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Rods & Wheels E-Magazine
Issue 06:06:02 - June 12, 2006

The Dodge Pilothouse Era Truck Club of America (DPETCA)

Hot rodding is a broad field. Every once in a while you find a unique club that hones down on a specific manufacturer. Better yet, there are clubs that focus on a specific model from a distinct time in history, as does the Dodge Pilothouse Era Truck Club of America (DPETCA). This club was founded by a small group of people who own and adore the classic Dodge Pilothouse era trucks. This group of hot rod fans found a small niche in the vast world of hot rodding.

The club began at the start of 2004 when a group of men were communicating with each other about the various Dodge clubs on the Internet. In a month or two, they were still conversing over their love for the Dodge "Pilothouse" era trucks. Chatting about these amazing trucks wasn't enough. One of these men, named William S. Gunter, decided it was time to start a club for owners of Pilothouse era trucks. They all agreed and the DPETCA was formed. Gunter became the club's president.

The club logo was developed and cleared with the DaimlerChrysler Corporation. It also gained non-profit tax exempt status and started promotions to gain new members. After one year, around 50 members had joined.

In July 2005, Gunter resigned as president due to time restraints with his employment and other pressing matters of the club. Robert (Bob) Koch took over as president thereafter.

DPETCA focus

The club's focus is restoring and preserving Dodge and Fargo Pilothouse trucks from the 1948 to 1953 era. They offer online access to information about these trucks, their history and more. Through truck meets and shows, they are able to share their knowledge about the trucks to other hot rod fans.

The DPETCA Web site provides a wealth of information about Pilothouse era trucks. It has several sections: photo galleries of Pilothouse era trucks, knowledge about restoration and preservation of these trucks, scenes from movies the trucks have been used in, music, and even some fun and games.

Members can find up-to-date information about shows and events for Dodge. There's also the DPETCA merchandise store where one can purchase automobilia such as hats, sweat shirts, t-shirts, mouse pads and more.

Sharing Dodge heritage

A brief Dodge history is shared at the club's site. It tells the story of Dodge founders, John and Horace Dodge, and their proposals to Walter P. Chrysler. Members and other site visitors can learn how the full-size Dodge trucks got their name - "Dodge Ram." Dodge's relationship to World War II and the release of models throughout the year are explained. There's also a section at the site where one can learn of Pilothouse style trucks in Australia, and the interesting history of these trucks.

About Pilothouse era trucks

The Pilothouse era trucks were developed in 1948, being named for their spacious high cabs and more glass than previous years' model for improved visibility. The trucks had improved weight distribution as well, with the engines being moved forward and the front axles back. The wheelbase was shorter at 108", down from 116". These features, along with the cab bed being mounted on rubber, gave the Pilothouse trucks a smooth ride. New features were added in 1950. The optional fluid drive automatic was available. Also the 3-speed shift lever was moved from the floor to the steering column. The truck weight increased to 8,000 lb. from the earlier weight of 7,500 lb. The front end was also a different design.

In 1953, Pilothouse production would end, but some great features were added before its departure. These features included a "truck-o-matic" transmission, which was fully automatic and could be added to the 1/2 and 3/4 ton models. The trucks had a longer bed at 7 1/2 feet. As a result, the wheelbase was increased to 116 inches. Also added were wide stepside fenders in the rear. Dodge used this fender until the 1980s.

Though the Pilothouse truck life was short-lived, it is still loved by many hot rod fans of today. DPETCA is dedicated to bringing those fans together into one group where they can share ideas about restoring these marvelous trucks, participate in shows and events together to show off their masterpieces, and share with the world how great it is to own a Dodge Pilothouse era truck.

Web site

Visit the Dodge Pilothouse Era Truck Club official Web site at www.dodgepilothouseclub.org .


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