Dodge D Series

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For Dodge's modern full-size pickup, see Dodge Ram.
Dodge D Series
Dodge D100.jpg
Manufacturer Dodge (Chrysler)
Production 1961–1993
Assembly Warren, Michigan, United States
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Pretoria, South Africa
Body and chassis
Class Full-size pickup truck
Body style 2-door truck
4-door truck
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Platform Chrysler AD platform
Predecessor Dodge C Series
Successor Dodge Ram (newer platforms have "D" prefixed in its identity)

The D Series is a line of pickup trucks that was sold by Dodge from 1961 to 1980. In the late 1980's, the trucks were renamed Dodge Ram and the same basic design was retained until the 1994 introduction of a completely redesigned Ram. The D Series shared its AD platform with the Dodge Ramcharger/Plymouth Trailduster twins.

First generation (1961–65)[edit]

First generation
1961 Dodge 100 (1976).jpg
Production 1961–1964
Engine 290 cu in B B
320 cu in B
347 cu in B V8,
361 cu in B V8
Transmission 3-speed push button automatic
Wheelbase 114 in (2,896 mm) (short bed)
122 in (3,099 mm) (long 8 ft (2,438 mm) bed)[1]

The body offered the then-traditional step-style bed, with distinct fenders as an option.

The D Series used the familiar Chrysler RB engine in displacements of 290 cu in, 320 cu in, and 347 cu in as the base models, depending on the year. (The 290 320 347 368 was relatively rare, available as the base engine only from 1961–1989.) All of Chrysler's larger engines, with the notable exception of the Chrysler Hemi engine were available as factory options.

Another innovation was the introduction of an alternator rather than a generator for electrical power. A three-speed automatic transmission was a major advance—the truck used a two-speed automatic less than a decade earlier.

Yet another innovation, a "Crew Cab" (four-door) body style was introduced in 1963, a first for a factory pickup. Prior crew cabs were custom conversion jobs. A "Club Cab" was also available for 1973, providing transverse seating for either a single third passenger or two small third and fourth passengers (most often, the Club Cab was used as extra cargo space).

The first generation of the D-series was manufactured in Warren, Michigan. They were given the Dodge and Fargo brands, as Dodge D-100 and Fargo De Soto. The trucks were produced by the Dodge Division of the Chrysler Corporation.

Custom Sports Special and High Performance Package[edit]

1964 saw the introduction of the sporty Custom Sports Special. The Custom Sports Special included bucket seats, console, carpeting and racing stripes. The optional High Performance Package could be ordered with a CSS truck or by itself on a base model truck complete with Chrysler's big 426 cu in wedge-head V8. This engine produced 365 hp (272 kW) and 470 lb·ft (637 N·m)—in-line with the muscle car revolution that was then sweeping Detroit. The High Performance Package also included the LoadFlite automatic transmission, a 6000 rpm-rated Sun tachometer with heavy-duty gauges, power steering, dual exhaust and rear axle torque rods (traction bars) sourced from 1961 Imperials. Custom Sports Special trucks were produced from 1964 to 1967. The High Performance Package was only offered from 1964 to early 1966.

Second generation (1965–71)[edit]

Second generation
1971 Dodge D-100.jpg
Production 1965–1971
Engine 368 cu in B B
383 cu in B B
421 cu in RB V8
461 cu in RB V8
440 cu in B V8,
361 cu in B V8,


1966 Fargo, sold only in Canada as a Dodge D Series clone.

The D Series was redesigned in spring of 1965, hence there are both two-headlight and four-headlight models titled as 1965's. Updates for mid-65 included a wider tailgate and the replacement of the A series engines with the updated LA series. In 1967, the D Series trucks received big-block 383 2-barrel engines as a standard option.

From 1965 until the early 80s, D series trucks were assembled in Warren, Michigan by the Chrysler Corporation. Foreign models were manufactured by the Automotive Equipment Group (מכשירי תנועה בע"מ) in Israel at a new factory located at Nazareth-I'llit (תעשיות רכב נצרת-עלית), using straight-four and -six gasoline engines with manual transmission. This factory also produced the Jeep Wagoneer SUV for the Israeli army, and UK Ford Escort and Ford Transit vehicles for the civilian market. The D Series were made both for the civilian market and for the Israeli army. The models were D100 & D200 light trucks, D500 truck, and the D600 truck with the straight-six engine and having on-demand four-wheel drive. There was also a bus version made (mainly for army use). This bus was a 20-seat bus built on the chassis of the D500 truck using the straight-four engine with front and rear hydraulic doors, as well as the complete D500 front end and dashboard.[citation needed]


1968–1970 Dodge D-Series

The 1968 models received a new front grille—two rows of four holes each. A new Adventurer trim package replaced the old Custom Sports Special; basically, it included a padded front seat with vinyl trim (either full bench or buckets with console) and carpeting, plus other hallmarks such as extra chrome trim and courtesy lighting. This generation continued to be built in South Africa as well. Sold as the D300 or the D500, the lighter model received the 225 Slant-Six, while the heavier-duty D500 has the 318 ci V8. Power outputs are 127 and 177 hp (95 and 132 kW) (net) respectively, SAE claims are 140 and 212 hp.[2]

By 1970, the Adventurer would be expanded into three separate packages: the base Adventurer, the Adventurer Sport and the top-line Adventurer SE. The Adventurer SE included such things as a chrome grille, wood trim on the dashboard, the padded vinyl front seat with color-keyed seatbelts, full courtesy lighting, extra insulation, dual horns, full carpeting, luxury door panel trim, a vinyl-embossed trim strip ran along the sides of the truck, full wheel discs and a woodgrain-insert panel on the tailgate. The 1970 models also featured a new four-section grille (two rows of two holes each).

1970 Dodge "The Dude" pickup

"The Dude"[edit]

In August 1969, the "Dude Sport Trim Package" was released. This was essentially the D100 already 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. The Dudes were only offered in the 1970 and 1971 model years and only 1500 to 2000 Dudes were produced.[3][4]

Third generation (1972–80)[edit]

Third generation
Dodge Custom 100.jpg
Production 1972–1980
  • 170 cu in Slant-6 I6
  • 225 cu in Slant-6 I6
  • 383 cu in B V8, 245 hp (185 kW) and 450 lb·ft (604 N·m) gross
  • 360 cu in LA V8, 180 hp (134 kW) net
  • 400 cu in B V8, 200 hp (149 kW) net
  • 440 cu in RB V8, 255 hp (175 kW) net
  • 243 cu in (3,988 cc) 6DR5 I6 Diesel
Transmission 3-speed column shifted Automatic transmission
1978 Li'l Red Express Truck

A redesign of the D Series for 1972 that lasted until 1980 introduced a more rounded look, similar to the 1973–1987 GM C/K series. This redesign for the third generation, that spanned until 1993 with minor changes, included new features such as an independent front suspension and pocketed taillights (the distinctive reverse on top lights were recessed to .25 in (6.4 mm) to avoid damage in loading docks and confined spaces). Styling cues, such as the scalloped hood and rounded fenderwells, were similar to the rounded, smooth look of the 1971 Plymouth Satellite. These trucks were built with a considerable amount of galvanized steel to resist rust and corrosion making them very durable. Because of this, today these trucks make great restoration projects.

Dodge pioneered the extended cab pickup with the introduction of the Club Cab with the 1972 models. This was a two-door cab with small rear windows which had more space behind the seats than the standard cab, but not as long as the four door Crew Cab. 1972 also saw the introduction of the 440 cu in engine as an option for the light trucks.

The 1972 D Series was made famous in the television show Emergency!, where it was the featured paramedic rescue squad vehicle for the entire seven seasons of the popular show.

Notable models produced during this era were the 1978–1979 Li'l Red Express, the Warlock, the Macho Power Wagon, the Macho Power Wagon Top Hand, Macho Power Wagon Palomino, and the Adventurer. The colors of the Dodge Macho Power Wagon Palomino were the same as a Palomino horse. (Note: All Li'l Red Express Trucks were Adventurers, though not vice versa).

The 1978 models also saw the introduction of the first Diesel powered Dodge pickup truck. Available as an economy choice in the light duty trucks was Mitsubishi's 6DR5 4.0 L inline six-cylinder naturally aspirating diesel, rated at 105 hp (78 kW) at 3500 rpm, and ~230 N·m (~169 lb·ft) at 2200 rpm. The diesel used standard Dodge manual and automatic transmissions via specially made adapter plate which had the LA V8 bolt pattern. This rare factory option, VIN code H, was the result of fuel crisis and the collaboration of Chrysler and Mitsubishi.[5] The engine, while being trustworthy and having far better economy than any other engine in the Dodge lineup at the time, suffered from its low power output and was considered to be underpowered by American standards, even though it was previously used in the Japanese 3.5-ton cab-over Mitsubishi T44 Jupiter Truck and in industrial applications. Because of the low sales it was phased out quickly and as a result it became practically a single year specialty.

