By on July 27, 2012

Dodge’s D-Series trucks of the 1970s are still on the roads in large numbers, since there’s always someone who needs a simple work truck and doesn’t care if that truck is 10 or 40 years old. Still, you can always find another sturdy (if thirsty) Detroit pickup if something expensive breaks, so this Adventurer is now Crusher-bound.
The Adventurer trim package got you some comfort and appearance upgrades, though shoppers for 2012 trucks would find this machine intolerably primitive.
Here’s the one-speaker sound system.
This vinyl bench seat was impervious to spills from any component of a typical fast-food meal, tall cans of Schlitz, and other substances likely to be found in a Dodge pickup cab.
Chances are that this 318 or 360 still has some miles left in it. Most do.

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43 Comments on “1973 Dodge D-100 Adventurer Pickup...”


  • avatar
    jjklongisland

    The “D” stood for Duct tape cause that is all you need to fix one when on the road. They would never leave you stranded. They were stiff and bouncy and the W series with 4X4 had one of the worst turning radius’s around but the still keep chugging along. Nothing like seeing a scrapper or a landscaper still using these work horses.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    When trucks were trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      No doubt…

      I was at my Jeep dealer recently and in the show room they had a 2013 RAM, 2500 diesel, with leather seats and everything (Limited model). It was beautiful, but $54k! That wasn’t a work truck, but more of a “I’m retired and I’m pulling around a goose-neck trailer.” Last thing I do to a new truck that like is to actually use it for work.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      And pretty horrible trucks. My only “nightmare” vehicle was my ’77 Power Wagon, that I traded my totally trouble free ’74 Roadrunner for. I got the hots for a truck, and boy, was that a mistake. The looks of it sucked me in, it was a “Macho Power Wagon”, yellow and black, offroad tires, and at the time, I think the only truck that was higher off the ground was the F-250. It had the same 2 barreled 360 the truck above had, supposedly 165 HP, and it was intolerably slow. Almost from day one, I started planning to hop the motor up to equal the power of my Roadrunner. But I decided to wait until the warranty was up to really do much of anything to it, except add a set of dual exhaust. I wanted to wait on that too, but a pipe sticking up removed most of the stock exhaust soon after I bought it. Today, it would have been lemon lawed, as it was in the shop constantly, for everything from a bad radiator to electrical issues, to a bad camshaft. After the warranty was done, I bought an Edelbrock intake manifold, a carter AFB carb, and that alone was a huge improvement. Eventually, I swapped the AFB, that had a flat spot for a Thermoquad. Headers, a cam and lifters, ported heads with larger valves added a lot of power. It ran well, most of the time, but had power steering issues about every six months, driving it without power steering was a cheap workout. It caught on fire, twice, due to a very poor job of wire dressing when it was made. By the time it went up the second time, I was totally tired of fixing it, and after I put it out, wondered why I just didn’t let it burn. It also leaked from…everywhere. Not long after it’s 4 year anniversary, one Sunday afternoon, something finally pushed me over the edge, and It was gone by Tuesday afternoon, replaced with a ’79 Trans Am, a great car I still regret selling 25 years later. The Power Wagon appeared on a nearby parking lot “used car lot” with the odometer rolled back 12k miles a couple weeks later! One thing I can say about it, it wasn’t nearly as bad as my best friend’s F150 4×4, whose harmonic balancer came off when the crank broke and did an amazing amount of damage. Ford replaced the short block, and the replacement spun a bearing about 4k miles after it was put in. The second replacement was ok, but my friend soon had enough too, after the trans went out for the second time, and he traded it in for a ’82 Chevy Blazer, bought a week after I bought one too. Those Blazers are still the most trouble free vehicles both of us ever had. Slow? Yes! But both had like zero issues. My entire repairs consisted of a headlight, a tail light, and a battery in almost 5 years of ownership. I don’t count the rear window track I broke when I forgot I had a couple of pieces of wood sticking out. His repairs were both headlights, a battery, wiper motor (at 9 years), and a speaker. He had it almost 12 years and the replacement Tahoe wasn’t nearly as trouble free.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        While I’m not saying that you didn’t have a problem with your cam it was very unusual for a chrysler engine. Both Chrysler engine families, the big and small blocks used the widest lobes and largest diameter lifters in the industry which gave more surface area. They also used a better hardening process. Chevies were well known for cam and lifter issues, they used very narrow lobes, small lifters and had poor metallurgy. Chrysler engines also had a higher nickel content in ther blocks, along with longer connecting rods which reduced sideloading on the cylinders. The 318 had an enviable record for reliability and durability, with the 360 not far behind.
        All 360 and larger equipped half tons had the bulletproof 727 as standard equipment, with a half ton chevy you got the much weaker turbo 350 in all half tons with 350 and smaller engines, and even many 400 equipped trucks used it. Even most 318 equipped D100′s had the 727, a few got the 904. What was truly awesome was that many slant 6 equipped trucks got the 727, talk about overkill.
        And the 8/34 rear end used in the dodge trucks was about twice as strong as the weaker 10 bolt used in the GM trucks, in fact it’s only second to the Ford 9 inch in strength, and was used by many GM racers in place of the 12 bolt.
        As I stated in the post on the other Dodge truck, Ford and GM 4X4 trucks of the 70′s came from the factory with Chrysler’s New Process transfer case.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Wow it almost brings me to tears seeing this in the boneyard. I have a 77 W100 that I’ve owned since the 80′s. I mainly use it to plow my driveway during the winter, the rest of the time it sits around. BTW this truck’s engine is a 360 unless the manifold and carb have been swapped, 318′s still came with the tiny BBD carb in 73. The bigger 2V carb, like the one shown on this engine came on the 360-400. It’s still early so I can’t think of the name for the bigger carb.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    If they’re on the roads in large numbers it’s certainly isn’t here in New England. Haven’t seen one of these for a long time as rust got most of them by now.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Neigbor had one. Lost the front bumper and replaced it with some sort of galvanized pipe.

