In a group of Chevy and Ford fans Dodge seems to be the black sheep of the family. Well, to be fair to the Dodge guys there just is not that many of them out there anymore. This raises problems with parts availability and, in order for a manufacturer to produce new parts, there needs to be a large enough demand. I could be wrong, but you could walk into any parts store and walk out with a part in your hand for a Chevy or Ford motor. So, with the classic Dodge truck being scarce and the parts even more rare, why would you want to build a Dodge truck? Well, for lots of reasons-the best being that wherever you go, