Segment Six: 1948 to 1953 B-Series Pickups
Author: Don Bunn
B-Series trucks were by far the finest and most advanced pickups of
their day. This may seem like a bold statement in light of the fact
that Chevrolet and Ford both announced important new truck series
at the same time: Chevrolet in June 1947, Dodge in December 1947 and
Ford in January 1948. The three auto divisions announced their first
post War automobiles as 1949 models.
B-1-B-116 half-ton 116-inch wheelbase pickup with less than
25,000 miles is an original truck including its tires and
muffler. It is painted dark green with a black 6 1/2-foot
cargo box. This was the standard paint design during the B-Series
years. This 1949 model is typical of years 1948 to 1950. You
can see the truck at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. (Photo:
Dodge B-2-C-116 3/4-ton pickup was owned by the author. It
had the 218 cubic inch L-six, a four speed transmission and
overload springs. It was a great truck! (Photo: Don Bunn)
a look at the B-Series truck features which put Dodge ahead
of the competition. First of all was its advanced, handsome
cab styling. Dodge designers referred to it as the Pilothouse
safety cab. This was in reference to the improvements in visibility
over the previous cab. It was achieved from Chrysler's famous
"chair height" seat and from improved driver visibility
through the higher and wider windshield, door glass and rear
window. New optional cab rear quarter windows eliminated those
former dangerous blind areas.
Dodge engineers set the front axles and wheels of all models
eight inches further back than the former trucks and moved
the engine slightly forward (similar in concept to 1936-1938's
Fore-Point load distribution).
before this resulted in shifting more of the payload to the front
axle and allowed greater payload ratings without adding more weight
to the rear axle and springs.
significant improvement in driveability was achieved by changing
over to a cross-steering arrangement. Cross-steering, in combination
with the new wide tread front axle, provided a 37-degree turn
angle either right or left because the drag link ran almost
parallel with the front axle and did not interfere with the
left front tire on left turns. The B-Series featured long flexible
springs and shock absorbers to provide a comfortable, controlled
ride. If you want to treat yourself to a real pleasure, find
a restored B-Series pickup and take it for a test drive. You
will prove to yourself how maneuverable and easy to steer and
drive these remarkable trucks are. You will be amazed that a
50 year old truck could deliver this level of driveability.
Dodge one-ton B-1-D-126 pickup carried a 9-foot box. It was
powered by a 230 cubic inch L-six. (Photo: Dick Copello)
owns this 1952 Dodge half-ton B-3-B-108 high-side pickup.
He purchased it in 1973 and completed its restoration in 1980.
Since then it has clocked 5,088 miles. This grille is typical
of 1951-1953 trucks. (Photo: Don Bunn)
B-Series advanced design highlights included modern, cab-wide front
fenders. Notice for yourself how the front fenders of the Other Two
retained the old fashioned 1930s style. Dodge designers brought the
lines of the front fenders back and smoothly integrated them into
the cab doors.
You know the
B-Series pickups are hard working, heavy haulers by their new extra
deep cargo boxes. The cubic capacity of cargo space was greatly
increased from the former pickup series. Dodge B-Series pickups
were famous for moving loads, consequently most B-Series pickups
were sold with 4-speed transmissions and overload springs.
this retired fire truck was found by the author in 1988 it had
only 7,000 miles on it. It is a 1953 Dodge 3/4-ton pickup model
B-4-C-116. Its fenders were new for 1953. It was powered by
the 218 cubic inch L-six coupled to a 4-speed transmission.
(Photo: Don Bunn)
for the B-Series were unchanged from the 1947 -- they consisted
of the 95 horsepower 218 six for half- and 3/4-ton trucks and the
102 horsepower 230 six for the one-tons. A 3-speed transmission
was standard for all models and the 4-speed was optional.
pickup's wheelbase was 108-inches and its cargo box was 6 1/2-feet
long. The 3/4-ton's specs were 116-inch wheelbase and 7 1/2-foot
cargo box. The one-ton included a 116-inch wheelbase and a 126-inch
wheelbase with a 7 1/2- and 9-foot cargo box respectively.
built two one-ton B-Series pickups. A 1953 one-ton B-4-D-126
is shown. It has a 126-inch wheelbase and a 9-foot cargo box.
Its drivetrain consists of a 230 cubic inch L-six and a 4-speed
transmission. (Photo: Dick Copello)