1977 Plymouth and Dodge trucks and vans (including commercial trucks)
Dodge’s 1977 trucks had a wide range of standard
and optional comfort and convenience features, new exterior and interior
colors, and a new grille for light duty pickups and sport utility vehicles. The company also still sold big trucks — commercial tractor-trailer units — and campers.
Robert H. Kline, manager of truck sales for Chrysler Corporation, said, "We were seeing passenger cars being traded for compact wagons and vans and pickup models. Our Sportsman wagon was the number one selling compact wagon today and the standard and optional interior appointments--such as quick release bench seats and 14 ounce cut-pile carpeting--available for the 1977 models will help keep Sportsman in that position."
Dodge commercial duty trucks and vans
The following information is from Australia and most likely includes a mix of British-and-American-engineered Commer trucks also sold under the Dodge name worldwide, and domestic Dodge trucks in different configurations.
In 1977, Dodge still sold “big rig” commercial trucks and camper chassis; that would end soon, but for the moment the company had a full product line, which in the 1960s had been booming. This is the line advertised in Australia in 1978:
The Dodge D5N series was most likely based on past-model American D-series pickups. Diesels got Rockwell rear axles, gas engines got Spicers.
- The 200/300 could have a three or four speed manual transmission or an automatic; it was most likely the same as the American D200 and D300, and could handle up to 2,940 kg. The V8 engine was, naturally, the 318; the six was a straight-six, which Andrew Ross said was the Australian Hemi Six (245 cubic inches).
- The 400/500: these added a Perkins diesel option, and could handle up to 6,519 kg.
- The 600/700 started with a 318 V8 gas engine or a Perkins diesel, and could also have a Detroit Diesel engine; transmissions were five-speed or ten-speed manuals, and the body and payload could go up to 8,749 kg for a rigid truck, or 21,400 kg for a tractor.
- 700 series tandems could use a V8 gas engine or a Detroit Diesel; again, a 10 speed transmission was available, or buyers could get a five speed main/3 speed auxiliary transmission. Body and payload went up to 22,500 kg.
- The 400/500 had a choice of six or eight cylinder (225 or 318) gas engines, or a Perkins diesel, hooked up to a four speed or five speed manual transmission; body and payload could reach 5,900 kg.
- The 550/600 had the same powertrain choices, with a payload of up to 8,300 kg.
- The 650 had a choice of V8 gas engine or Perkins turbodiesel, with a five-speed manual transmission and body and payload weight of up to 9,300 kg.
Dodge Fuso models, most likely only sold in Australia, were simply Mitsubishi Fusos, complete with Mitsubishi logo on the front; these were all diesels, with five or ten speed transmissions, hauling from 6,600 kg to 37,700 kg. Dodge Canter trucks were both relatively light payload models (4,410 - 4,700 kg), one with a 2.66 liter four-cylinder gas engine, one with a 2.66 liter four-cylinder diesel, using a four speed (gas) or five speed (diesel).
Engines included (but were not restricted to):
Type Size kW (bhp) Nm (lb-ft) Notes Perkins 6-354 diesel, in-line six 354 cid / 5.8 l 98 (131) 385 (284) Gross kW/hp Detroit Diesel 6V53N V6 318.6 cid / 5.2 l 145 (195) 605 (446) Gross kW/hp Chrysler V8 petrol/gas 318 cid / 5.2 l 92 (123) 345 (255) Net kW/hp Chrysler V8 petrol/gas 318 cid / 5.2 l 157 (210) 431 (318) Gross kW/hp; an alternative setup
gave slightly more power
Andrew Ross also wrote (we haven’t confirmed this):
Dating back to the late 1940s, Chrysler and International Harvester used the same bodies for their truck lines with the only differences being in grilles, fenders and interior trim. Up to 1956 Chrysler Australia also produced Fargo and DeSoto trucks differing from Dodge only in trim detail. Chrysler Australia trucks followed the American models very closely until 1952 and from that year, continued with the same body until 1959, albeit with minor styling changes. International introduced their all new style in 1958 which was the same as the American model and Chrysler and International then produced their trucks with this body right up to the end of production (1978 for Dodge and 1979 for International).
