Segment Three: 1933 to 1935 Glamour Pickups
Author: Don Bunn

The 1933 Dodge Commercial Express (pickup) sold for only $450 FOB Detroit. Its load compartment was only 62 3/4-inches long, 45-inches wide and 15 1/2-inches high to the top of the flareboards. It was powered by the 70 horsepower 190 cubic inch L-head six. All Commercial Cars were equipped with a 3-speed transmission. On the right is a 1 1/2-ton Dodge chassis cab with a beer delivery body. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler)

We have to admire Mr. Chrysler simply for the fact that his company survived until 1933. Chrysler Corporation was then only eight years old and half of that time occurred during the Depression years. Mr. Chrysler was always the optimist and he continued to spend for research and development even when the economy looked its bleakest. The Depression hit its lowest level in 1932, total truck production was about half of what had been produced in 1931, which in itself was a disaster.

The 1933 Dodge Commercial Sedan sold for $555 retail FOB Detroit. The Commercial Sedan was a two-door Dodge Sedan with a large door cut in back, with blanked out rear side windows and the rear wheel removed. Its drivetrain was the same as the pickup's. Note its rear-hinged "suicide doors." Its load compartment was 56 1/2 inches long. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler)

Dodge's famous double level Commercial Panel was an industry exclusive. Dodge built this model from 1933 to 1938. Its retail price in 1933 was $540 FOB Detroit. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler.

Chrysler launched a modern re-engineered and restyled truck line in 1933 which was, in the minds of many, one of the best styled truck lines Dodge ever offered. All light-duty trucks (half-ton models) in those days were passenger car based. That is light trucks were built on an auto's chassis and differed only in that they were equipped with larger tires, wheels, axles, and springs. The Glamour Era pickups were no exception, this was the last Dodge light-duty truck series built on an auto's chassis, however. The front end appearance of the 1933 Dodge car and light truck were the same. Keep in mind too that the next larger truck up from the half-ton was a 1 1/2-ton. The industry sold many more 1 1/2-ton trucks in those days than half-ton models. For example in 1933 the industry sold a total of 99,813 trucks less than 1 1/2-ton capacity and 228,238 1 1/2-ton trucks.

The last new Commercial Car models introduced in the 1933 model year were the Commercial Canopy, shown, and the Commercial Screenside. The Screenside model had theft proof screens on both sides and the rear to protect the load. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler)

The first new 1933 Dodge Commercials, the chassis cowls, and the Commercial Sedan (sedan delivery), were introduced in January 1933. The Commercial Express (pickup) and the Commercial Panel followed in March 1933. The Sedan and Express models were built in a 111 1/4-inch wheelbase, the Panel on a 119-inch wheelbase and the chassis cowls on both. The Commercial Express' cargo box was constructed entirely of steel including its floor.

Beginning in the late 1920s Dodge trucks differed from its two major competitors in that they were powered by corporate engines as opposed to division engines as was true at Chevrolet and Ford. Ford trucks did not use an engine other than a Ford car engine until 1948 (the exception was a four cylinder tractor engine that was an option for the early 1940s light trucks) and Chevrolet did not deviate from their car engine policy until 1959 when they used a big Buick V-8 in their largest trucks. From 1933 on, Dodge trucks employed engines from the Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, and Plymouth Divisions. It should be pointed out, however, that all engines used in trucks were built with premium features in order for them to perform under extreme service. The more demanding the service the engine was expected to perform the more premium features it had.

The early production 1935 Dodge Commercial Express was outwardly unchanged except the front bumper's ends were tapered. The pickup shown had optional wooden spoke wheels. This truck was equipped with a chrome plated radiator grille and headlight shells. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler)

All Commercials were powered by the new 190 cubic inch L-head six cylinder Plymouth engine, the only transmission available was a 3-speed. This was the same basic flat head six cylinder engine used in conventional Dodge trucks through 1960.

Dodge also built a 1 1/2-, two-, and three-ton trucks during the Glamour years. A 1 1/2-ton pickup was not offered in 1933 but a 1 1/2 ton pickup with an 8 1/2-foot cargo box was a standard model in 1934 and 1935.

The second series Dodge Commercial Express shown had the new cab with front hinged doors and a solid steel cab roof. In 1934 the engine in all Commercial Cars was changed to the new 70 horsepower 201 cubic inch L-head six. This truck was equipped with steel spoke wheels. Dodge also built 1 1/2, two-, and three-ton trucks during the Glamour years. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler)

The 1934 model trucks continued without change from 1933 except that the Commercial Car's engine was increased in size to 201 cubic inch. The engine was re-engineered with full height water jackets for better cooling.

A restyled cab was new in mid-year 1935. It featured front hinged doors and a full steel roof. This cab was used through the 1938 model year.

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1936 - 1938: Fore-Point Pickups