Dodge D50 muscle truck

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I while back this glue bomb came to me and I put it aside with no real interest in restoring it. But recently I got interested in Mini trucks after I bought myself a real 2000 Chevy S10, extended cab, shortbed stepside with a 4.3 V6 and most of the required "toys". It needs some work to put on the road, but that's another story.......

While waiting for some warm weather to paint a bunch of half finished models, I dug the D50 out of the cupboard with an idea to experiment and turn it into a......... what? The previous owner/builder had securely glued on the optional fender flares so that kinda left me without a whole bunch of choices. Circle track race truck wasn't in the cards, perhaps a dragster... naw! The logical option was some kind of custom street truck but I wanted someting different from so many of those other mini trucks.

How about a Muscle mini truck! Stock body and chassis for street use but with a Hemi! But would a full blown hemi fit in that small engine compartment? Only one way to find out....!

My first attempt failed miserably. Using the stock chassis and front suspension... there was no way! But meanwhile I had cleaned and stripped the body of paint and added a quick change rear end into the truck. At this point I should tell you that I'm no mechanic in real life so I'm sure there will be flaws in my build in the real world. If you see any as I proceed, please let me know and I will try to correct them along the way (if I can).

First pic is the glue bomb disassembled:

D50disassembled.jpg

Next pic is after stripping the body of paint and cleaning up the chassis a little:

D50firststripwchassis.jpg

After the lowering, reassembling and repairing of the front suspension, adding a roll cage (don't ask me why!) and adding the quick change rear end. At this point I tried a mocked up Hemi between the rails and realized that some major changes needed to be made.... more of that in the next post.

modifiedstage1.jpg

Stay tuned.... I've actually dome more work after this but the pics are still in my camera's memory...... By the way, if anyone has a spare left (driver) side taillight lens (mine's missing), please let me know.

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Posted · Report post

Nice build. I like the idea that you have. Great job so far.

STewart

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Thanks Stewart.

Not sure how well I will be able to finish the paint on this build as the body is pretty badly damaged from excess glue, rough assembly and handling, but I'm not looking for a show truck with fancy rims and such. Probably try to finish it as a late '70/early 80's backyard custom driver built by someone with a bunch of ideas but not a lot of money, mechanical and bodywork skills to get it really looking smooooth....... wait a minute, that sounds a lot like me! The theme will be a transplanted Hemi from a "period used car lot" find. Back then, Hemi's were not worth what they are today, and usually a complete car in running condition could be found for a couple of hundred bucks. Oh, for the good old days!

Pretty much a "parts box" build, using whatever parts I can find in my stash.

Tony

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Uploaded a few more pics from my camera.

Trying to keep this build all Mopar (was the D50 a Mitsubishi?), I checked my stash of unbuilt models and came up with this '68 Roadrunner kit from my pile of started but never finished collection. This kit surrendered its 440 (I think it's a 440 but could be a 383?) but I'm no Mopar expert.

roadrunnerbox.jpg

Checking the Roadrunner front subframe it appeared that it would be able to replace the D50 front rails completely and solve my engine mounting problem. It also had inner fenders, a firewall and rad cradle that looked like they could be transplanted into the D50 front end with some fairly minor modifications.

I had to remove the D50 inner fenders, rad cradle and firewall and cut down the size of the Roadrunner ones, but it seems work out pretty well. I'm hoping the body, chassis, wheels and wheelwell openings will all line up after surgery, but although I measured and checked twenty or so times before I started.... you never know!

Out came the trusty razor saw and, with trembling hands, I started to butcher the roadrunner chassis and floor assembly. Once started... no turning back! (By the way, for you Mopar guys, dry those tears... I have two more of these Roadrunner kits to build as well as at least three 1/24 diecasts.)

Gluing the frame back together was done with superglue (probably should have used epoxy but I'd run out and it was late at night) and a couple of reinforcing brackets but I'm not sure it will hold up to the amount of checking and double checking I usually do during a build.