  • avatar
    morbo

    “When trucks were trucks.”

    And kidneys were liquified. I love a truck too, still pining for my ’03 Ranger. But I think this enamoration with old trucks ignores the fundamental fact that driving them sucked. Hot in the summer, freezing cold in the winter, ‘stereo’ sound from the rattles, impossible to park in anything shorter then Wyoming. Don’t get into a side impact collision in one. Or rear ended. or frontal crash.

    At least my experience from driving, in order, ’76 F-150, ’83 Scottsdale Chevy, ’88 GMC, ’96 F-150, ’99 Sonoma, ’02 F-150, ’03 F-250, ’03 Ranger, ’06 Tacoma; various personal or friends trucks.

    For all the kevetching about these, a ’96 F-150 or even an ’88 GMC offer the same levels of utility in nicer, safer, quieter, and in some cases more efficient package.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, the 24 Hours of LeMons safety truck is a zero-options ’97 F-250 and it looks and drives almost exactly the same as its 1976 ancestor.

      • 0 avatar
        LeadHead

        http://images.classiccars.com/preview/94734_692049_1976_Ford_F250.jpg

        http://image.dieselpowermag.com/f/Diesel_Gunner812/9522515+w450+h338+cr0+re1+ar1/1997-ford-f-250-pickup-1.jpg

        They look absolutely nothing alike besides both being trucks.

        Now this Dodge on the other hand, besides an added body line, this ’73 looks very, very similar to a ’93.

        As far as ride/drive, Ford really let you “option down” their trucks until fairly recently. I mean up until ’89 or so, you had to pay extra for the FM option on their radios.

      • 0 avatar
        GoesLikeStink

        My first new car (truck) was a 87 Ranger. No radio, ho headliner, hell it did not come with a rear bumper. Great honest little truck. And it was $6500 brand spankin new. No one offers anything like that any more.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        My mom’s boyfriend has a long-bed ’94 F250 XL with some kind of factory lift kit. It’s like riding in a school bus, that’s how stiff the suspension is.

        But that son of a b***ch will haul just about anything you put in the bed with the combination of 351 Windsor power and a 4 speed auto with overdrive. Plus he uses it for plowing when the snow comes.

  • avatar
    67dodgeman

    Had one back in the late ’90′s, truck was from 1982. Dodge apparently thought the styling was perfect since it didn’t change from decade to decade. 318 4-bbl, got 12 mpg no matter how you drove it. Almost couldn’t kill the engine, actually got to liking it so much I started to fix it up after several years of duct tape repair. Then the tranny started going out. Damn. Bought it for $2000, drove it for 4 years, sold it for $1000 with a bad transmission. Guess I made out alright.

