Darren Clegg of Oaklyn, New Jersey, wanted to cruise in something different. And he is. While attending custom truck shows, like everybody else, Darren noticed the major players are Chevy and Ford but a very limited number of trucks from the Dodge stable. Darren thought, to turn heads why not locate an early-model Dodge, imagining it shaved smoothed, painted bright red, slammed, and tuckin' 18s and 20s. Sometimes dreams do come true and boy, did Darren's.
This '36 Dodge was originally built the way you see it by Bill Curtsinger from Kentucky, who sold it to a gentleman in New York, before Darren secured the pink slip. Purchasing the truck, Darren inherited the truck's past and custom buildup details.
After stripping the stock Dodge down to its bare frame, the front straight-axle suspension was removed and substituted with a Heidt's Super Ride crossmember (polished stainless steel) IFS and 2-inch dropped spindles. After the Heidt's unit was welded in place, the frame rails were boxed, increasing the frame's strength and rigidity. The Heidt's shorter front coil springs are dampened by a pair of Pro Chrome shock absorbers. Stopping power comes from Ford 11-inch diameter discs. The rear frame rails were narrowed 12 inches to accept the narrowed Ford 9-inch rear end that was stuffed with Richmond 3.73:1 ring and pinion gears. The rear-end rotation is decelerated by a pair of Mercury Cougar rear drum brakes. The brake system is linked together by stainless steel braided lines that lead into stainless steel hard lines, routed inside the boxed frame rails. The quad rolling spools are Colorado Custom 18x7-inch front and 20x12-inch Slater polished billet aluminum wheels capped with Michelin 215/45ZR18 front rubber and Michelin 315/35ZR20 rear rubber.
The crew at Danville Machine Shop in Danville, Kentucky, is responsible for the machining and balancing of the '78 Chevrolet 350ci cast iron small-block. When all was said and done, it was bored and honed to a 360ci block. A set of Keith Black pistons with Total Seal rings plug all eight cylinders capped with 64cc cylinder heads producing 10:1 compression. A K&N air filter guarantees clean air entering the Edelbrock Q-Jet 750cfm carburetor, as it meters and mixes the air/fuel as it atomizes in the Edelbrock Performer intake manifold. The Bow Tie crankshaft was shaved and polished. A healthy Comp Cam produces an athletic heart rate while a pair of Street and Performance Jet Hot coated headers exhale the burned gasses that flow into 2-inch diameter Flo-Pro mufflers and exhaust. The electrical charge is stored in the AC Delco battery. A Mallory ignition system, coil, distributor, and a set of Taylor 9mm ignition wires transmit the electronic pulse dispersed from the distributor to each individual spark plug. A chrome 80-amp alternator maintains a continuous electrical current, charging the system and keeping everything operational. The horsepower is hooked to a GM TH350 transmission that was enhanced by Jack Pearson in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Jack installed a B&M positive shift kit, Lokar shifter, and a B&M converter with a 3,500 rpm stall.
The "All Steel" '36 Dodge cab was chopped 4 inches and channeled 2 inches by Jim Peck from Stanford, Kentucky. The boys at ORS Body Shop in Nicholasville, Kentucky, performed intense hours of preparation, block sanding and smoothing every square inch of the "All Steel" surface. The long running board ribs were shaved smoothed, along with the door handles. Jim also fabricated a pair of wide rear-wheel tubs for the bed to make room for the massive rear rubber. After the body was prepared for color, it was sprayed with multiple coats of brilliant PPG Mazda Blaze Red. Each previous coat was color sanded before applying the next one. After the last color coat and sanding was completed, eight coats of clear were applied and wet sanded between each coat. Given ample time to cure, the entire freshly painted body was buffed and polished, bringing out a high-gloss mirror finish. The unique factory grille received a modified insert, while the original bullet headlight buckets were reworked and painted, before installing the Hagon headlights. The stainless steel molding on the hood side panels was restored and polished like new. A pair of rear Lambert LED taillights were frenched into the custom roll pan. Solid white oak planks make up the bed floor, separated with stainless steel stringers. A Hagon gas filler cap was relocated and flushed to the bed floor.
Opening one of the cab doors exposes us to the incredible custom interior stitching and hide work performed by Steve Holcomb from Knoxville, Tennessee. The ivory leather-covered dash features Auto Meter vintage-style white face gauges located in the center, along with the Southern Air switch panel. Embossed kick panels, door panels/armrests, and headliner are all covered in ivory leather. The Billet Specialties polished aluminum steering column is capped with a Billet Specialties Revolver ivory leather-wrapped steering wheel. Billet Specialties pedals and interior door handles highlight the remainder of the cab. A pair of modified '78 Mazda RX7 bucket seats were covered with ivory leather. The floor was covered in cushy ivory nylon carpet.
The audio entertainment rocks with a JVC AM/FM/CD and MP3 headunit that is enhanced by two Sony 750-watt amplifiers. Original owner Bill Curtsinger custom built the enclosure housing two 10-inch subwoofers located behind the seats. Eight coaxial speakers are located in the kick panels, headliner, and back of the cab. The entire audio sound system was installed and wired by Stewart Cocanougher from Danville, Kentucky.
It is interesting how scarce custom early-model Mopar trucks are at show 'n' shines. After being exposed to Darren's '36 Dodge, hopefully this will give some of our readers the ambition to pursue a Dodge custom. It could be the beginning of a movement.