Junkyard Find: 1968 Dodge D-100 Adventurer Pickup

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1968 dodge d 100 adventurer pickup

I’ve been finding quite a few vintage D-Series Dodge pickups in Denver-area self-service junkyards lately, which reminds me that I’ve spent too long ignoring Detroit pickups of the 1960s and 1970s in this series. I see them, but (unless an old truck has a GMC V6 and a bunch of ancient Deadhead stickers) I usually don’t photograph them. So, the Dodges: I shared this ’74 D-200 Club Cab and this ’73 D-100 Adventurer last week, and now we’ve got a ’68 Adventurer that shares quite a few components with my ’66 A-100 van.

The Adventurer trim level got you some features that seemed quasi-luxurious 44 years ago but would seem cruelly Spartan to today’s exurban-commuter pickup buyer.

Here’s the “entertainment center.”

Bench seat, four-on-the-floor manual transmission, vinyl-covered-cardboard door panels. No air conditioning, no power steering, no power windows.

With a 318-cubic-inch V8 and a 3.91 differential gear ratio, this truck could climb any mountain… at about 5 MPH. Real-world sustained top speed was probably about 60, and fuel economy would have been barely into the double digits (downhill, with a tailwind).

Still, this here is your apocalyptic survival vehicle. Immune to nuclear-weapon EMP pulses, zombie attacks, magnetic-pole swaps, and asteroid strikes!

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  • Buster Brew Buster Brew on Aug 03, 2012

    Is that a manual choke I see to the left of the radio volume control?

  • Sken Sken on Aug 03, 2012

    My first "car" was a '69 Dodge stepside purchased at county auction. It was a retired Caroline County (MD)Roads Department truck, I won with a 253 dollar bid. What a beast. The column shifter for the 3-speed had been replaced by a Hurst floor shifter and the wooden deck in the bed was covered by a sheet of diamond plate so stuff wouldn't fall through the holes. My Dad would grill his mechanic buddies at work during the day, and we would work on it on nights and weekends. Not restoring, just to pass inspection. We changed the clutch, pop-riveted in some floor, Dad got an extension welded to the shifter so you didn't have to lean down to change gears, and I learned to appreciate the smell of 90-weight gear oil. Mmmmmm. I learned that drum brakes are magic puzzles that work by good intentions and fiddling, and how to cold start the 318 with the semiautomatic choke- Push gas pedal down and hold, pull out choke,release gas, hopefully start engine, push choke part way back in and gradually tap all the way in as it warmed up. Manual steering, manual drums on all 4 corners, NO radio, just a plastic delete plate. I added a Sparkomatic under dash cassette player and surface mount Jensen speakers to play my handful of tapes and I was in business. I had the ugliest truck at Chesapeake Community College, but I was mobile. Until the ignition sensed dampness. That dog hated the rain, and so did I. I got real good at hosing the distributor with water displacer spray and the 2-barrel Carter with ether on those days. It was too effin heavy to push far. I still miss it. And laugh with Dad when we talk about working on it. I feel sorry for the kids that were bought new cars. -

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