My love for Mopas goes back to the 1960's. MY Stepfather was big on Chrysler products, but for me I was a Chevy/Pontiac/Ford Truck guy early on. My first Mopar was a 1964 Dodge Polara 500. My Polara was a cruiser, unlike most Mopars back in the day, most of which were all muscle cars. I loved the Torsion Bar suspension, because it was easy to lower the car for cruising on the weekends. My Polara came with a 318 engine and A727 Transmission which was perfecT for cruising.
My next exposure to Mopar was when we put a 1950 era Chrysler HEMI with a Push button Torqueflite transmission in my 1954 Ford pickup, with a 4:11 rear end. I probably enjoyed that truck more than any of my cars back then, and that's when I was smitten by the power of a HEMI engine and the Mopar brand. I regret to this day ever getting rid of that truck.
In 2006 my wife replaces her aging BMW 7 series for a new 2006 Chrysler 300 HEMI, which continues to be fun to drive.
Fast forward to 2011, I start the Lil Mama 1955 Plymouth Wagon project which came with a 360CI/380 HP Mopar Magnum crate motor with an A500 transmission. I quickly replaced it with a 5.7 HEMI with a 545RFE transmission, Now I'm stuck with a Mopar magnum Crate motor and transmission. Once we finished the wagon project I needed to get rid of that Mopar Magnum engine and transmission. I received several "lowball" offers to purchase the Magnum engine without the transmission, so I decided not to just give the engine/tranny away I would find an interesting Mopar project for the Magnum Mopar/tranny combo. Sounds familiar, right?
After a few months looking at Craig's List, Offer Up and eBay, I stumbled up on a D200 Truck that had been in a barn in Concord CA for the past 15-20 years. I drove out to Concord to check out the truck and made the owner an offer of $1500.00, and too my surprise, he accepted my offer. A week later I borrowed,MY Buddy' Ramon's trailer and brought the truck home.
The original plan was to Flip the truck but it sat around for over a year and slowly grew on me and finally early in 2019 I decided that truck would be my next project. My Graphic Artist picked the Plum & Butterscotch colors for the illustrations, but given we have two high end hot rods with shiney paint jobs I decided to go the Patina route and revive the original powder blue color for the final truck project.
Bear with me on this first page and a half as I take a walk through memory lane to give you some background on this Sweptline story. To many car and truck enthusiastic the Dodge Sweptline truck between 1960 and 1966 was considered the Ugly Ducklings of pickup trucks. For me personally my family was partial to Chrysler products but growing up I can’t recall ever seeing a dodge Sweptline truck, but I have a vivid memory of Ford and Chevy Trucks from the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s. As a matter of Fact I actually built a 1:25 scale model 1960 Chevy truck.
In the late 60’s I purchased a 1954 ford truck with the small rear window. My dad who worked at one of the local salvage companies in Lynwood California, found me a first generation Chrysler HEMI engine, we coupled that with a torque flight Push button transmission and a 4:11 posi-rear end and stuck it in that Ford truck and it was some of the most fund I had driving for about 18 months. After all that fun I was fortunate to not have gotten any speeding tickets, but being a newly-wed and a father to be, I decided to let the truck go and swapped it for a motorcycle. Looking back over time, that was one of my worst car decisions. The only other Mopar car I ever owned was a 1964 Dodge Polara 500 and I drove it a s a low rider and not as a muscle car which was more common in those days.
Fast forward to 2004, I got the hot rod bug again and started to build a 1954 Buick 2 door hard top. After 4 years and a lot of checks we ended up with a really nice award winning cruiser. Between 2008 and 2012 Merianne and I cruised up and down California, Nevada and Oregon to car shows and had a lot of fun and met a lot of great Hot Rod friends.
