By on August 2, 2012

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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26 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1968 Dodge D-100 Adventurer Pickup...”

  • avatar

    Now that’s a simple work truck, the way I like them.

  • avatar

    That’s almost too basic. It probably has only a third of the wiring that is found on today’s trucks.

    It doesn’t look too bad for a 38 year old truck. It could be resurrected rather than shipped off to China as scrap metal.

  • avatar

    That radio has got to have the cleanest design I’ve ever seen.

  • avatar

    It was a great series of trucks, especially with the “slant 6” engine and the 3 speed Torque Flite automatic,and the solid front axle. However, the body, itself, left something to be desired. It shook and rattled as if it were going to fly apart, although it never did.

  • avatar
    fintail jim

    Best of all – operable vent windows.

    • 0 avatar

      Had a Beetle with vent windows. Had the window popped open. A bird hits the window and all of a sudden there’s a interior full of feathers and a dead bird on the passenger seat.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Whoever owned the company that made those seat covers must have died a billionaire. I think every ’60s truck that hasn’t been restored has one by now.

    One wonders how much money Chrysler pissed away on the extra creases in the panel stampings for a market that didn’t care.

    • 0 avatar

      The saddle blanket seat cover? Oh yes, I had one in my eponymous truck as depicted in my avatar.

      I’ll probably have one in my current truck, if the original fabric ever wears out.

      You absolutely can’t get a tougher material than those saddle blanket covers.

    • 0 avatar

      My ’92 Ranger had that seat cover too, though I didn’t put that in. My friend whom I bought the truck from put it in I think.

      The original seats, the wild stripped ones may have been stained. I never got around to removing it to see how the original upholstery was as I now no longer have the truck.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    A manly truck driven by manly men to do manly things in a manly manner.

  • avatar

    My dad had a ’68 GMC short box manual with a leaded 327 before upgrading to a newer frame, power steering/automatic/350 (manual trucks back then weren’t sporty or even that much fun to drive, they were a workout, god help you if you had nonpower drums/nonpower steering/manual combo). I’m a bit biased, but I loved that truck.

    New trucks are abhorrently expensive, but in comparison to this beast, they are worth every penny.

  • avatar

    Regarding EMP vulnerability. IF all things transistor/integrated circuit are going to fail, that radio will – I see what looks like a big germanium output transistor on it.

    Actually, the best minds in the civil defense business think that automobiles with ECU’s will mostly work fine after an EMP, because their wiring runs are short. Wires act as antennae during an EMP – the longer the wire, the greater the energy picked up.

    Google “Electromagnetic Pulse Protection” by Jerry Emanuelson.

  • avatar

    If you’d like to see a ’68 Dodge pickup that’s in a little better shape than this one, check out this great survivor D-100 longbed that I’ve seen around town at Mopar shows. It’s a working truck, the family that owns it still uses it to haul stuff to swap meets.

  • avatar

    In the 80s, I bought a wiring harness for my 1952 Ford truck- it would fit in a shoebox.

  • avatar

    I always liked the styling of these trucks, and thought it was very handsome and simple.

  • avatar

    is that some kinda of meter that measures the ALTERNATOR (‘ALT’)?

    ‘O’ and ‘C’?

    what does that mean? ‘charged’, ‘charging’?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s an alternator gauge.

      C = charging
      D = discharging

    • 0 avatar

      That’s an ammeter. Very useful gauge; shows whether the charging system is keeping up with electrical demand. If it’s in the “D” side, that means the battery is being drained. These gauges made a lot more sense during the era of generators and crappy batteries. One drawback to the ammeter is that all the current used by every electrical component (other than the starter motor) must pass through it, which means you have big, fat, electrical-fire-encouraging wires going into the instrument cluster.

  • avatar

    The ALT gauge brings memories of my folks’ 1968 Plymouth Fury wagon. When the parking light flashers were on, the needle would wiggle with the clicks.

  • avatar

    I definitely remember the ALT gauge needle moving on those old Mopars…and that famous starter squeal when turning the key!

  • avatar
    Buster Brew

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

  • avatar

    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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