    Wouldn’t hesitate to buy another, if I didn’t already have a 20 yr old Chevy to take care of my truck chores. Still see them around on Craigslist, but finding one in decent condition is getting tougher.

    • 0 avatar
      GoesLikeStink

      This is why it was such a big deal when they came out with the new designs for their trucks in the early 90s. Plus the looked good. And they have not changed much since.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I was just passed by a Dodge pickup of the prior generation last night. I don’t think they die unless they rust away or are wrecked.
    I see this design almost every day. They made them so long and so many of them that in Texas where we don’t use salt (or snow)on the winter roads they are literally coming out of the woodwork. Of course, this comment is specific to the area of Houston and south.

  • avatar
    radimus

    I almost got a 2WD 88 D150 with a 318 a few years ago when I was shopping around for a cheap pickup. The only reason I didn’t was because its title was messed up due to paperwork issues and the seller was taking his good old time at doing nothing about it. I ended up getting a 91 F150 with a straight six instead.

  • avatar
    realpower1

    2 features that are worth noting: The bottom hinged gas pedal for steadier throttle in the rough, or from the ride. Also the glove box which was more or less top opening, and was perhaps a more useful shape as an actual box rather then a side opener from which contents spilled on opening.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The easy way to tell on the LA motor is the 318 is internally balanced and the 360 is externally balanced to there is weight machined out of the hamonic damper. I don’t think any came with the 340.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      You are correct, the 340 never came in the trucks, only in A, B and E bodies. Another way to tell the size of the A engines is that they have the displacement cast into the driver’s side of the block.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Interesting that they put the logo behind the window crank. How appropriate the logo is today too, as a window crank would definitely qualify as an adventure for today’s folks.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Just think about how much country music played through that radio. We had these in the USAF with 400CU motors and 4bbl carbs, I think they were 79 or 80 models. Same truck.
    I like the cargo rails on the bed, highly practical. The engine looks tiny in that compartment, you could stand inside with it. Compare to today where there is no room to do anything.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Had a friend who had one of these. The fuse box was next to the glove box. Easily accessible, plenty of light since it wasn`t under the dash board. Made perfect sense and I don`t think I have seen another vehicle with the same advantage.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Actually International did it in their full size trucks and they actually touted it in their advertising. Started in the early 60′s and lasted to the end of production in 75. They did keep using that concept well beyond 75 in their medium duty trucks. It had a separate cover.

  • avatar
    Sutures

    I’m disapointed… how can you take pictures of this vintage Dodge and not grap a shot to snarl at “The Resistor From Hell”?

    • 0 avatar
      HeeeeyJake

      Voltage regulator?

      My dad just bought the last Dick Landy Industries-built car,a restored 65 Plymouth Satellite. I had never seen a voltage regulator before, and he explained how the car acts when it needs a new one, and showed me the spare in the glove box. The little ceramic dealy-who with an “in” wire and n “out” wire, right?

      Too many fiddly bits on vehicles of this age, but, they’re all mechanical or simple electrical, so at least logic can diagnose repairs without a SUN machine.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    The prototypical american pick up truck- the stupidest vehicle on earth. Aside from some third world countries- most other people in the first world do not use this type of truck. Becuase it’s dumb to have such a long truck which carries so little. Most everywhere else people use cabover trucks. Mostly with stake beds or drop-sides.

    Ironically, the cousin of the american pick-up, the full-sized ‘molester’ van, is actually one of the most versatile vehicles on earth.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Besides the proverbial 4X8 sheet of plywood, drywall,etc; you can also load a pallet in one. A lot of piping comes in 10ft lengths. A goose neck hitch and a tool box will fit in one. Lumber comes in 10ft lengths. I think it’s pretty smart to drive a truck that can haul so MUCH. All those bits and pieces rattling around in a full-size van make a lot noise. Also, you can utility in a full size van or visibility, you don’t get both.

