By on October 12, 2015

14 - 1960 Dodge Pickup in California junkyard - photo by Murilee MartinChrysler’s flathead (aka “L-head”) straight-six engine is one of the forgotten heroes of prewar and postwar Detroit, being produced from 1929 through some undefined year in the early 1970s (for stationary use, e.g., in generators and irrigation pumps). There was even a five-bank, 30-cylinder version made for tanks. It appears that it was possible to buy a new Dodge truck with the flathead six through the 1968 model year, though some say that Uncle Sam was the only buyer for the last few years of flathead Dodges. Most buyers opted for futuristic overhead-valve engines by the 1960s, anyway, but here’s a D-series pickup in a California wrecking yard that still has its L-head.
IMG952487The flathead six that came with my 1941 Plymouth ended up being sold to some Craigslist buyer who drove all the way from Nebraska to Denver to pick it up for his DeSoto project (my car is getting a Vortec 4200 DOHC six out of a Trailblazer and a mid-1990s Corvette ZR-1 six-speed; I thought about keeping the flathead for a future fenderless street rod project, but engine hoarding gets ugly in a hurry).
IMG_1067A 1950 Dodge pickup with 217-cubic-inch Chrysler flathead won the Index of Effluency award at the 2014 Utah 24 Hours of LeMons race. So, I’m a big fan of this engine and it was exciting to spot one at a U-Grab-It wrecking yard a couple months ago.
07 - 1960 Dodge Pickup in California junkyard - photo by Murilee MartinThis 230-cubic-inch engine was rated at 120 horsepower, but it made a respectable 202 pounds-feet of torque. Coupled with the granny-gear manual transmission, this truck probably wasn’t much fun on the freeway but could haul big loads (with driver patience).
02 - 1960 Dodge Pickup in California junkyard - photo by Murilee MartinFifty-five years of rainwater sitting in the bed did this. It’s possible that this truck never spent a night in a garage.
05 - 1960 Dodge Pickup in California junkyard - photo by Murilee MartinThis interior had been picked over well, but it didn’t look much different with seats and gauges.

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31 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1960 Dodge D200 Pickup, with Genuine Flathead Power...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I can never get over the sheer amounts of old but unrusted sheet metal in these western junkyards.

    There are tin worms starving in China who’d love to have that food!

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    The ’60 Dodge pickups – when equipped with automatic transmission – had a pretty cool push button pod on the dash to the left of the steering column. The face of the pod was very intricate and finished in shiny bright polished stainless. Or chromed. I’ll go with stainless since my memory wants it that way. At any rate, it was a really outrageously pretty piece and was the only thing on the truck that could be called pretty.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Is this from a pickup? God, I love enameled dashboards.

      http://tinyurl.com/ozv84nt

      • 0 avatar
        WhiskeyRiver

        Looks like a ’60 Desoto Adventurer dash to me.

        Edit:

        Couldn’t let that pass without mentioning the 1956 Desoto Adventurer. One of the prettiest cars of the mid 50’s.

        The ’56 Adventurer also had push button transmission and, I would have to guess, is likely the grandpappy of the transmission pod for the 60 Dodge pickup automatics.

  • avatar
    DubTee1480

    “engine hoarding gets ugly in a hurry”
    Yes. Yes it can. I have a 3.4 out of a Camaro for a GMC Sonoma I don’t even own anymore (my nephew drives it though so it may find it’s intended home yet), an old 4.3 out of an Astro van and a few 350 short blocks from my dad’s days of building race engines. Along with an assortment of heads, pistons and intakes that my wife is none too happy about.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Looks like Mater met an ugly end.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    These last two main comments are priceless!

    Odd to see that newer-looking Express/Savana in the back. Besides accident damage, what kills those? I thought they could run forever, though they were dated the day GM rolled them out!

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Likely mileage. I was at a yard about a year ago getting a door for my 1987 Chevrolet truck. The owner stashed the door in the back of an Econoline to keep it dry until I could come over. That E350 was an early 2000s model. It had been used by a courier service until the second transmission failed slightly north of 750k miles.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking the same thing. Especially since they put the money to put a turtle top on it. It looks like it was owned by OnTrac, which is a west-coast package delivery company. Unlike LaserShip, it looks like OnTrac operates it’s own vehicles (LaserShip is contractors):

      https://www.ontrac.com/

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Was the A&W root beer bottle in the engine compartment performing some auxiliary operating function or was it just left there by some salvager? It’s so neatly set there that it seems out of character to just be trash.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I was wondering the same thing. It could be an upper cylinder lubrication device (where a bottle of Marvel Mystery Oil, diesel, ATF, or what have you) is connected to the intake manifold via an orifice restrictor.

      My other favorite home-product underhood reuse (well, besides the toilet paper roll oil filter, of course) was the mayonnaise jar that was used as a PCV hose catch can (so all of the liquidy crud from the crankcase would settle out in the jar instead of being sucked into the intake). There was a company that actually made these and I brought one home from the junkyard when I was in high school, for the novelty of it (complete with gucky jar full of oil-water emulsion).

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    These vintage D-Series pick-ups always struck me as a whole new level of atrocious (from an aesthetics standpoint).

    The inbreds in one particularly notable jalopy chasing down the Griswolds in their Family Truckster certainly didn’t help improve this heap’s image (see “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”).

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      That was a ’61-71 model, which are usually considered some of the ugliest trucks of their time. Especially when Ford and GM were putting out some pretty attractive pickups.

