Are Dodge's '61-'71 D-Series Mopars forgotten haulers--or haven't enough people discovered Dodge's big, boxy workhorse yet? It might be a numbers thing. Back then, Dodge was a distant third in the light-truck sales race, trailing behind Ford and Chevrolet, while staying close with GMC and ahead of International and Jeep.

Dodge brought out the all-new D-Series pickups and chassis cabs for 1961 (while keeping the previous C-Series' Town Wagon and Town Panel in production through 1966; the C-Series' cab was used on medium-duty trucks through 1974). Dodge's then-new trucks had plenty of innovation underneath their brickish styling. They had longer wheelbases, beefier frames with straight framerails, stronger front/rear axles, and an engine lineup that not only had alternators as standard equipment, but one that did away with the flathead six and Red Ram V-8s in favor of the Slant Six, 318 Poly, and big-block V-8s. Sweptline shortbed and longbed models got their own rear quarter-panels instead of using the two-door '57-'59 Dodge passenger car quarters, while Utiline versions kept their separate fenders/running boards as before.

In the spring of 1962, Dodge announced they would add new features and improvements to the D-Series line as soon as they were ready for production and not wait for a new model year to bring them out. That meant improvements like a heavier-duty Slant Six and newly available 383s, a four-door Crew Cab made in-house, a full-width Sweptline tailgate, and an optional Perkins diesel engine joined the features and options lists during the '62-'64 model runs. So did the five-year, 50,000-mile powertrain warranty, which was bumped to 100,000 miles for some heavier-duty models.

A lot of those upgrades found their way onto Robert Gay's '63 D-100 Utiline as it made its way down the line at Warren Truck. He found it in 1996 at a Mopar salvage yard in fair-to-fair condition (4 on a scale of 10). Robert traded a '68 Coronet project car and some cash for it, and then set to work on his new project at his Union, Missouri, home. In went a steel-crank '71 440 and 727 that he'd salvaged from a '71 New Yorker and built up with mods like a Mopar purple shaft cam, Hedman Hedders, a Holley 800 double-pumper carburetor on an Edelbrock intake, and a 3000 stall B&M torque converter. The cab got a re-do with a black vinyl bench seat, white headliner and door panels, a Grant steering wheel, a set of Auto Meter gauges, and a Pioneer sound system. Underneath, the stock chassis kept its straight axles front and rear, while gaining a set of Lakewood traction bars and a set of Mickey Thompson tires on Center Line aluminum wheels.