"Straight Out of Tomorrow," was how its maker described the 1957 Dodge D100 Sweptside pickup. Indeed, Dodge's 1957 cars had what it claimed was a 1960s look, so why not its pickup truck?
So this stylish hauler came complete with contemporary tailfins, "Forward Look" emblems, and (if you liked) pushbutton LoadFlite transmission. In reality, Dodge, which usually ran fifth in truck production and held only seven percent of the truck business, couldn't respond with a ground-up rival to the stylish Chevrolet Cameo Carrier pickup. Dodge's version had to be built with off-the-shelf parts.
Joe Berr, special equipment sales manager at Dodge Truck, went over to the car plant and borrowed a set of rear fenders from a Dodge wagon. He had them welded to a long-wheelbase 1957 Dodge Custom Cab half-ton pickup, bolted on a station-wagon bumper, cut down the tailgate to accommodate the fenders, and made chrome molding pieces to continue the lines forward on the pickup's front fenders.
Add two-tone paint, full wheel covers, and whitewalls, and Berr had his Cameo fighter. Curiously, Dodge knew that the expensive Cameo was a sales dud well before the May 1957 introduction of the 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptside pickup, but went ahead with the car-cued styling anyway.
Stranger yet, promotion stressed business use rather than spiffy personal transportation -- and didn't even mention tailfins, which in 1957 were vital on any "sporty" vehicle. Dodge also didn't mention that most of the goodies fitted to typical Dodge D100 Sweptsides cost extra: automatic transmission, a 314.6-cid V-8, DeLuxe cab with wraparound rear window, power steering and brakes.
Apparently, Dodge saw the 1957 Dodge D100 Sweptside pickup as a publicity job rather than a serious money maker. Sweptsides were afterall costly to build -- always finished expensively in the special equipment shop and never transferred to a regular production line.
In 1958, the Dodge D100 Sweptside pickup reappeared with the restyled truck line, gaining quad headlamps and a busier grille. Dodge modestly said it was the "handsomest truck on the road today."
Like the Cameo, however, the Dodge D100 Sweptside pickup never appealed widely -- perhaps because both trucks had a relatively narrow box and were impractical compared to workaday rivals. The D100 Sweptside was shelved after the 1959 model year.Collectible Pluses of the 1957-1959 Dodge D100 Sweptside Pickup
- A novel and nostalgic truck of the 1950s
- Poor man's Chevy Cameo Carrier pickup
- Great neo-classic styling
- Comfortable and stylish
- Usually has V-8 and automatic
- Bargain priced
- Special body parts virtually extinct
- Hard to find
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