My 1965 DoDge sweptline, with just 34,500 miles on it, may be one of the most original of its kind in the country. it still retains 85 percent of the original paint, and the custom cab interior is 100 percent original and showroom new. The story behind it is very interesting, and I have complete documentation right back to the original selling dealer.
The past 49 years of my 72 years in Geneva, New York, have been spent running my specialized used car business. for most of those years, I focused on Rolls Royce and Bentley-type cars. restoring a few cars and winning some trophies at an automotive show from time to time was also rewarding.
Although cars have always been my real interest, in the back of my mind I always had the urge to own a Dodge sweptline pickup. every time I saw one of these trucks, the desire to own one grew stronger.
In the second half of 1965, Dodge changed the look of the D-100 models. The fresh new truck came with single, large circular headlamps and a new wider grille. The new bed had double-wall construction, and the tailgate was widened and updated. two custom cab options were offered, one for appearance and one for comfort. This model includes beautiful cloth and vinyl seating, an armrest for the driver, two sun visors, a cigar lighter, and a nice set of chrome options around the gauge group and lower switches.
Cassen’s and Son, Inc. of Edwardsville, Illinois, was keen to order one of the new models in arctic Blue with sand Dune White wheels and bumpers. it had the everlasting slant six with a three-speed transmission. in addition to the custom cab option, the Dodge has an am radio. The first owner snapped up the pickup as soon as it hit the showroom. he drove it very little and soon passed on. his family carefully stored it for many years after his death and sold the truck at an estate sale to a fellow from Cecilia, Kentucky.
At that time, the Dodge registered a mere 32,000 miles on the odometer. The second owner drove it a little, and after storing it yet another six years, he decided to advertise it for sale. lucky for me I saw his ad. We struck a deal immediately, and I sent a truck to haul the Dodge to geneva, where I live.
It arrived on may 9, 2010. looking it over, I found it to be in remarkably original condition. The arctic Blue paint was rather dull, the sand Dune bumpers and wheels had a few minor marks, and one hubcap was missing. The sheet metal had two small dents on one upper rear fender and one tiny dent on the other rear fender. two small stone dents under the grille marred the painted panel. The interior seemed almost brand new. The odometer recorded a mere 33,854 miles. I was very excited about my find.
I couldn’t wait to start cleaning it, so out came the pressure washer. I pressure washed the complete underside revealing the original build marks on the underside of the front fender. I knew then that I had a real gem. my friends, phil trunzo and Joe marino, were anxious to help me remove the small dents and refinish the upper rear fenders, under the grille, the tailgate, the bumpers, and the wheels.
The paint was carefully buffed twice, polished twice, and waxed to perfection. The exterior was then in beautiful condition, and I was able to save 85 percent of the original arctic Blue paint. We did, however, refinish the bumpers and wheels in original sand Dune White. The stainless steel and what little chrome was on the truck were brought back to showroom new with simple polishing.
When I replaced the exhaust system, I included "duals" but kept the quiet muffler. I've always liked the look of dual exhaust on a pickup and decided I had to have it.
A fellow from texas heard about my rare find and donated a nos Dodge hubcap to replace the one that was lost. The "dog dish" hubcaps make a vintage truck look simply great, and I added correct period trim rings as a bonus. a fresh set of firestone radials were installed, and the front end got realigned to accept the radials, which were fitted in the interest of safety. We also fitted a set of period seat belts for safety.
While cleaning the interior, I noticed traces of clear plastic still attached to the seat rails. I suspect the first owner put clear plastic on the seat, which is why the interior looks as if no one ever sat in it. The interior cleaned up as new, and is 100 percent original. The custom cab option came with a beautiful white plastic steering wheel, which is still in immaculate condition without any cracks or marks. This in itself is rare to see on a 47-year-old truck.
To finalize the cleaning and detailing, the underside of the truck received a fresh coat of chassis black paint, and arctic Blue was applied in the fender wells as it was from the factory.
Mechanically, the truck was extremely sound. We replaced a leaking rear axle seal, tuned the engine with complete tune-up items, and found that the heater shut-off under the hood was frozen open. a bit of soaking with penetrating oil got it working fine. The truck was now ready to enjoy the road again.
This past summer, the 1965 Dodge won third-place awards at two local car shows. Being judged against highly restored trucks, third place was rewarding because this truck is about as original as it gets. it cruises along at 45–50 mph, and the lack of power steering makes it tough to park, but a joy on the road.
This beautiful old Dodge sweptline is indeed a rare find, and one of the best I've seen. I'm glad I found it because they’re only original once.
text by Gerry Acquilano