Just as he made the exterior, Colton Hardison hammer-formed every bit of the interior shee
What isn't so obvious is the bed's general shape. They look flat but the new bedsides actually bulge as if they were sides of a car. Beads hammered into the bedsides by tooling formed in the likeness of the cab's character lines emphasize the car-like character. The SAR crew shaped even the 18 panels that make up the underside bed floor to follow the frame's profile, a trick that conceals the fuel tank and sundry undercarriage components when viewed from below.
A tailgate isn't right without a script but the stylistic device of grafting a skin from a mass-produced pickup would only undermine the work invested in the rest of the truck. Instead, SAR made one. In-house designer David Brost gathered elements of a few of Dodge's more recent logos, merged them, stylized the result, and printed it.
A local industrial sheetmetal manufacturer then transferred the paper template to 1/4-inch plate steel and cut out a negative version of it. The shop then sandwiched a sheet of 18-gauge steel between that plate form and a steel-backed sheet of hard rubber, loaded the tooling in an oversized press brake, and applied pressure. The rubber pushed the sheetmetal upward into the voids in the form, creating a relief of the steel tooling.
Pressing a keychain-remote button causes linear actuators to lift a tonneau cover unlike any other. The SAR crew made it by bonding aluminum sheets to a composite honeycomb panel. The hinge on which the panel rides started as a Sachse Rod Shop part that the SAR crew modified with bronze bushings in its pivot points.
The steering wheel started as, of all things, a banjo-type wheel. James Crow stripped the
Pressing another remote button releases the bed floor from a pin latch. Pushing a finger into a relief in the center rail raises a simple handle and pulling on that handle lifts the floor to expose the fuel-filler neck and five smaller doors. Opening those exposes the batteries, the brake master cylinders, and a few solenoids and actuators that animate the truck's various functions.
Rather than leaning the grille top back, which would've shortened the engine compartment, Ito specified moving the shell's base forward, narrowing it via a '34 Ford passenger car. It's a tweak that would've required extensive fender reshaping provided SAR used the original pieces, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Dodge's hood design was swoopy but it hardly compares with what SAR crafted, if only structurally. Again, bare sheet steel was formed to accommodate the relocated grille shell. The hood top hinges from the rear in contemporary-car fashion.
But as with the rest of the body the hood boasts a second, inner wall. It's a construction that increases its rigidity and permitted a structurally sound hinge and a locating device, both elements necessary in light of the very tight gaps among the engine components and the hood.
Ito's design preserved many of the Mopar-specific elements, in this case the crank hole cover. Only it's not what you think it is. David Brost scanned an original piece, digitally split the number down the middle, and mirrored its left side to create the eight. A 3-D printer rendered a plastic version of the emblem, which a local foundry used to establish casting molds.
As noted earlier, pushing the base of the grille forward required an entirely new fender shape. Just as he did with the rest of the body, Colton Hardison shaped a pair of fenders that resembled Dodge's in every detail except dimension: when measured from the most extreme ends, these come in 6 inches longer than stock.
The rear fenders closest resemble the original pieces but that isn't saying much in light of the rest of the work in the truck. As the most dramatic change, the perimeter character line ascends as a spear from the rearmost lip of the fender. More than a stylistic device, the spear's profile reflects the taillights' peaked profile.