Here's how it's coming together:

Front rails removed and replaced with Roadrunner subframe:

frontframeunder.jpg

D50 engine compartment gutted for Roadrunner assembly:

frontframetop.jpg

How the new arrangement looks with the engine in place:

newenginebay.jpg

And finally, an exploded view of how (I hope) the whole thing will come together:

explodedview.jpg

Keeping my fingers... and other parts of my body...... crossed!

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Posted · Report post

Nice work so far. That engine looks like a HEMI to me. I believe that the 383 was never put in a kit though the conversion should be fairly easy from a 440.

STewart

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That is indeed the 426 Hemi in the RoadRunner kit. As to your question Tony, the D50 was in fact a Mitsubishi built truck and was powered by the anemic 2.6L 4 cylinder (now, add a turbo to the 2.6L and watch out!).

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Thanks Stewart. Appreciate you staying with me on this build. Feel free to input both positive and negative if you see something wrong. B)

Thanks Brad. Boy, you're a mine of information and it's always there when I need it! :lol:

Somehow, I'm not sure this will be the best handling truck in the world! All that front end weight would probably send it into the ditch at the first bend in the road! However, I'm sure we can figure out a way to modify the suspension a little, but that will come later. Any ideas?

Tony

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To make it handle with 800# of dead iron over the front wheels? Well, set the engine as far back and down as you can, throw in the heaviest torsion bars you can find (I believe the Hemi bars were 1 and 1/2" diameter), stuff in some heavy shocks and an aftermarket sway bar (also about 1.25"-1.50") and it might stand a chance! A lot of the real Mopars built for corner-carving now feature tubular k-members, adapted rack and pinion steering, tubular lower arms, and caster/camber adjusters for better handling characteristics. Wide front tires and beefy brakes would also be a serious requirement to stop that much weight.

When we were racing, we tried for a 50/50 front/rear weight bias. However, with a FOX Mustang, that is almost an impossible task. What we found that worked was diagonal balancing, where the RF/LR weight was the same as the LF/RR weight. This way, the car has the same weight shift/handling loads on the front corners in either direction, and the cars rear was also load balanced. Now, with that said, we would spring-load the right rear with a slightly higher spring rate to help compensate for the torque-squat we would encounter blasting into the straight from exiting a corner. But I digress, this is all rear car stuff and will in no way affect the model!

Keep at it Tony, I am watching.

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Great ideas Brad; let's see what I might be able to do.....

Lowering the engine and setting it back is out of the question due to the confines of the engine bay and suspension. New style tubular K member doesn't really fit with the build period, which is set in the early eighties and basically a "backyard" build. (Does that sound familiar - maybe Billy has another buddy?) But maybe I can triangulate the rear frame for a little more rigidity, and also attach/weld the cab section to the box for the same reason.

Neither kit includes any steering assembly at all but I may be able to cobble something up from my parts box to get a more detailed engine bay.

From all your good ideas, I think I will be limited to some heavy duty springs and shocks, maybe a rear sway bar and of course some wide (for the early '80's - Polyglass G70's?) tires, and front rotors. This is going to be strictly a street cruiser and weekend drag strip contender!

I'm not in a club and don't enter competitions with my builds; so I usually keep them pretty simple as long as they look good to me on my shelves and in photos and make a certain amount of sense!

(Side note: Now I'm looking a little differently at the '86 GT Fox in my garage.......!)

Tony

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Don't worry Tony, whatever you decide to do with this is cool by me! One of the guys who used to come to our Mopar club meetings had a Hemi-powered D50.........that thing was WILD.

(If you ever have any questions regarding your 86, just ask.......I might be able to answer them!)

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The body got a basic "backyard" paint job in the garage.

darkblue2.jpg

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Posted · Report post

this is a great build

that hemi will be right at home in that pupy and i think the fenderflares will look good painted black (to look like the ABS aftermarket ones)

if you want to you can send the remainders of the roadrunner to me and ill get her good as new again ;)

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Posted · Report post

Nice paint. You are doing well.

