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Dodge trucks were available in many configurations in 1960, powered by just two engines: the ancient flat-head six, which was soon to be replaced, and the 318 cubic inch V8 A-engine (not to be confused with the newer and more familiar LA engine). Though antiquated, the six cylinder was by far the biggest seller, especially on the base model, where it outsold the V8 by nearly three to one. Wherever sales exceeded 500 units of a particular model, the six outsold the eight.
Prices ranged from $1,958 for the D199 Utiline pickup truck with 6 ½ foot bed to $2,624 for the eight-passenger D100 Town Wagon. Going from D100 to D200 added about $150 to the price of a pickup; going to the D300 added about another $150. Three wheelbases were available, at 108, 116, and 126 inches, to go with 6 ½, 7½ (or 8), and 9 foot beds.
Though the Dodge trucks had just been redesigned in 1957, with bigger V8s and the pushbutton automatic; and had gained double-headlights in 1958, with suspended pedals, concealed running boards, hydraulic clutch, and a new instrument panel in 1959, Dodge lost market share throughout the 1950s, with sales rising only starting in 1962; an oddity since 1961 was when new models were brought out, powered by slant six (or V8) engines with alternators, and featuring much lower cabs and other amenities. Truck buyers may have waited to see how the designs would fare in their first year, given the disastrous quality issues of the 1957 Chrysler Corporation cars. In any case, 1960 was largely a carryover year as Dodge prepared for its massive changes of 1961.
United States sales of Dodge trucks in calendar year 1960 was 44,998, with 70,305 produced (many sold internationally), according to the Standard Catalog of Light-Duty Trucks. Nearly all sales were rear wheel drive units, with the most popular being the 116-inch wheelbase D100, followed closely by the base 108-inch wheelbase D100.
Modern buyers might be amused by some of the options - heater at $49.70 or $68.10, depending on whether fresh air intake was desired; rear view mirror ($3.30); turn signals ($20 to $28.50); AM radio ($59); and right-side sun visor ($3). Buyers could also opt for a one-quart oil-bath type air cleaner at $6.60 on sixes or $8 on V8, replacing the standard air cleaner; chrome-plated front bumper for $14; and larger capacity oil filter for $9.30 on the six. Anti-spin differentials (to be famous as "PosiTraction" on GM models) were already available on D100 and D200 models.
Capacities were high given the horsepower. The D100 had a maximum gross vehicle weight of 5,100 pounds; the D200, 7,500 pounds; the D300, a full 9,000 pounds.
Dodge’s “low-tonnage” trucks had a choice of a 120 (gross) horsepower straight six, or the biggest V8 in its class, the 318 V8 with 200 horsepower. The 318 had rounded combustion chambers to reduce carbon deposits and allow use of regular gas; it included free-turning exhaust valves, floating piston pins, shunt-type oil filter, and rotary oil pump (not used by competing engines). The 318 produced 200 gross horsepower at 3,900 rpm, 286 lb-ft of torque at 2,400 rpm, and had an 8.25:1 compression ratio. According to the Standard Catalog of Light-Duty Trucks, the straight six pushed out a mere 25 net horsepower, while the 318 produced 49 net horsepower. The 318 used hydraulic lifters even at this early date.
The L-head six – notably, not the just-introduced slant six – was the old flathead model with 230 cubic inches and 120 horsepower at 3,600 rpm. Torque was 202 lb-ft at a low 1,600 rpm; the compression ratio was 7.9:1. Features included exhaust-valve seat inserts and chrome-plated top piston rings. It was standard in all Dodge low-tonnage trucks.
“Bright, spacious, comfortable Dodge cabs” had rich new colors, with harmonizing seat fabrics; a huge wrap-around windshield; a 56-inch-wide seat with coil-spring construction; and optional foam-rubber padding.
The standard cab had included an ash tray, dome light, non-sag head-lining, fiberboard door panels, rubber floor mats, sun visor on driver's side only, fully adjustable seat, suspended pedals, wrap-around windshield, pull-type exterior door handles, key locks in both cab doors, driver’s side outside mirror, single-speed electric windshield wipers, driver-adjustable hand-brake, hooded instrument cluster, sound-deadener on cab floor, deep-center steering wheel, and roomy dispatch box.
Custom Cab added an armrest for driver's side, variable-speed electric wipers, insulated dash lining, sound-absorbent door panels, insulated head-lining, foam-rubber seat and seat-back padding, and dual sun visors.
A wrap-around rear cab window, with 636-sq. in. glass area, was available for visibility.
Instruments were placed for easy viewing, on a no-glare black background. Warning lights indicated oil pressure and generator charge. A unique lever allowed drivers to adjust the parking brake system quickly and without tools.
The seat adjusted fore, aft, up and down; the seat-back tilted forward for access to the storage area behind the seat.
A concealed step stayed clear of ice and snow for extra-safe footing. An optional compact transistor-type radio mounted on the cab ceiling. Dual headlights were new, as were whitewalls on D-100 and a bright-metal trim package including side moldings, headlight panels, bumpers, and lower grille bar.
Sweptline pickup bodies were available on all Dodge low-tonnage chassis, in 6.5, 8, and 9 foot lengths with up to 84 cubic feet of steel-floored cargo space. The cab-wide body allowed extra room for payload while the ribbed floor made it easier to slide heavy items.
The durable Utiline body had a seasoned wood floor, prefinished to resist weather damage. Raised metal skid-strips eased cargo handling. Running boards simplified over-the-side loading, while flat body sides provide a handy "resting place" for heavy objects being lifted in or out. It was available on all three chassis in the same lengths as the Sweptline beds.
Dodge panel vans provided 155 cubic feet of fully enclosed load space on the compact 108-inch-wheelbase D100 chassis. The steel body was rustproofed inside and out. The seasoned wood floor was close to the ground to reduce lifting when loading.
A town wagon hauled people, payload, or both, seating up to eight people or, with the seats out, hauling nearly a 94-ton load. The interior was lined in Masonite and meadboard. Offered on D100, 108-inch-wheelbase chassis only.
Dodge low-tonnage stakes handled high-volume loads in 7 1/2 and 9-foot lengths with seasoned wood floors. Features included heavy-gauge steel supporting members, lightweight twin rear racks, a floor 78 inches wide, and sides 30 inches high.
The Tradesman was made to order for electricians, painters, repair-men and others. It had up to six lock-up compartments for tools and supplies plus floor space for larger items. It had in two styles on 116-inch wheelbase D100 and D200 models.
Chassis cabs were also available for aftermarket fitters.
Push-button driving was a Dodge exclusive in trucks, using the 3-speed LoadFlite (brother to the TorqueFlite); manual transmissions had three or four synchronized speeds.
"Uni-Servo" front and "Duo-Servo" rear brakes had up to 234.23 sq. in. total lining area, leading the low-price class in stopping power. Progressive rear springs, in D100 and D200 models, automatically compensated for changing loads . Tension-type rear spring shackles aided stability, reduced noise, and needed no lubrication.
Tough I-beam front axles with semi- and full-floating rear axles provided strength, with a variety of ratios available. Power steering was available for all models; the linkage was the gear-before-axle type. The clutch was a full 11 inches, standard, with 123 square inches of frictional area. The parking brake was independent of the service brake in case of main brake failure.
The Standard Catalog of Light Duty Trucks noted that Dodge also introduced a new series of medium and heavy duty trucks in 1959 (for the 1960 model year), with the first-ever Chrysler use of Cummins turbodiesels; 250 of these were ordered by the Pennsylvania Highway Department alone.
Chrysler 1904-2018 •
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