truck sales hit rock bottom in 1932, but so did the rest of the industry
as this was the year which proved to be the worst of the Great Depression
. Fortunately Chrysler's fortunes reversed and sales increased by
a factor of eight during the Glamour years of 1933 to 1935. Mr. Chrysler
was never one to sit still. His company fielded an interesting, modern,
and advanced line of trucks in 1936.
A new 1936 Dodge
Fore-Point half-ton pickup is shown on the left. Note the front-end
differences between it and the two 1933-1935 trucks to its right.
Notice how the radiator grille of the 1936 truck has been moved
ahead of the front fenders. The new pickup shown is a rather deluxe
model as can be seen by its chrome plated radiator shell and headlights.
Highland Park, Michigan is the suburb of Detroit where the Chrysler
Corporation was located until the 1990s. The Fore-Point half-ton
pickup featured a new six-foot long all steel cargo box. The list
price of this pickup was $500 delivered at the factory. (Photo:
new trucks featured Fore-Point load distribution which was a fancy
term marketing used for their construction. Dodge engineers moved
the front axles forward which shifted the load forward in relation
to the axles. This way the front axles carried more of the load's
weight than previously able. Fore-Point resulted in greater stability
and allowed for a minimum over-all length.
This 1936 Dodge
half-ton pickup, Commercial Express was its official name, is shown
outside the factory. The factory was located in Detroit at that
time, not in Highland Park. The truck shown has a special paint
scheme. The standard practice was to paint the four fenders, running
boards, the filler panel located between the running boards, and
the cab and cargo box black. The factory applied the special paint
on this truck per the customer's specifications. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler).
major change in the construction of 1936 light-duty trucks was the
adoption of a truck-type frame featuring parallel side rails with
double drops and five heavy cross members. Moving the front axle forward
and the change to a truck-type frame meant that for the first time
Dodge half-ton commercials were real trucks. The Commercial Sedan
(Sedan Delivery) was the only exception as it was a modified 2-door
half-ton trucks had a 116-inch wheelbase which replaced the 111 1/4-
and 119-inch wheelbase of the 1935 series. By shifting the engine
and cab forward the CA (cab-to-rear-axle) dimension of 37 11/16-inches
permitted the use of a 72-inch body for excellent load distribution.
models continued to be powered by the 70 horsepower 201 cubic inch
L-head six cylinder engine. The 3-speed synchro-silent transmission
was easy to shift with a floor mounted lever. Rear axle ratio options
included a 3.7 and 4.1 to 1 for excellent performance. Standard
tire size was 6.00x16s.
in the 1935 model year Dodge began offering a 3/4 to one ton
truck series. These trucks were simply 1 1/2-ton trucks built
with lighter/smaller wheels, tires, and springs. Body models
offered included a pickup, panel, canopy, and screenside. The
same models continued into the Fore-Point series. What is interesting
is that the same truck, whether rated as a 3/4-, one-, or 1
1/2-ton, sold for the same price.
Dodge 3/4-1 ton panel is typical of the 3/4-1 ton series which
was introduced in the 1935 model year. As you can see this
truck was built down from a 1 1/2-ton truck. A pickup, canopy,
panel, and screenside made up the entire 3/4-1 ton model line.
These trucks were part of the light-duty series. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler)
Dodge trucks were given this modern "high safety"
instrument panel. The entire cab interior was trimmed in an
attractive gray material and the instrument panel was painted
gray. At the center bottom of the dash were located the control
knobs for headlights, throttle, choke, and panel lights. (Photo:
gross vehicle weight rating for the 3/4-ton series was 5700
pounds, 6200 pounds for the one-ton, and 7000 or 9500 pounds
for the 1 1/2- tonners (with single or dual rears). All models
were equipped with the same 201 cubic inch six cylinder engine,
4-speed transmission, and 10-inch clutch.
Dodge trucks carried over with only minor appearance changes
but they featured an entirely new instrument panel. The new
panel was quite attractive and boasted of being "high
safety" for all its controls were set flush, no knobs
or controls projected from the dashboards to cause injury
in case of a crash.
in 1937 Dodge management introduced a new 3/4-1 ton series. The series
differed from the previous 3/4-1 ton models in that the new trucks
were styled with the same look as the half-ton trucks; not as lighter
models of a larger truck. Models offered included a panel, pickup,
canopy, and screen. Dodge 3/4-1 ton trucks were available on both
120- and 136-inch wheelbase chassis designed for mounting seven or
The 1937 Dodge
Commercial Express had almost the same appearance as the 1936 model
except that its grille bars were horizontal rather than vertical.
This truck rode on a 116-inch wheelbase and featured the new 218
cubic inch L-head six cylinder engine which it shared with all light
duty 1937 trucks. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler)
75 horsepower 218 cubic inch L-head six cylinder was the new standard
power plant for 1937 / 1938 half-ton and 3/4-1 ton series. A 3-speed
transmission was also standard for all light-duty trucks.
a new 1937 3/4-1 ton series which included pickup, canopy, screen,
panel, and stake models. The pickup was built on two wheelbase lengths
of 120- and 136-inches with cargo boxes 7- and 9- feet long respectively.
All other models--canopy, screen, panel, and stake were built on
the 136-inch wheelbase only. The four men shown are inspecting the
new 1937 136-inch wheelbase pickup with a 9-foot box. As you can
see, the new 3/4-1 ton series had the same appearance as the half-ton
trucks. Standard drivetrain consisted of the 218 cubic-inch six
and a 3-speed transmission. (Photo Daimler Chrysler)
The only change
of note for 1938 Dodge trucks was a restyled grille. The Dodge truck
line also included a 1 1/2-, two-, and three-ton series and the
four-ton custom- built Airflow during the Fore-Point Era of 1936
The 1938 models continued
without change except for a new grille as shown on this 3/4-1
ton 136-inch wheelbase pickup with a side-mounted spare tire
and wheel. Dodge's complete truck line for 1938 consisted of
half-, 3/4-, 1-, 1 1/2-, 2-, and 3-ton models plus the custom-built
4-ton Airflow. (Photo: DaimlerChrysler)