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Dowdy's Thirty Seven Hudson Terraplane

Daring To Be Different

Bob Ryder
Jun 21, 2007
Photographers: Wes Allison
Photo 2/14   |   1937 Hudson Custom Truck promo Spread
Truckin' featured a one-of-a-kind '37 Hudson Terraplane "Mantis" back in October 2002, that was titled "Simply Wicked," on pages 103-109. Dan Dowdy from Dolan Springs, Arizona, had built and painted the unique custom Terraplane at his homestead shop. After selling Simply Wicked to an enthused buyer for a suitcase full of cash, Dan developed an affinity for ol' Hudson Terraplanes. He couldn't live without one, so he decided to build another one. This time, he had decided that it would be bigger, badder, and brighter. Dan's wife Mary just shook her head and laughed when we asked her about the obsession. She has been Dan's third hand wrench on all of his custom rides and drag cars for 35 years now.
Photo 3/14   |   The flush-mount hard tonneau cover was wrapped in tan leather to match the interior.
Dan discovered his latest '37 Hudson in a snow drift next to a fence, off of Highway 93 in Ely, Nevada. After trailering the carcass home, Dan busted out wrenches and started disassembling his newly found treasure. He was fortunate enough to have a spacious year-round climate-controlled shop that's complete with a disassembly room, an assembly room, a hoist room, and a paint booth to do everything in-house. After receiving the frame back from the sand blaster, the framerails were boxed by using 11-gauge steel plate. Dan installed a Street Rod Engineering crossmember up front, then it was trailered over to Finish Line Coatings in Lake Havasu, Arizona, to receive powdercoating. Next, Dan installed a set of Air Ride Technologies A-arms, a pair of CPP front spindles, and CPP '71 Camaro front brake rotors and calipers. To obtain the adjustable lowered stance, a set of Air Ride Technologies pneumatic 'bags allow the Terraplane to drop 10 inches from its stock ride height. A Maval power-steering rack and pinion unit acts as the truck's rudder. The timeless ride rolls on a set of Colorado Custom Wild Horse polished billet aluminum wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson Sportsman rubber. Meanwhile, the four-bar rear suspension is controlled by Air Ride Technologies Shockwave pneumatic 'bags. A Ford 9-inch rearend received a Richmond 3.70 ring and pinion gear set, which came complete with a pair of 32-spline Mosier axles with a four-pinion center section and a removable rear-end cover. The rear-end housing is supported and located by six hand-built trusses with adjustable heim joints. Dowdy then fabricated a 19-gallon aluminum fuel tank, which was located under the bed and between the framerails.
Photo 4/14   |   This massive Arias 610ci aluminum block and cylinder head produces 1,500 hp. When sprayed with nitrous oxide, it steps up to nearly 2,000 hp! The intimidating roots-style 871 electronic-injected BDS Blower enhances the air intake, which adds to the horsepower/torque equation. Dan uses only 100-percent VP Racing 112-octane fuel, so he gets approximately 1-mile per gallon!
The Terraplane's brute strength comes from a huge Arias 610ci 10.0L V-8 aluminum block with massive Arias aluminum hemi cylinder heads. Nick Arias put his personal touches into the engine as he machined and assembled the components. The engines 8:1 compression is ideal for the 871 Blower Drive Service (BDS) supercharger that is 6-percent overdriven. This mammoth Arias produces an incredible 1,500 hp off the bottle, and nearly 2,000 hp on Nitrous Oxide! The trick aluminum hemi heads were detailed, ported, and polished by Joe Mondello. A Mallory distributor receives electrical impulses from the MSD crank trigger magnets, which are embedded in the aluminum trigger wheel, then it disperses the electric energy through 9mm Taylor ignition wires to the spark plugs. The Avion oil pump produces and delivers plenty of oil pressure and oil to the bearings and internal components. Dan designed and hand-built a set of large 2-1/4-inch diameter equal-length tube headers. After they were completed, he sent them to Hedman Hedders to receive its High Tech Coating (HTC). The headers flow into a 2-1/4-inch exhaust and a pair of Flowmaster two-stage mufflers. An eight-row staggered-fin copper-core custom radiator was built by Any Radiator in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and keeps the power cool. Dan is known for his superior transmission knowledge and skills, which he used to beef up the Turbo 400 automatic transmission with a TCI reversed-valve body controlling the torque coming from the Hy Torque 3,200 rpm stall converter and a Gear Vender's sixth-gear overdrive. The electrical supply comes from two A/C Delco batteries, which are located forward and underneath the bed.