In 2011, a year before I was to retire, the bug came again and I had the opportunity to purchase a 1955 Plymouth 2 Door Wagon. All my Hot Rod friends wanted to know why I picked a Plymouth and not a Chevy or Ford wagon. I had a vision for that Plymouth wagon and no one could really see that vision not even my wife. This Plymouth wagon was a 10 year old failed hot rod project that came with a Mopar Magnum 360 cubic inch 380 HP Crate Motor and 4-speed Automatic Transmission which was donated by Daimler Chrysler. My thought was, at a minimum, I could sell that motor and transmission and reduce my purchase price of the wagon by 60-70%. So I got another bug up my but and purchased a 5.7 Chrysler HEMI out of a 2006 Chrysler 300 and a 545RFE transmission out of a 2006 Dodge RAM truck and 4 years later in August of 2015 we finished the wagon and it too has been an award winning project.
For the past 4-5 years I tried to sell that crate motor Then one night I was looking at the Gas Monkey Garage and saw a 1964 Dodge Sweptline Rat Rod that they had built and it caught my interest.
I tried selling the motor and transmission and I had several offers but everyone wanted me to separate the motor and transmission and just sell the motor. After 3-4 offers I decided to find a mid-50’s or 60’s Mopar and put that crate motor and tranny in it and just flip it. So for about 12 months I searched for an old Dodge Demon, Plymouth Scamp, Dodge Charger and Chrysler St Regis, all of which were out of my price range.
This is the Sweptline Dodge pickup built by Gas Monkey Garage and featured on their TV show Fast N' Loud. I filmed this truck as the Invasion Car Show held in Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas.
Late 2014 I saw this 1964 Red Sweptline on eBay that sold for $13,000 with 11 people bidding on it. Unfortunately it too had a GM engine and tranny. How low can you go.
Next I see a stunning 1965 2-tone Gray Dodge Sweptline truck and the light went on. This picture does no justice for this truck
I thought, if done right a Sweptline truck can make a really nice Crusin truck. Then I saw this awesome 1964 Dodge Sweptline Crew Cab and I decided a Sweptline Crew Cab would be my next Mopar project.
After a 6 month search for a crew cab with no success, I found this 1963 D200 in a barn in Concord,CA and could not pass it up. This has become my Dodge Sweptline Project.
For 6 months I searched the Internet and Craig’s List for a 1963-1965 Dodge Sweptline Crew Cab and actually missed an opportunity to buy one down in Santa Barbara, CA. The owner was selling the truck to help cover the cost of his child’s education. Other than that, a crew cab was nowhere to be found anywhere. My next option was to look for a ½ ton Sweptline, now I was more flexible and was willing to settle for a 1962-1970 Sweptline.
One night in Late October 2016 I was surfing Craigslist and my eyes were burning and I was thinking it’s time for me to hit the sack and then I came across this add selling a 1963 Dodge Sweptline ¾ Ton Truck. I responded to the listing and the next morning the seller let me know the truck was still available in his barn in Concord, CA about 45 minutes from my home in Fremont. I drove out to Concord and looked at the truck and give the seller a $500 deposit and told him I would be back that weekend to get the truck.
Now I was faced with another issue, the truck was not drive-able and would need some work done before I could drive it. My 3 car garage was full and working on cars in the Driveway was a NO NO with my wife. So I had to find a place where I could store the truck for a few months and be able to work on it to get it in a driving condition. To my rescue was Roger and Danice who live on a big corner lot in San Jose and Rog told we I could park the truck on his lot as long as I needed to.
Now with a storage site, I borrowed my buddy Ramon’s trailer and brought the truck home.
The truck came with 8 lug 16.5” wheels and tires. I lucked up and found this set of 20” 8 lug wheels and tires on Craig’s list to use during the build process. The front wheels and tires fit pretty easy. The rear wheels, because of the big Dana rear end needed a lot of work to enlarge the center hole so the wheel could fit that rear end hub. Remember this is a temporary situation. Once the truck is done it will have a new set of 18’s in the front and 20’s in the rear.