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by Andrew Wasson,
Sweptline Truck Restorations (Canada)
In August 1969, Dodge introduced a new model to the Sweptline pick-up series. The “Custom Sweptline” held the title “Dude Sport Trim Package.” This new model was essentially the standard D100, (1/2 ton), 128” wheelbase pick-up Dodge already had in production, with an added black or white body-side ‘C’ stripe decal; a Dodge Dude decal on the box at the rear marker lamps; tail lamp bezel trim; and dog dish hub caps with trim rings.
The Dude's tailgate was unique, featuring a Dodge decal on a flat tailgate surface, without the typical tailgate’s embossed logo. This decal was under the tailgate release latch and complimented the Dude stripe kit. The Dude’s roof was color matched to the body side stripe and was available in a textured paint option, similar to rocker guard coating. Dodge passed this off to their customers as a vinyl roof option in advertising literature of the day.
A close similarity seems to exist in the Dodge Dude vehicle identification numbers. Most of the
Dude pick-up trucks begin with the serial D14AE. This could mean that many of the Dude packages rolled down the assembly line one after another. The Chrysler plant in Fenton, Missouri is the only known factory to have built the Dude Sport Trim package pickup truck.
Production numbers for Dodge 1/2 ton trucks in 1970 - 1971 were quite low in comparison to GM and Ford. In 1970, Dodge produced 38,857 half-ton trucks, (D100), and in 1971 just 33,487 were produced. It is a general industry estimate that only 1500 to 2000 out of those nearly 73,000 trucks were sold as the Dodge Dude pickup truck option during their model years 1970 and 1971.
Up in Canada there were two Dudes! Here, Chrysler trucks of this era were sold by one of two dealerships. Chrysler-Plymouth dealers sold Fargo Trucks. Trucks sold as Dodge in Canada were sold at the Dodge-Desoto dealers. It has been rumored that there was a Fargo counter-part, “The Fargo Top-Hat Special.” Though widespread, this rumor is false. The Canadian Chrysler-Plymouth dealerships sold Fargo trucks with the Custom Sweptline, Dude decal package. Fargo Dude trucks are extremely rare models of the Dude Sport Trim package.
The Dude Sport Trim package was clearly more fun as far as options and looks went. The body length, C -shaped side stripe fit the contours of the trucks cab to Sweptline box and included the Dude logo. The truck was based more upon paint and tape appearance upgrades rather than comfort or engineering advancements. A good majority of the Dude pickups were 1971 model year trucks, so a truly rare find are the 1970 model years. Engines for these trucks included the 225 slant 6, the 318 small block V8, and the big block 383 V8. The Dude package could also be ordered with options like air conditioning, and bucket seats with center console.
Dude buyers were offered a choice of several of the Chrysler “High-Impact” paint color schemes. Six colors have now become very desirable among the collectors of these rare Dodge Trucks. They include “Medium Burnt Orange,” “Sub-Lime Lime,” “Bright Yellow,” “Plum Crazy Purple,” “Bright Red,” and “Bright Turquoise.” The Dude paint package included a painted body color outside mirror arm and painted gas cap. The wheel rims were painted black on the black decal trucks, and white on the white decal trucks.
In the mid-1970s, Dodge offered the Dude platform once again to their customers. The “Dude II” was released as yet another trim and interior package available in the Dodge Truck lineup. Then, in 2004, the Chrysler Group SkunkWerks team developed a Dodge Durango “Dude” concept truck powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with a unique pickup configuration off the Dodge Durango platform.
Modifications included a cat-back dual exhaust, lowered suspension, custom front and rear fascias, sill extensions, a composite hood inspired by the Viper-powered Dodge Ram SRT10, 20-inch billet wheels from Budnik, custom seating from Lear, and PPG Tangerine Pearl paint.
The idea stayed at the 2004 SEMA show, as Chrysler never took the Durango Dude into production.
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