Photo 5/14   |   The cab's lid was lowered 4-1/2inches, the door corners were radiused and stretched 7 inches, and the A-pillars were laid-back 8 degrees. The custom bed and tailgate were laid forward to create a fast-forward profile. Dan widened and lengthened the rear fenders in the back to extrude past the tailgate.
The rare '37 Terraplane sheetmetal was found in pretty good condition. To achieve a hammered profile, Dan and his buddy Dale Taylor dropped the lid 4-1/2 inches and laid the A-pillars back 8-degrees. Then, the doors and jambs were stretched 7 inches, radiused, and then reversed to operate in a suicide configuration. Next, the external door hinges were removed and the internal hinges were then installed. After that, the rear of the cab was made to lean forward a total of 3 inches to accommodate the 7-inch stretch of the doors. The rear split window came from a '37 Terraplane coupe. Its curvature was taken out, then it was grafted into the rear of the cab. The rear window was set up with electric power giving it vertical movement. The cowl was swept back to flow with the windshield and the cowl vent was removed. Next, the factory four-piece hood was modified into two removable side panels. The top two-piece hood was welded together into a one-piece hood. A hole was cut into the top one-piece hood to accommodate the BDS supercharger bug catcher. Then, the original '37 Terraplane grille and shell were reconstructed into their current immaculate condition. The original front steel fenders were swept and radiused, which created a more aero appearance. Following that, slot turn indicators were sliced into the fenders. Dan custom-built the projector headlights, then grafted them into the front apron. Then, the hand-built running boards were given an hourglass shape to achieve a more sleek style. The bed was hand-built, welded, and then molded to the cab. The one-piece bed's tailgate was eliminated to carry out a more stylish and fast-forward overall appearance. The rear section sheetmetal of the bed was configured by using a '42 Ford hood nose, sides, and bottom corners with a pair of Ford truck cab corners. The center section was contrived from a '60s Chevy Corvair roof. The rear teardrop fenders were borrowed from a '37 Terraplane car; and they too were radiused, widened 3 inches, and boat-tailed 4 inches to extend out past the tailgate. Next, the custom slot taillight lenses were cut, then they were mounted flush into the fenders. With all of the many body mods completed, Dan spent endless hours block sanding until he achieved the shape he wanted. After spraying a couple of sandable coats of primer, then a final block-sanding session, it was prepped for paint. Dan has been painting all of his rods timeless colors and this build was no exception. Dan used multiple coats of Matrix '06 Toyota Red as the basecoats with color sanding between each one. Then, he laid out a set of wispy flames and ghosted them with a gold-and-cinnamon color. After the basecoat had time to dry and cure, Dan buried the surfaces in numerous coats of clear to achieve a slippery-when-wet look.
The incredible high-quality tan-leather interior was cut, stitched, and stretched by the talented hands of Gabe Lopez at Gabe's Upholstery in Bloomington, California. The stock steel dash was smoothed and painted the body color. It was filled with 10 Auto Meter silver faced gauges: oil pressure, pyrometer, boost, fuel, water temp, fuel pressure, voltage, air pressure, speedometer, and tachometer. The custom-built center console houses the B&M ratchet shifter, Gear Vendors Under/Overdrive switch. A central Air Ride Technologies control panel is located above the three switches for the electric side and back windows. The bottom row of covered toggle switches activate the electric fuel pump, cooling radiator fan, and rear license plate. The seats were borrowed from an '89 Toyota Celica, which were then modified, reshaped, and covered in high-quality tan leather with sectioned inserts. The custom-built door panels were embossed with flames, while the sectioned inserts and armrests match the seamless headliner. The sorrel carpet matches the rest of the Terraplane's dcor. Under the tan canvas-covered tonneau is a matching tan leather bed floor and side-panels. The music to Dan's ears is the rhythm of the Arias engine's loppy cam and open headers. He figures, who needs a sound system? It would only collect dust.
The first time Dan and Mary rolled in Timeless at the '06 Northwest Motorfest in Boise, Idaho, it won Best of Show. It continued its show-stopping abilities at Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada, and was also featured at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year it was shown at the prestigious "Blackies Show" in Fresno, California. Its next stop will be the Goodguys Del Mar Show and at the Havoc Truckin' Lake Havasu Show.
Dowdy's, '37 Terraplane is a perfect example of daring to be different.



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