Stewart

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diymirage: The black fender flares idea (Bushwacker style) had occurred to me as well, but I'm not sure they were available in the early eighties. Do you know? Checking out some old Truck magazines from that era, most of the fender flares seem to have been painted the same color as the body. (PS: Sorry, I have plans for the rest of the Roadrunner!)

Stewart: Thanks

Tony

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The paint came out SUPER for a garage spray Tony! I need to wheel some of my projects into your garage for a spray-down.

most of the early fender flares were fiberglass and were painted the same color as the body. The later Poly flares didn't come along until the early-mid 90s, and they were either Black or 'Trim Black...gray'.

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diymirage: The black fender flares idea (Bushwacker style) had occurred to me as well, but I'm not sure they were available in the early eighties. Do you know? Checking out some old Truck magazines from that era, most of the fender flares seem to have been painted the same color as the body. (PS: Sorry, I have plans for the rest of the Roadrunner!)

Stewart: Thanks

Tony

lol, I wasnt even available during the first part of the eighties

on top of that dodges were rare where i grew up (even today it looks like 80% of the cars on the road here are european and 80% of those are german)

looking forward to seeing how the roadrunner comes out

on a side note,you should scratch up those flares to make em look like they went through the woods

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Very cool Hemi Powered D-50

I like how ya got the Roadrunner chassis into it.

Those AMT Roadrunner kits make a great donor for anything Mopar :D

For some extra Road Grip, what about throwing some extra weight into the bed.

Maybe a loaded tool box? :D

On a Funny side note, My dad is an All American Mopar Guy and has owned 3 D-50s.

Weird, I should stick a Mopar Emblem on my cars so he likes them :lol:

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Nice I like the Road Runner parts working into this makes me wish i could

have found my 2 D50 models when I moved in 2008 had one kind of along

this idea only was using Dodge nascar motor and think I had cut front to tilt

open had some tires planned to make it a street machine like i saw done to S10's

in the magazines. the other was still in the box and was no where to be found so

it got left hear they never did find it.

because i had asked if they found them to save them for me oh well now i want

to get one and then get my parts out of storage and try some ideas with my own

build like this.

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Among six other builds on my bench, I got back to the D50, painted and temporarily installed the motor (not glued in yet) and added some carpet and seats (also not glued in) to the interior. I keep switching back and forward between projects so each one is going slower than I would like. (And that's not including the half finished projects that went back in their boxes until some future date!)

D50interiorandmotorin.jpg

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Looks nice. I hope you will be using wider tires though. B) I know what you mean as far as builds. :D Keep it up.

STewart

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The front wheels and tires will stay as is but I may switch to wider at the rear. I have to keep in mind what was available to the average backyard buider from the local tire store in the early eighties and would fit a suitable set of possible rear wheels like Cragars or Keystones.

If I keep the Roadrunner wheels I'm somewhat limited in what would actually fit them. I'm trying to keep this a low budget build for the guys, so they would try to make use of as much of the bargain "used car lot" Roadrunner parts as they could.

Research time!!!

Tony

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Tony, I have a few sets of aftermarket wheels that would have been available back in the 80s that can be widened/narrowed to fit your needs. I have some Cragars, some Outlaws, and some various other sets if you are interested. PM me and maybe Canadian/American post will play nice and get them to you in a reasonable time frame.

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Many thanks for the offer Brad. But I think I'm going to stay with the spirit of this build, which is "low buck - whatever you can get cheap". (In this case, use as much as you can from the "cheap" Roadrunner.) Maybe I'll try to find some wider period tires from my stash.

By the way.... I lost two more purchases to USPS, A 1930 Johan Cadillac Coupe and a package of BMF! Fortunately the Cadillac seller returned my money. The opened package was returned to him by the post office without the model. The BMF package was last seen somewhere in Georgia!

Tony

Edited by GTMust

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Looks like we aren't the only victims of USPS/Canadian Post. I am sorry to hear that Tony, and hope you can recover the losses and find another kit/bare Metal Foil.

If you ever want, the offer still stands for some 80s backyard wheels!

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Neat build..I've thought about building something like this using the 318/360 from the '75 Dart.

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