Wicked Fab does a Diesel Powered Dodge RD10: Steve Leach’s 1938 Dodge
Dare to be different, they say; it’ll be fun, they say. We’re not sure exactly who “they” are, but any hot rodder knows that building something different often requires a lot of extra work. In the case of Steve Leach’s uncommon 1938 Dodge RD10 pickup, the build process had its ups and downs, but ultimately the pros outweighed the cons – by a long shot.
Steve just wanted something different from a Chevy or Ford and came across a fairly complete 1938 Dodge pickup. He even traced it back to being used as a dog catcher rig for the city of Tehachapi, California! With a solid starting point, he turned to Wicked Fabrication to achieve his vision.
The team at Wicked put in a call to Art Morrison Enterprises for a custom-built chassis to get the project started. The frame features AME’s comfortable IFS and rear four-link system attached to a 9-inch rearend. Adjustable coil-overs provide the ability to set the ride height just right while six-piston Wilwood calipers and 13-inch rotors pull the truck to a stop.
Following the beat to his dare-to-be-different drum, Steve decided to go with a small but mighty Cummins 4BT diesel engine. With 239c.i. (4-inch bore and 4.72-inch stroke!) and a pair of compound turbos, the four-cylinder can produce 350 horsepower with loads of torque, not to mention a wicked-sounding exhaust note coming from the 4-inch stainless exhaust and Magnaflow muffler.
As it turns out, the cab was a lot smaller than Steve originally thought and at a lanky 6’5”, he wanted a bit more legroom. The Wicked team ended up stretching the cab 8-inches while removing 4-inches from the bed. The rest of the body was straightened, tightened, and treated to a finish of PPG British Racing Green paint sprayed by Byers Custom in Auburn, Washington. The color is just right on a vintage truck and is complemented nicely with the burnt orange Wheel Vintiques wheels.
With the expanded cab, there was plenty of room for a new Glide Engineering seat frame that was assembled and covered by Stitches Custom Upholstery. Behind the scenes is an American Autowire harness and subtle mods were made to the dash, which is filled with Classic Instruments and Vintage Air, while an Ididit column is crowned with a classic banjo steering wheel.
The 1938 Dodge turned out exactly as Steve envisioned, though he cautions anyone thinking about tackling such an unusual project to be prepared for the challenges of limited aftermarket support and virtually no “bolt-on” solutions. With Dodge building less than 450 of these RD10 ¾-ton trucks in ’38, the dare to be different adage takes on a whole new meaning!
Photos by Steven Bunker