You know how it goes: It started looking bad, so I decided to start doing a little work on it, and then a little more, and
And before he knew it, Robb Cunningham had done a complete restoration of this 74 D-100 truck. By the time it was done, the original 440-powered truck had a new paint job, rebuilt engine, and about every NOS part Robb could find, all on a truck he bought just because it was a low-mileage truck in good shape. We have a saying for situations like this: things snowball.
Robb bought the truck in 1981 from a guy in Youngstown, Ohio, who raced a Hemi car. He bought it, but it sat around and only had 7,000 original miles on it, Robb says. Robb liked the idea of owning the factory 440-powered short box and took it home. Once there, it led a rather unremarkable existence, sitting outside and being driven only occasionally. Not that the truck was outright neglected, but being exposed to the Ohio elements tends to take a toll on a vehicles looks, so Robb decided it was time for a repaint. The truck was dropped off at Performance Plus Autobody in Washington Courthouse, Ohio, where Bruce Butler reshot the truck in its original hues.
Though the engine still showed low mileage at this point, Robb got the idea that itd be fun to build it up a bit. The ensuing rebuild entailed filling the bores with 68-spec .030-over TRW pistons to bring the piston dome back up closer to the deck, and cutting the heads about as far as I could to bring the compression up to about 9.5:1. The original heads had some light bowl work done and were gasket matched, and an MP .474-lift bumpstick was slid in place, with an MP electronic ignition lighting it, while induction is handled through a factory Six Pack setup. I wanted to make the truck look like it would if that had been an available option, so I went with date-coded hoses, correct clips and wires, NOS battery cables, power-steering hoses, etc. I was the general manager of a Chrysler/Plymouth store when I did the truck, so I went NOS as much as I could, Robb said.
Just as interesting is the factory large-capacity 7-quart oil pan and center-dump exhaust manifolds. My understanding, Robb told us, is that these were standard on 440-equipped trucks. Also, 440 truck engines with steel cranks came with Six Pack rods.
A 727 trans reworked by Kirby Thomas garage backs up the engine and is fitted with an MP deep pan and torque converter. A 3.55 Sure Grip-equipped 8¾ rear with big drums rounds out the motivation, with a pair of monster factory discs up front. The wheels are original 200S Americans, with 275-60-15 BFG tires. The calipers are so big they didnt clear the wheels without a little grinding. The huge front discs also reportedly came standard on the 440 trucks, Robb tells us.
After the truck came back from the body shop, Robb set about finishing the truck with a lot more NOS parts such as the grille, mirrors, taillights, bezels and all the rest of the trim. It probably didnt need to be NOS, but if I could get it I figured I might as well, Robb said. Inside the cab, the interior is all original and undisturbed, other than the carpet, steering wheel, and stereo. According to Robb, You cant find a rubber mat anywhere for it. I could find them for a 4x4, but not for two-wheel drive, so he had a carpet made to fit. Id actually rather have the carpet, so Im not too upset. If I find a rubber mat, Ill probably just put it in my parts room. But once I got the carpet, I kinda quit looking.
Rob had no intentions of keeping the truck this long when he bought it, and with several low-mileage original musclecars in his garage, plus a Harley, the truck isnt first on the list of his most desirable keepers. But after 20,000 miles of fun and cruising in a truck that was just going to get a paint job and ended up completely restored, Robb isnt looking to send the truck down the road anytime soon. Ive had good offers for it, but I think Ill probably keep it.
Yup, its the same old story.