The Dodge brothers, Horace and John, founded their automotive company in 1900. They started out by assisting other automobile manufacturers in the Motor City, but Horace became fed up with relying on other manufacturers for their livelihood. In 1914 they introduced the Model 30. From this point on, Dodge would build their own automobiles and enjoyed great success through the teens and twenties. In 1920, both brothers passed away due to illness, but their name lives on.
The simple interior of the '30s received an extensive amount of modification from Rick. So
Chrysler's purchase of Dodge Brothers in 1928 brought about change within Dodge. In the early '30s the lineup was trimmed down so as not to step on the toes of Chrysler's Plymouth and DeSoto divisions. One of the most notable changes within the corporation came in 1934 when the Chrysler Airflow was released. It was the first car of its kind built in America. It featured a "streamlined" body that was aerodynamic. Up until this point, all cars used a so-called "two-box-design." While its sales were a far cry from success, elements of its design found their way into Chrysler's lineup. This new aerodynamic shaping and classic Dodge style influenced the '38 D-8 business coupe and helped it to stand out from its competitors.
Rick Kamp of North Port, Florida, wasn't looking for a classic business coupe but fell into the purchase of this one. He was attending a car show and chatting with his buddy who was trying to peddle him into buying a 383 engine. He had no need for the engine but, sure enough, his friend had a vehicle in need of some TLC that would make a great home for the 383. Rick went to check the car out, and to his surprise it was a '38 D-8 Business Coupe. They agreed on a price and the car was delivered to him on Father's Day 1998.
The seats were sourced from a SHO Taurus.
While it may have been a great home for the new engine, it certainly wasn't ready for anything to sit under the hood. "It was in pretty rough shape when I got it," he recalls. "The floors and body were very rough and it was missing the firewall." Rick got to work on the bodywork, fabricating a new firewall and straightening the body. Jacky's Body Shop in Port Charlotte, Florida, took the D-8 into the paint booth and applied PPG base coat and clear coat. When it left, it was wearing retina-searing Sublime. Paint and body was only half of the battle as Rick still needed lots of the trim pieces. Since there are only about 50 '38s left on the roads, they can be extremely tough to track down. "I found most of the parts on eBay and they came from Australia," he says.
After his attention was turned away from the body, the interior was treated to new clothes. His friend, Sonny Tetting of Port Charlotte, Florida, contributed his upholstery skills to the Business Coupe's cabin. The new grey carpet complements the bucket seats that were taken from an SHO Ford Taurus. The body color dash was filled with modern gauges, and a center console was made to house the B&M Quicksilver shifter. Sonny added a nice little touch when he added the Chrysler Pentastar logo.
Power from the rebuilt 383 moves the business coupe at a quickened pace. Rick and his friends worked together to make the swap possible and were able to shoehorn the engine in without modification. It's bored .030 over and has a new .484-inch lift, 292-degree duration camshaft. An Edelbrock Torker 383 intake manifold, port-matched 906 heads and Jet Hot-coated headers move the air and evacuate the exhaust. The massive V-8 is a startling discovery under the hood of a formerly inline-six-powered Classic.
This was the last year of the front leaf spring suspension so it was converted to a Heidts Mustang II independent suspension. The modern design offers better performance as well as being a more universal item to locate parts for. In addition to the modern suspension, the front now uses disc brakes to assist the rear drums. Rick installed a Cadillac telescopic steering column and completed it with a black Grant GT steering wheel. The rear consists of an 8¾-inch suregrip rearend with leaf springs and new KYB shocks front and rear. To tie the car together, a set of Centerline smooth face wheels wearing BFGoodrich T/A rubber were chosen for their excellent retro looks and modern tire performance.
The car was completed around 2007 and he immediately wanted to show it off. He attends as many local car shows as he can, and takes the '38 often. It's a mild street combination that yields impressive road manners and excellent comfort. At the same time, it turns a lot of heads. It was almost a main attraction at the gas station when he went to fill it up with pump gas. If you credit that to the '30s style or the in-your-face paint scheme, either way, it turns a lot of heads.
Rick prides himself on coming from a Dodge-only family and has enlightened his sons, as well. His father handed down a '46 Dodge truck that he plans to do the same. The impressive collection of Dodges spans from 1938 all the way to his daily driver, an '06 Dodge Hemi Ram. These have included a '66 Charger, '69 Charger, '69 Super Bee, and '86 Shelby Charger. He recently broke the Dodge streak with a striking '68 Roadrunner. It's clear to us that Rick bleeds Mopar and it's because he was raised from the same kin.
'38 Dodge Brothers D-8 Business Coupe
Owned by Rick Kamp, North Port, Florida
The lightweight Center Line solid face wheels were intended for drag use, but their good l
- Engine: The inline-six doesn't provide enough oomph for the D-8. Rick and his friends assembled and transplanted a '69 Dodge Charger 383 drivetrain into the early Dodge. It has been bored .030 over and benefits from a .484-inch lift camshaft with a 292-degree duration. The 906 heads have been ported to match the 1 5/8-inch Jet Hot-coated headers with 2½-inch collectors. Sitting on top of the mighty Mopar is an Edelbrock single plane Torker 383 intake manifold with an Edelbrock 750cfm carburetor. The exhaust system is dumped underneath after the 2½-inch Flowmaster 40 Series mufflers. The ignition is delivered through an MSD Blaster 2 coil and Accel Spiral Core wires.
- Transmission and Rearend: Directly after the 383 is a 727 automatic with a 3,000-stall converter and a B&M Quicksilver shifter. The rear is a 8¾-inch Sure-Grip rearend.
- Suspension and Brakes: The 110-inch wheel base now features front disc brakes to assist the rear drums. The front suspension has been converted over to a Heidts Mustang II independent suspension. A Cadillac telescopic steering column was installed and is controlled by a black Grant GT steering wheel. New KYB shocks front and rear dampen the bumps, and rear leaf springs set the ride height.
- Wheels and Tires: The 3,100lb curb weight is supported by a set of 15x6 front and 15x8 rear Centerline smooth face wheels wearing BFGoodrich T/A tires.
- Paint and Body:
The body of this classic Dodge is now over 70 years old. Needless to say, the condition was far from stellar and needed a great deal of work. Rick went to work on replacing the firewall and addressing the rough floors and body. After he was finished with body repairs he took the D-8 over to Jacky's Body Shop in Port Charlotte, Florida, to have it sprayed with PPG Sublime paint. The trim was tough to track down and most of it came off of eBay and shipped from Australia.
- Interior: Sonny Tetting of Port Charlotte customized the interior with all new grey carpet from Automotive Carpet. The bucket seats were pulled out of an SHO Taurus and matched to the new carpeting and door panels. Sonny made custom two-tone back rests and completely refinished the trunk, and it now incorporates the Pentastar Logo.