  • avatar
    autojim

    This looks like it was Grandpa’s ol’ truck, and it sat after Grandpa moved on to the next life. None of the kids or grandkids wanted it, and so it was sold for scrap value, ’cause that’s the least hassle.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    What most here forget is that trucks became the new V8, RWD 2 door American car when those morphed into the wimpy 6 cyl, FWD crap they become and those who had to have both V8 and RWD had little choice but to get a truck, soon after they came with more features and comfort.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    That one looks like it’s barely broken in.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Often, when cars appear here, people recall them sweetly and lament getting rid of them. This is NOT one of them. I learned how to drive in one of these monsters. Ours was a ’74 with a twin cab. A 318, three on the tree and power nothing. Clutch and brakes were designed by the same person who would later popularize Nautilus gym equipment. When hard braking the rear end slid or hydroplaned in anything over 70% humidity. I don’t know if my dad didn’t spring for rust protection or if sea air is that corrosive, but you could watch the rust spread when we moved to Florida.
    It was a truly joyous day when my dad finally admitted the beast had to go.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Best thing that I can say about them is that they were easy to work on and repair. But actually driving one was a real workout and was not for the faint of heart or most women. And of course they could be real death traps in any kind of accident at any speed over 30+mph.I miss the simplicity of these monsters but I would never want to own one again. And I definitely wouldn’t want anyone that I loved or cared about driving/riding in one of them.

    We are all better off with the newer and much more reliable vehicles that are on the market now. I just never can understand why anyone would want to spend much time in any vehicle without AC, Power options, no safety systems, etc. Kinda like driving an old farm tractor with fenders on it.

  • avatar

    Learned how to drive in my dad’s ’72 D250 “Camper Special,” which from my understanding was basically a SRW 350.
    It had a hot 400 (he and I built it one weekend) with ported heads and a cam, and 10:1 compression, a built 727 with a nice, tight converter, and a 4.10 Sure Grip rear. He would occasionally drag race his coworkers (he ran heavy equipment at the county landfill and the road back there had several nice, long, flat stretches) and regularly took their beer money.
    I loved that old truck. After he passed away I inherited his “second-gen” Cummins-powered Ram 3500, which I drive every day, and which has covered more than 50,000 miles shuttling me and my teammates and our cars around to Lemons races over the past 3 years.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Having owned Just about every version of this truck, as well as buddies that have owned some version of them I know them pretty well.
    Even though power steering and brakes were still considered an option most trucks came equipped with them by the mid 70′s, as this truck has.
    Manual steering mainly came on the slant 6 powered trucks, and a few 318′s. These trucks drive just fine for what they are, some of these guys talk like they drive like a model T or something. They drive pretty much like any 70′s – 80′s truck. And the ride isn’t bad in the half ton models, or even in the 3/4 ton models for that matter. The Ford trucks were based on a 70′s chassis design through the 96 model year, in fact the twin I beam suspension goes back to 65 or 6.
    And then we have a guy talking about a crew cab with manual everything with 3 on the tree, and how it was a bear to drive. You don’t say? Comparing it to the featured truck is like comparing apples to oranges, as it’s obvious this truck has power steering, power brakes and a torqueflite and it’s a regular cab version.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    My late uncle owned a 72 D100 with a slant 6, 3 on the tree and manual steering and brakes. He built this really cool looking small bridge made of rock where his driveway passed through a creek on his property. He would get the rocks from some wooded area down the road from his house and used the D100 to haul them, and he would have it loaded down pretty good, and the rear of the truck would squat. A few times he would get the truck rocking back and forth to get it moving when it was stopped in a rut, and I remember smelling the clutch getting hot. I remember him commenting that the truck felt like it had power steering when loaded down with the rocks, because much of the weight shifted away from the front with the load. The steering wasn’t really very heavy in that truck, of course now I may feel differently if I drove one because I’m 50 years old. Swapping a power steering box onto one would be a cakewalk, but you would need to make brackets to mount the pump to a slant 6 if you couldn’t find factory brackets.
    My ex fatherinlaw worked for the Twinsburg Chrysler Stamping Plant and he owned a 72 with a slant 6, it had power steering, brakes and a torqueflite.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Interesting model name recycling here. Adventurer was a DeSoto model name from 1956 to 1960.

  • avatar

    I always liked this era of Dodge pickups and owned a few over the years, including a Little Red Express version.

  • avatar
    SuperACG

    I would just LOVE to have one of these pre-1976 trucks. I’d drop a Cummins 4BT right in. No SMOG, decent MPG, and lots of torque! Doesn’t need to be fast, the suspension couldn’t handle it anyway!


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