/November Read more Further bodywork, first coat of primer to cab, and chassis painted black
December Read more Front and rear axles re-fitted to the chassis, plus further body prep and primer
Jan/Feb 2008 Read more Newly made ash frame sections arrive, brakes are re-fitted, the clutch plate and transmission brake are re-lined.
March Read more HMG Paints Ltd help out with the analysis of the Dodge's original paint colour & type.
June Read more Hubs and wheels are re-fitted, then everything is moved to VHC's new workshop.
July Read more R & E Arnett Ltd work on the engine, crank re-grind, & re-metalling the bearings etc.
August Read more Work commences on fitting the new ash frame sections to the coachwork.
Sep/Oct Read more Throughout September and October, work on the rear re-panelling commences.
Nov/Dec Read more November & December see the roof being installed, along with various trim pieces.
Jan 2009 Read more January sees further engine re-assembly, and assessment of the doors.
Feb/Mar 2009 Read more Fuel tanks are restored, engine & box are re-united, and rear door work continues.
Apr/May 2009 Read more The engine, gearbox and some ancillaries are re-fitted, Dunlop tyres are sourced, and paint begins to be applied to the restored coachwork.
June 2009 Read more The dashboard and gauges are re-furbished, as are various other ancillaries and external lamps, prior to fitment.
July 2009 Read more The wheels are repainted and tyres fitted, fresh oil and batteries are sourced, and other parts restored as necessary.
Aug/Sept 2009 Read more Reclaimed Keruing timber is sourced and machined, prior to fitment in the back, and the window frames are installed.
Oct/Nov/Dec 2009 Read more Pace of progress slows for a few months, yet new fuel/brake lines are fitted, and the troublesome prop is re-furbished.
Jan/Feb 2010 Read more The rear body is lined in ply, and new inner frame surrounds for the windows are sourced.
Mar 2010 Read more Etch primer and undercoat are applied to the main bodywork.
Apr/May 2010 Read more Flatting of paintwork prior to the next application of undercoat.
June/July 2010 Read more Second coat of undercoat, first coat of topcoat, and under-bonnet re-assembly work.
Aug/Sept 2010 Read more More coats of paint inside & out, sourcing of seats and other work.
Oct/Nov/Dec 2010 Read more Final exterior topcoats are applied prior to the signwriter's planned arrival in January 2011. Lots of odds and ends also re-furbished.
Jan 2011 (Part 1) Read more Time for the signwriter to re-create all the original signwriting on this classic lorry.
Jan 2011 (Part 2) Read more Progress on finishing the paintwork and re-fitting parts to the lorry continues at pace.
Feb 2011 (Part 1) Read more All the front end panels and lights are re-fitted during early/mid February.
Feb 2011 (Part 2) Read more The (nearly) completed truck makes a show appearance at Race Retro 2011.
Mar/Apr 2011 Read more The deal with VHC Engineering ends and the truck returns home.
May/June/July '11 Read more Further progress and two local show appearances for the old truck.
Aug '11 - Jan '12 Read more Further testing to try and eliminate a few underbonnet gremlins.
Feb '12 - May '12 Read more More new parts made, and a return trip to Donington after 17 years.
Latest updates & news Read more Updates regarding the truck since Donington 2012, will be added to the forum thread that's been running since '07.

The Dodge and Commer transporters together in 2014
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(This section replaces content originally found on these two other pages on oldclassiccar - 1 2.) Klassische Renntransporter