1977 Dodge light-duty trucks and vans: Adult Toys and more
Dodge sold a group of what it called "Adult Toys:"
- the short wheelbase Warlock (a trick truck direct from the factory)
- the Street Van, a special version of the best-selling selling Dodge Tradesman full-sized van for individuals who want to do their own customizing
- Macho packages for the four-wheel drive Ramcharger and Power Wagon.
1977 Dodge pickups
A new grille and upper body side moulding--along with a new optional two-tone paint treatment - were new for 1977. There were three trim levels --Custom, Adventurer, and Adventurer SE. All had new two-tone instrument panels and seat trim. Custom models had all vinyl seats with multi-tone stripe insert. Adventurer seats were all vinyl with embossed inserts and Adventurer SE seats featured cloth with vinyl inserts. Optional on Custom and Adventurer models were plaid cloth seats with vinyl bolsters.
Dodge Ramcharger for 1977 featured a new grille, which incorporated rectangular parking lights. Two new optional two-tone paint treatments and an optional upper moulding were designed to make the appearance sporty. Interior refinements included a new instrument panel appearance and new interior colors. Instrument panels were two-tone for a more luxurious appearance, and the instrument cluster on Ramcharger SE featured rosewood appliques.
Dodge Warlock pickup trucks
The Dodge Warlock, featuring fancy wheels, fat tires, bucket seats, authentic oak sideboards and unique customizing of both the interior and exterior, was originally a show vehicle idea. It stirred such interest that Dodge moved quickly to introduce it late in the 1976 model year as a limited production vehicle; its popular made it a regular production model in 1977.
Robert H. Kline, manager of truck sales for Chrysler Corporation, said, "We were seeing an upswing in the number of people who want a light duty pickup instead of a second car. We also were aware that more and more people were customizing and personalizing pickups, particularly the short wheelbase models. As with the van, the movement got its start on the West Coast and it's now moving across the country. The 'trick truck' concept allows the customer to drive away from the dealership with a fully customized vehicle that has a personality of its own," he said.
The Warlock was available with either conventional two-wheel or fourwheel drive. The D100 came with H70 x 15 raised white letter tires and the W100(four-wheel Power Wagon) was equipped with sporty but rugged looking 10 x 15 tires. Chrome plated running boards enhanced both models. Other optional equipment on Warlock models included five-spoke wheels, bucket seats, tinted glass, bright rear bumper, and power steering. All had black interiors accented by gold tape on the dash and the doors, and a "tuff" steering wheel.
Both models were available in Black, Dark Green Metallic or Bright Red. Again, the exterior colors were enhanced by distinctive gold accent stripes on the doors and front and rear panels. Completing the custom look were solid oak sideboards above the box. Even they had been given a gold accent.
From the dealer, the Warlock was a twin to the show vehicle. Only slight changes were made for production purposes. "We accepted a slightly different tone of gold on the spoke wheels, changed the paint stripes to tape stripes and eliminated the roll bar, " Kline said.
The Warlock used all of Dodge's refinements to its pickup line, including the bright new grille with vertical rectangular parking lights, a new instrument panel with a more luxurious appearance, and new cowl panels.
Robert H. Kline, manager of truck sales for Chrysler Corporation, said, "These new Machos can be the answer sought by buyers who were looking for different ways to express their love of vehicles and driving."
Two of the solid, factory customized fun vehicles were manufactured by Dodge and were additions to Chrysler's growing list of adult toys. The third has become part of the Plymouth Convoy.
All three units were descendants of four-wheel drive Dodge trucks that earned a reputation of dependability during World War II.
The Macho packages highlighted sporty wheels and tires, special paint treatments, bold stripes and super graphic lettering on the sides and tailgates. Their custom interiors were neat and clean looking with a touch of luxury. All three Macho packages featured 10-15 LT-B tires, and wheels could either be chrome disc or painted spoke.
The Power Wagon package was offered on the W100 Sweptline pickup either in 115 or 131-inch wheelbase, and featured special yellow decal stripes on both the body side and tailgate, with Power Wagon spelled out in Super Graphics. It was available in eight body colors with low gloss black on the hood, lower body and cab roof. It came with a factory installed three-inch roll bar in the pickup bed.
The Dodge Ramcharger and Plymouth Trail Duster Macho packages include special tape striping on the lower body with Four by Four spelled out in Super Graphics. The tailgates had two large 4s joined by an X.