      These ’58-60s look pretty nice, IMO.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Industrial grade? Heck, this thing was agricultural grade. “Three on the tree” or a floor shifter; it didn’t matter much, shifts where as vague as a politicians promise. Power steering and power brakes? Son, this a truck driven by men. Hard work and hunting and fishing is done with a truck like this. Air conditioning? the organic kind October thru May in the Midwest or just drive real fast. Exposed screw-heads and fit and finish that would make Yugo proud? This thing was cheap and as dependable as a wheelbarrow (for the technology of its time) Will trucks ever be this primitive again? No, not really. Have I seen some old-boy running a truck this primitive? Oh yes; if it doesn’t make it stop or go; it’s not needed.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Most farmers out here wouldn’t touch one of these, unless it was restored and a personal driver.

      1970s and 1980s trucks fill that need out here. They’re to the point where they’re worthless as daily drivers to most people, but not old/rare enough to have hit classic stage.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I want a Vortec Inline 6 from a 1990s South American Chevy truck/SUV. Id love a Tahoe 2 door 4wd with a Vortec Inline 6, but what Id use this engine in would be an old (pre-73) GM truck, or a Jimmy/Blazer would be sweet.

    I love the history of the Dodge flathead. Ive always loved Inline 6s and I love thr idea of a modernized fuel injected one. I want to build a midsize RWD Ford fox (probably a Mercury Zephyr) or an early Falcon with a 250 I-6 block and an Aussie “alloy head” (1990s or possibly 80s Falcon I-6 engine based on the same block) with fuel injection. Either an AOD or a T5 transmission, upgraded to 5 lug, better brakes/suspension. I can throw a rock in any direction at the Ford area of a car show and hit a Ford with a 302 in it. I want to be different.

    I found a post war 40s Dodge with a running flathead 6 for very reasonable money recently not far from me, the ad was taken down in a few hours but I saved a picture of it lol. I would be so happy to ride into town in my ’46 Dodge pickup! Pilothouse with a great I-6! Now that I know more about the engine, I wouldve loved it even more.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    My uncle, army infantry in Europe 1944-45, loved the Dodges. He got to drive several flathead Dodges, and they kept chugging after the GM OHV sixes went down. In a war zone, the fuels are iffy, but the flat six would run on almost any questionable, low octane gas, as long as you kept the fuel filter bowl clean. Not so the OHVs.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    What killed these is the same thing that kills all flatheads : high RPM’s on the open road .

    These were good study trucks , hard to kill otherwise .

    That tranny , IIRC is the Muncie M420 ‘ rock crusher ‘ .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    wantahertzdonut

    Does that tailgate just drop straight down to open rather than open outwards?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      No, it has a regular bottom hinge. This one is folded down 180 degrees since there’s nothing to stop it. Look at the shape of the ‘G’.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Yes and no. Prior to the mid-80s, a rear bumper was optional on pickups. If you didn’t have a bumper, the tailgate could open a full 180°.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        1980s? My dad bought a new Ford F-150 Custom in 1992, it had no rear bumper. It also had no radio, but oddly enough, had a car phone which was probably dealer installed as some sort of promotion. IIRC, it was either an alarm or phone you could get with the truck and dad chose the phone. They still put alarm stickers on the window lol. I loved that truck. 300 ci I-6, 5spd manual, pretty cool truck. I always thought dad shouldve given me the truck, but instead traded it in. The dealer’s offer didnt even cover the taxes on the new truck.

        His reasoning for not letting me get it was a very slight rear main seal leak and the original clutch was getting weak. So, I went through a string of POS crap boxes like an 85 Sentra, 84 B2000 (that blew a head gasket, leaked oil like crazy, clutch failed and countless other problems, I actually never got to drive it to school one time) and an 83 Tercel that I hated with a passion.

        Yeah, those piles of steaming crap leaving me stranded all the time and sucking up every dime I had for constant repairs was way better than adding a quart of oil every 2,000 miles and nursing the clutch along until I could afford to replace it (I never felt it slip myself, Im sure it wouldve been a long while before it finally gave up). Still pisses me off 16-17 years later. It was well maintained, it ran excellent, the body was in mint condition. It was not fast enough to get me in trouble, and it was 20x more reliable than those terrible cars/truck I had. Id have been so proud to have driven it to high school.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Interesting factoid. Studebaker used the same bed on their Champ pick-up. Apparently in their final years when they were tottering on financial insolvency they were sourcing parts from other manufacturers.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        The bed stampings for the Champ were bought from Chrysler for a song because the 1961 Dodge pickup was gonna be an entirely new model, and the cab was the front end of the compact Lark sedan, with enough filler to make the two fit on a frame that had been in use since 1949. And the vintage-’49 “stepside” bed was still available, though it’s hard to call it that because it had no running boards. The 1960 Champ cost all of $15 in tooling costs, and most of that was labor.

  • avatar
    wantahertzdonut

    @Drzhivago- now that you mention it, I think the bumper option went even later for some. My brother bought a new Nissan pickup in 1990 without a rear bumper. As a recent grad, he needed to opt down as much as possible so he could afford to get A/C for life in Houston.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Back in the late 80’s a friend of mine bought a base model S-10. 2.5 Iron Duke, Bench seat, dog dish caps and the rear bumper was an option. Apparently it was extra until the mid-90’s replacement.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My granddad had a 58 version of this truck black with white bumpers and grill with white hubcaps. His was a step side with 3 on the tree and nothing else, not even a radio. He traded it in on a left over 63 IH step side in Jan. 64 with a straight 6, three on the tree, and no radio. The IH was a much better truck. He got a good deal on the IH and a local farmer bought his Dodge as soon as he traded it in. My granddad always took excellent care of his vehicles and they always had lower than average mileage. I do remember this truck being not nearly as reliable and good as his 50 Dodge pickup.


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