Only five weeks were necessary for Jim Sears to convert his '77 Dodge Custom 150 from a drag truck to a street machine. When Jim purchased his Dodge off a local car lot, it had already received several upgrades to the engine, as well as the tranny's valve body modification kit. For a couple of years the truck was raced and ran in the mid-13s, but Sears needed to make it his daily transportation. The truck would have to be made roadworthy immediately, but basic transportation was not what Jim had in mind.
Jim and his friend, Bill Chapel, rebuilt the engine using stock parts, with the exception of Edelbrock Performer heads and a Comp Cams bumpstick. On top, they installed an Edelbrock 650 cfm carburetor. To vent spent gases, a set of Summit headers were used with 3-inch Flowmaster mufflers.
Next, Bill Randels helped out with the transmission, maintaining its valve body reprogramming kit; but during the rebuilding process, the input shaft was accidentally thrown out, prompting a search for a hard-to-find replacement.
The last part of the drivetrain, the rearend, would also be rebuilt. Keeping street driving in mind, Jim installed a set of 3.23:1 gears with the Sure Grip differential.
Before the truck would be painted, Jim decided to do a little suspension work. Using 3-inch lowering control arms and 5-inch drop leafs in the rear, the truck was given a down-in-the-weeds stance. A set of polished 17-inch American Racing Torque Thrust wheels with BFGoodrich 245/45R17 T/A Radials up front and 255/50R17 out back completed the look he wanted. To make driving a little more interesting, a close ratio steering box from Firm Feel was installed and soon a set of front and rear sway bars will be added to complete the suspension.
The exterior of the truck was the next step, and Jim decided it needed to look like the era it was built for, so opted out of any body modifications. The truck was brought to Tim Russell at Enviro Safe Stripping for a new, clean, white coat of paint. Jim likes the contrast between paint and chrome, so a new chrome grille and rechromed front and rear bumpers were a must. He also had the windows tinted with household window mirror tint to give a chrome-like look to the windows as well. New emblems all the way around made the exterior ready to show.
The last thing to order was the interior, and Jim would handle this himself. Navy Blue tweed fabric was the choice, and Jim reupholstered the bench seat and used the same material to freshen the door panels. The dash bezel was painted white, and stock gauges remained with the exception of an AutoMeter tachometer added aboard the dashpad. Jim installed an R134a air conditioning system, but tells us he's not happy with the center console that houses the A/C vents and will change this at a future date. A Billet Specialties Switch Blade steering wheel provides the finishing touch.
Now that it's done, in Jim's mind this truck is without a doubt the vehicle to have. He tells us, "Even with more time, very little would have been different."