Both the Ramchargers and Trail Duster featured a new grille which incorporated rectangular parking lights for 1977. Both continued Chrysler's exclusive option of high back cloth or vinyl bucket seats. Other interior refinements included a new, two-tone instrument panel and new interior trim colors.
Kline said,"We expect a strong, steady growth - 12 percent - of sport vehicles between now and the 1980s and these Macho units were designed to give Chrysler an increased share of that growth," he said.
Kline estimated that four-wheel drive vehicles will account for about one out of two domestic trucks sold between 1977 and 1980. "The truck market in the last few years has gone from a strictly commercial oriented market to almost 50 percent personal use," Kline said. "And in 1977 we expect one out of every four domestic vehicles sold will be a truck...More and more people were customizing and personalizing pickups. As it happened with the van, the trend began on the West Coast and is now moving across the country."
1977 full-sized Dodge vans
Dodge Truck's four-year lead in the compact van and wagon market continued in 1977. Five new metallic colors--light green, medium blue, medium green sunfire, russet sunfire, and black sunfire--and four straight shades--light tan, light blue, yellow, and harvest gold--were available in addition to continuing white, bright red, russet, silver cloud metallic, and bright tan metallic.
Maxiwagon and maxivan models continued Chrysler's exclusive 15-passenger capacity for wagons and the longest interior cargo length for vans. The single piece rear door was now standard on wagon models, and dual rear doors were a no-cost option.
Among the new convenience and comfort features available for 1977 were swivel high back bucket driver and passenger seat option in Royal Sportsman and Royal Sportsman SE, Tradesman van and Street Van; quick release mechanism for wagon bench seats which allowed for fast, easy removal of the seats, and new bench seat construction for improved ride.
Gray-colored privacy glass was a new option on Sportsman five and eight passenger wagons and vans for 1977 in addition to the regular tinted glass option. The new glass provided a distinct appearance change, increased the wagon's interior privacy, and reduced the heat loss through the glass for cooler interiors, according to tests at Chrysler's Proving Grounds.
The Street Van (model year 1978)
Robert H. Kline, Chrysler Corporation's manager of truck sales, said, "This model, the first of its type offered by a major manufacturer, has a special appeal to the motorist who wants to convert a unit to his individual tastes, needs, and life style. Our special Street Van provides a custom interior and exterior while leaving a great deal of latitude for plain or fancy conversion of the area between the seats and the rear door."
The Street Van came from the dealership with a custom interior in the driver-passenger area. Standard equipment included high-back bucket seats, carpeting in the forward compartment, woodgrain insert on the instrument panel, and bright trim around the instrument cluster, door trim panels and horn bar. The exterior was unique with H70-1S-B raised white letter tires, a choice of five slot chrome or painted spoke road wheels, and a Street Van nameplate. In addition, the special model boasted bright front and rear bumpers, bright moldings around the grille, windshield and tail lamps, and bright 5x7 side view mirrors.
A detailed set of customizing instructions, plans and templates were provided each purchaser. The Street Van, available on 109 and 127-inch wheelbases in either B100 or B200 models, was designed by Dodge to be the base for individual creative expression, Kline pointed out. "Dodge has been the leader in the compact van and wagon market since 1973, outselling both Ford and Chevrolet as well as the Volkswagen mini-bus. The van which took over the top sales position and the one most often used for conversion was the Dodge Tradesman, a model we originally considered a work vehicle," he said.
The customizing kit furnished with each Street Van included stepby-step photographs and instructions detailing installation of customized features such as port holes, sun roof, and roof vents. A list of manufacturers of these items was also furnished.
"Everything in the kit will make it easier for the do-it-yourselfer to finish the van in an expert, professional manner," Kline said. There were full-size templates for cutting side panels, headliner, and floor covering for the interior. There were also instructions describing the best methods for attaching the material to the inside of the van and illustrations with dimensions showing six alternate graphic schemes; and a membership in the Van Clan and an associate membership in the National Street Van Association (NSVA) along with a subscription to NSVA's publications on van activities.
“valiant67” wrote: “The Street Vans appears to have been made from 1976 to 1980. 1976 models should have had a Street Machine decal on the doors, later years used an emblem that supposedly is quite valuable.”