Coolest Classic Pickup Truck? Freiburger Says the 1966 Dodge D100 Utiline
Classic Dodge pickup trucks just don't get the same amount of love as their Ford F100 and Chevy C10 counterparts. But if you ask David Freiburger, he'll tell you that the Dodge D100, especially the 1966 model, is the coolest classic American pickup truck ever. Which is why he dragged Mike Finnegan all the way to Brighton, Colorado, just outside of Denver, to pick one up, sight unseen.
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The truck in question is a 1966 Short Bed Utiline (the step-side bed) and Freiburger thinks it's so cool because there are details that only exist on the late 1965 and 1966 model years. In that golden year and a half, they were equipped with some very cool bits from the factory. First notable part is the hood with factory louvers. It also opens so wide the boys could do an engine swap without even removing it! Next is the 16-slot tin grille with pie-pan style headlamps. Some might think those are ugly, but that only ups the cool factor for Freiburger. But the parts Freiburger is most excited about are the refrigerator-style door handles. As he points all these details out to Finnegan, trying to convince him that the D100 is worth the trip, Finnegan admits he's already sold on the truck.
Finnegan likes the factory-chopped look of the cab. Freiburger says the D100 has the biggest interior of any classic American pickup. It's Omaha Orange (mostly), and still has the factory engine-turned trim pieces and dash panel inside. And it's a truck! Freiburger says the 1966 Dodge D100 is the greatest truck in history of motorized transportation and that he is unreasonably stoked about getting it. Finnegan can commiserate, explaining that the truck serves two purposes: David gets the pleasure of owning his favorite pickup, and he gets to clean out his garage by putting parts meant for a different truck on this one: "That's the reason for owning a truck, when you've got the parts, you need to buy the vehicle to match those parts."
Said parts are a set of slotted and dished mag wheels Freiburger has been sitting on for over 15 years that were meant for a different D100. But there's a side trip Freiburger doesn't have to work too hard to convince Finnegan to go on. The '66 D100 currently has the stock engine under hood—the much maligned Poly 318 A-engine. Freiburger needs a 440 and he's going to visit three Mopar enthusiasts, Eric and Stuart in Colorado and Chris in Nevada, on the way home to get one!
At Eric Lemay's house in Colorado, Mike and David were impressed to find a body-swapped and dropped '68 D100 riding on a '78 chassis. Finnegan marveled at Lemay's General Mayhem clone and they picked up some much needed parts—a new piece of plywood for the bed of Freiburger's new truck (from under the sleepy-time bed of their new friend) and the gas tank out of Eric's '68. The much larger fuel tank would come in handy on the long haul over the Rockies to Nevada. At the next stop in Colorado, they ogled the D100's bigger brother, Stuart's '66 D200 Power Wagon, where Freiburger picked up the much needed 440-specific bellhousing and flywheel to make his swap a reality. Finally, at Chris's house in Nevada, Freiburger got the big-block the D100 deserves—a 440 out of a motorhome.
Of course, the requisite amount of Roadkill happens along the way—the driver-side rear wheel cylinder blew, necessitating a parking lot replacement; the wheels that came on the truck had an incorrect center register and needed to be replaced because they almost wobbled off, thankfully Freiburger had those slotted mags at the ready; the mufflers fell off, no joke; and of course the most common Roadkill bodge was implemented (before arriving at Eric's house), the gas can fuel tank. But, the Poly 318 never quit after 750 miles. All it needed was a battery to get it going and a tightening of a fuel line. It impressed the boys so much with its solid power, staid reliability, and sporty exhaust note that Freiburger almost feels bad ditching it for the 440. There are more surprises instore on this episode of Roadkill, head over to the MotorTrend App now to see for yourself!