Segment Nine: 1961 to 1971 Sweptline Pickups
Author: Don Bunn

After 13 model years of highly maneuverable, short wheelbase, easy to drive trucks Dodge engineers reverted back to the traditional method of light truck chassis design. Dodge's new 1961 low-tonnage models featured three new wheelbase lengths: 114-inches for the short box D100; 122-inches for the long box D100 and D200 and 133-inches for the D300. These lengths compared to 108-, 116-, and 126-inch wheelbases of the previous 13 model years.

The chassis construction of all models featured new heavier and stronger straight frame rails with six sturdy industry standard 34-inch cross members, strong I-beam front axles, new wider and longer multi-leaf springs at all four corners, heavy rear axles and Chrysler's superior Oriflow shocks. All low-tonnage trucks featured wider axles to provide greater stability and easier maneuverability.

The Sweptline Pickup Series was the first to feature full-width, smooth side, cab-wide cargo boxes. All Utiline boxes, with fenders bolted to their sides, carried over without change. Standard 1961 Utiline box lengths were 6 1/2-, 7 1/2- and 9-feet, for the Sweptline models 6 1/2- and 8-feet; a one-ton Sweptline was not available.

Sweptline pickups sported a new grille design in 1962 which continued through mid-year 1965. A 1964 Dodge D100 Utiline pickup is shown. (Photo: Dave Mayer)

The 1960 Sweptline boxes were completely new. They were a full four inches wider than before and featured 10 percent more cubic load space.

Two new six cylinder engines replaced the former L-head sixes. The 170 cubic inch 101 horsepower slant six was optional for D100s only and the 225 cubic inch 140 horsepower slant six was standard for D100, D200 and D300. The 200 horsepower 318 V8 was optional for all D100, D200 and D300 trucks. Dodge trucks beginning in 1961 featured alternators, they charged the battery even when idling.

The 3-speed LoadFlite pushbutton automatic transmission continued as optional for all low-tonnage trucks. Other standard and optional transmissions included a new 3-speed HD synchro; a 3-speed Extra HD 3-speed synchro and a 4-speed synchro which featured a power take-off opening and a floor shift lever.

Dodge's personal use Custom Sport Special pickup was new in 1964. Shown is a 1964 CSS which has the High Performance Package consisting of the 365 horsepower, 470 ft-lb. torque 426 wedge V8, automatic, power steering and brakes, tach, dual exhausts and rear axle struts. This like new, low mileage beauty can soon be seen in the Walter P. Chrylser Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (Photo: Don Bunn).

Two important new 1964 trucks included the industry's first personal use pickup, the Custom Sports Special, and the A100 compact trucks. The CSS was an image pickup especially when equipped with the High Performance package consisting of the 365 horsepower, 470 ft-lb torque 426 wedge V8, automatic, power steering and brakes, tach, dual exhausts and rear axle struts.

The A100 pickup only accounted for 3 percent of total compact truck sales, but the compact vans and wagons were Dodge Truck's most important new products ever.

The 1961's "weak" grille design was replaced in 1962 and it lasted up to midyear 1965. In fact no changes in engines, styling, models, etc. were made until midyear 1965.

Second series 1965 trucks featured an all-new grille, single headlights, re-engineered Sweptline boxes which featured full-depth double wall construction, a full-width tailgate and a longer wheelbase. The long box half-ton and 3/4-ton pickup's wheelbase was increased to 128-inches but the box remained at 8-foot (6 1/2-foot short box). Utiline pickup's wheelbase also increased to 128-inches. Utiline's cargo box lengths were 6 1/2-, 8- and 9-feet.

No engine changes were made through the 1966 model year. The standard engine for the 1964 A100 was the 170 slant six. The 225 slant six was an option. The 273 V8 became optional for the A100 in 1965. In 1967 the optional A100 V8 was upgraded to 318 lb. ft. torque due to an increase in its compression ratio.

This 1969 Dodge short box half ton Custom pickup is an all-original 18,000 mile like new truck. It is powered by the 210 horsepower 318 cubic inch V8 engine. (Photo: Ken and Carol Merten).

The 258 horsepower, 375 lb. ft. torque 383 V8 became an option for D100, D200 and D300 pickups in 1967. No other engine changes were made for low-tonnage trucks through the end of the 1971 model year.

Dodge pickup's front appearance changed for the better in 1968 with a new grille design. Also new for 1968 was the sports-type Sweptline Adventurer pickup. The glamorous Adventurer included custom carpeting, chrome grille and exterior moldings, added insulation, hooded dials, wheel covers, dual arm rests and available bucket seats with a center storage/seating console.

New for 1969 was a redesigned hood, instrument cluster and controls, flipup glovebox, contoured padded dash, and a deep-dish energy-absorbing steering wheel.

When photographed in 1988, this 1971 Dodge half-ton Adventurer pickup still looked good as new even though it was used to pull the horse trailer shown. (Photo: Jim Benjaminson)

The 1970 pickups had another new grille. The Adventurer model became more refined inside and out. This was the last year for the A100 pickup. The A100 compact truck line was dropped and replaced with an all new compact van line. A pickup was no longer part of the line.
The last year for the Sweptline series was 1971. Because it was the last year no changes of note were made in models, style, drivetrains, or interiors.

Next Segment:

1972-1980: Lifestyle Pickups Part I