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Dodge Pickup Truck History (1948-1960)

Article by Mark Trotta

Introduced in December of 1947 for the 1948 model year, Dodge's B-series "Pilot House" cabs had 2.5" more height, 6" more width and 3" more length than previous models. A much-improved ride was achieved by rubber-mounting the cab onto the frame.

Dodge Pilot-House cab

Dodge B-Series Trucks (1948-1953)

The redesigned cab could now seat three adult-size people. Cargo capacity was added by increasing bed-side height. By moving the engine forward and the front axle back, engineers realized a better weight distribution.

Classic Trucks History, Dodge Pilot-House cab

Available engines included a 95-horsepower 218ci straight-six (standard with 1/2 and 3/4-ton trucks), and optional 102-horsepower 230ci straight-six (standard equipment in one-ton trucks).

Other options on the B-series Dodge trucks included vent wings that retracted the post with the window. Rear quarter windows also became optional, and helped drivers avoid blind spots.

Dodge B series pickup truck

Fluid-Drive Transmission

In April of 1950, Dodge introduced their "Truck-O-Matic" fluid-drive transmission. It was semi-automatic; the clutch was still needed to shift from park into drive.

Dodge C-Series Trucks (1954-1960)

Five years after the debut of the B-series, Dodge introduced the redesigned C-series line of trucks. The cab was lower and had more glass, and the wrap-around windshield and lower hood gave better visibility as well as a sleeker look.

Dodge pickup trucks history

The C-series were Dodge's first V8-powered pickups. Base engine was a straight six, optional was a 133-horsepower 241ci V8 or 172-horsepower 331ci V8 engine.

1955 Dodge trucks carried a "B" for half-ton, "C" for 3/4 ton, and "D" for one-ton models. Base transmission was a three-speed manual. An automatic two-speed Powerflite replaced the semi-automatic Truck-O-Matic transmission. A manual three-speed with overdrive could be ordered on half-ton pickups.

In 1957, new sheet metal was seen from the doors forward. Trucks were now categorized as "D" (2 wheel drive) or "W" (4 wheel drive). A 3/4 ton truck was a 250 series, the one-ton truck was a 350 series.

Dodge Power Wagon history

The hooded headlamps that appeared on 1957 Dodge trucks were replaced by dual headlamps in 1958. Most of the truck's previous styling remained the same.

Dodge Sweptside and Sweptline

In an attempt to compete with the Chevy Cameo Carrier, Dodge offered the Sweptside pickup in 1957 and 1958. The truck's quarter panels were taken from the two-door Dodge station wagon. The rear bumper was also from the station wagon.

Dodge pickup truck history

The Dodge Sweptside was replaced by the more conventional Sweptline model in 1959.

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Related Articles:

Dodge Power Wagon (1946-1968)

Classic Trucks History

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