The standard engine in half-ton Dodge pickups was the rugged and anvil-reliable 218 cubic inch flathead six, which, in stock form, made a nice, round 100 horsepower. This one looks mostly stock save for an Offenhauser split intake manifold with dual carburetors, and twin exhaust manifolds for dual exhaust. Given the gearing and intended use of the trucks, the upgrades are an excellent choice, adding power that can be used in today’s traffic and never feeling over-worked. Of course, it’s pretty hard to kill one of these, with their bulletproof internals, and the wiring is recent. The engine’s current condition suggests that it actually led an easy life in a dry climate and it runs beautifully without any fussiness. Regular maintenance seems to have been part of the owner’s recipe for longevity, and it spins to life easily and drives as it should. The brakes work well, the transmission shifts easily, and the ride is surprisingly comfortable given its age. 15-inch chrome wheels with baby moon hubcaps are the right look for a mild ’50s custom, and it sits on fat 245/60/15 white-letter radials.

Lithia Springs, Georgia, United States