Chickens, pigs, John Deeres, and corn silos may be the dominant features down on the farm, but old pickups are just about as common. In fact, generational farms are often your best bet for locating the perfect pickup project. Farmers, you see, are kindred spirits to us Moparheads.We can't let go of potentially good junk, and neither can they.
Scott Stelzle's '65 D-100 is an old farm hand, but it's tough to discern this Dodge's agricultural pedigree from the look of the truck today. To be sure, you won't see this beauty hauling silage to the back forty.
Scott, a resident of Templeton, California, picked up this little gem in 2000 from a lady by the name of Chelsea Hastings. It was actually Chelsea who acquired this former farm truck from its original owner. When she bought the beast, there were over 100,000 miles on the odometer. The D-100 also sported a stylish spray-can-red topcoat, a 318 poly engine, a four-speed tranny, manual steering, and manual brakes. Scott called it rough with a capital R.
After Scott and Chelsea traded cash for keys, Chelsea's father, Bob Hastings, helped Scott get the project rolling. The duo found and purchased a '58 Imperial from Don Petty. This little transaction netted Scott a 392 Hemi and TorqueFlite tranny, which would replace the stock V8 four-speed and provide the necessary foundation for street-wise horsepower. Both vehicles were simultaneously disassembled and the parts separated for eventual reuse.
Once the truck was stripped to its bare essentials, Scott shipped the hulk to Mt. View Auto Body in Phoenix, where it was prepped and treated to a combination turquoise and white PPG basecoat/clearcoat. The frame was in good shape, so Scott gave it a thorough sandblasting before applying a protective coat of POR-15 in Chassis Black. From there the body went back together, including rebuilt springs and the usual assortment of fresh suspension components. Scott stayed with the stock drum-brake setup, but wisely ditched the manual steering box for a Saginaw power steering unit, and he modified the stock column. The rear axle assembly is a Chrysler 831/44 Sure Grip with 3.55:1 gears spinning stock axleshafts. Outboard are Ansen 8x15 wheels with 285/70-15 BFG T/As.
Inside, Scott elected to further the street-rod theme by commissioning Collins Upholstery of Mesa, Arizona, to create custom-dyed leather seating. A LeCarra steering wheel and an updated sound system finish off the exquisite driving environment.
When the time came for attention to turn to the powerplant, Scott went fairly conservative on the 392 internal buildup. Performance enhancements come via a Weiand aluminum intake topped with dual 625-cfm Carter AFBs. The outflow side is augmented with Hedman 2-inch headers featuring 3-inch collectors, while Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers and 2.5-inch aluminized pipes round out the exhaust system. To keep the engine firing right on cue, Scott upped ignition reliability by adding a Mallory distributor, an Optima battery, an MP box, a rev limiter, and an MSD 6AL electronic ignition.
Remember the TorqueFlite Scott shagged from the '58 Imperial? That was sent to Gentry Transmissions in Phoenix for a redo, then fitted with a 2,500-stall Hughes 11-inch torque converter before heading behind the Hemi. To get between the gears in style, Scott added a slick, modified '67 dash selector shifter.
As you can see, Scott didn't fool around in getting this truck in its final form. In all, it took only about one and a half years from start to finish. Today, the D-100 gets a healthy dose of roading and showing, but you can forget hauling hay or 2x4s in this baby.
We're sure it's tempting, though. Scott, you see, is also a farmer.