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by Andrew Wasson,
Restorations (Canada)[Modified and edited]
In August 1969, Dodge introduced a new model to the Sweptline pick-up series. The “Dude Sport Trim Package” was essentially the standard D100, (1/2 ton), 128” wheelbase pick-up Dodge already had, 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 embossed logo. This decal, under the tailgate release latch, 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.
Most of the
Dude pick-up trucks begin with the serial D14AE, signifying that they were rear wheel drive half-tons with 318 cubic inch V8s. 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), followed by 33,487 in 1971. It is a general industry estimate that only 1,500 to 2,000 out of those nearly 73,000 trucks were sold as the Dodge Dude pickup truck option during their model years 1970 and 1971.
Added by Allpar. In the more popular year, 1971, buyers got a 37-amp alternator (50 or 60 amp alternators were optional or part of packages), an I-beam front axle with a 2,00 pounds capacity, and a semi-floating hypoid rear axle with 3,600 pound capacity and gear ratios of 3.23, 3.55, or 3.91. The trucks had standard drum brakes, activated by a dual braking system, with 11 inch front drums and 10 inch rear drums. Power brakes were optional.
The base engine was the 198 or 225 cubic inch slant six, with optional 318 or 383 cubic inch V8s, the latter pushing out 258 hp (gross); transmissions were three and four speed synchronized manuals, and a three-speed “LoadFlite” automatic (a beefed-up Torqueflite). 15 inch wheels were standard, with 16 inch wheels optional. 383 buyers got hydraulic lifters, a drop-forged crank, 18-inch fan, and 12-inch clutch. Three speed manuals were column shifted, while four-speeds — with wide or narrow ratios — had floor-shifts.
The 1971 catalog shows the Dude as “The new Dodge Custom Sweptline pickup truck... in the snazzier “Dude” Sport Trim Package.” The Dude wasn’t a separate model, really — but a trim package on the Custom Sweptline. The big emphasis in that year’s truck brochure, though, was the Adventurer series — a similar package in most respects, but with different striping and graphics.
Up in Canada there were two Dudes! Here, while Dodge-DeSoto dealers sold Dodge trucks, Chrysler-Plymouth dealers sold similar Fargo trucks. 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 truck’s cab to the 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 models, so a truly rare find are the 1970 model years. Engines for these trucks included the 225 slant six, 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.
Dude buyers were given a choice of several of the Chrysler “High-Impact” paint color schemes, and six colors have now become very desirable among the collectors of these rare Dodge trucks: Medium Burnt Orange, Sub-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.
Buyers of trucks in most colors got a choice of white or black stripe; white, tan, and beige trucks had to have black stripes, while dark green trucks came with white stripes. All could choose a black or beige interior; white trucks could have any color interior, and medium or dark green trucks could also get green interiors. Likewise, dark and light blue trucks could have blue interiors as well as black and beige.
In the mid-1970s, the “Dude II” was released as yet another trim and interior package.
The 2004 Dodge Durango “Dude” concept turned a Durango into a Hemi-powered pickup; it also had a cat-back dual exhaust, lowered suspension, custom front and rear fascias, sill extensions, a composite hood, 20-inch Budnik billet wheels, custom Lear seats, and PPG Tangerine Pearl paint. The idea stayed at the 2004 SEMA show, as Chrysler never took the Durango Dude — or anything like it — into production.
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