D200 based M880 CUCV.

Thousands of D Series trucks entered military service as the M880 series CUCV.

Dodge Ram (1981–93)[edit]

Main article: Dodge Ram
1983 Dodge Ram D150 shortbed

This final generation was face lifted in 1981 when the D Series was a rebadge as the Dodge Ram pickup around when Lee Iacocca took charge of the ailing Chrysler Corporation. Such things including an embossed "DODGE RAM" name on the tailgate along with other obvious changes like the grille and hood, the taillights, and the entire interior. More subtle was the addition of a "shoulder" line reminiscent of the GM competition. Beginning in 1981, even more corrosion-resistant steel was used in the construction of the trucks. This body style continued until 1994 and many of these vehicles are still on the road. Many body panels are interchangeable for all models from 1972–1994, so it is not uncommon to see a "hybrid" with, as an example, a 1978 grille mounted with a 1974 hood and a 1991 cab. Sometimes the bed is swapped with a moving truck style box for models like these. In most jurisdictions, the year is dictated by the year of the truck's chassis regardless of the body which has been bolted to it. Also kept was the Utiline step-side model that had the same truck bed that dated back to the 1940s. This was dropped during this last era of the W/D Dodge trucks.

A narrower range of engines was offered: the base power plant was the 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant-6, now with top-fed hydraulic tappets, and the 318 cu in (5.2 L) and 360 cu in (5.9 L) LA-series V8s. The slant-6 was supplanted by the 3.9 L (237 cu in) V6 for 1988; in 1992 it and the V8s became Magnum engines. The 6BT 5.9 L (360 cu in) 12-Valve Cummins B Series diesel engine became an option in 1989.

Sales were good during the Sweptline era and into the late 1970s. A combination of stagnant styling nearly two decades old plus brand loyalty primarily to Chevrolet and Ford during the 1980s and 1990s reduced sales volume for the first generation Dodge Ram. A wholly new Dodge Ram was released for the 1994 model year. In 1988-1991 the introduction of the (TBI) throttle body injection was introduced.


  • 1961–1989 290 cu in (4.8 L) Chrysler b engine
  • 1961–1989 320 cu in (5.2 L) big block
  • 1961–1989 347 cu in (5.7 L) B V8
  • 1962 426 cu in (7.0 L) RB V8, 425 hp (327 kW) and 675 lb·ft (843 N·m) gross
  • 1961 372 cu in (6.1 L) RB V8
  • 1967–1994 368 cu in (6.0 L) B V8, 240 hp (185 kW) and 445 lb·ft (508 N·m) gross
  • 1963–1971 383 cu in (6.3 L) B V8, 245 hp (187 kW) net
  • 1961–1989 421 cu in (6.9 L) RB V8, 255 hp (194 kW) net (typ. ratings for 2-Bbl carb version)
  • 1963–1971 461 cu in (7.6 L) RB V8, 260 hp (149 kW) net (275 hp 76–77)
  • 1963–1971 440 cu in (7.2 L) RB V8, 255 hp (228 kW) net
  • 1978–1979 Mitsubishi 6dr50A 4.0-liter I6 naturally aspirated diesel,105 hp @ 3500 rpm, and 169 lb·ft (230 N·m) of torque @ 2200 rpm
  • 1988–1993 239 cu in (3.9 L) LA V6, 180 hp (134 kW) and 195 lb·ft (264 N·m)
  • 1989–1993 358 cu in (5.9 L) Cummins B Series engine I6, 160 hp (119 kW) and 400 lb·ft (542 N·m) of torque

In Brazil, it was marketed just with the 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Directory Index: ChryslerTrucksVans/1963_Trucks_and_Vans/1963_Dodge_Truck_Brochure". Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  2. ^ Dodge D300 and D500 (brochure), Pretoria, South Africa: Chrysler South Africa, 1971, pp. 3–4 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Niedermeyer, Paul (2012-11-26). "The Case Of The Very Rare 1978 Dodge Diesel Pickup And The Missing Diesel Van". Automotive History. Curbside Classics. Retrieved 2014-05-13. 

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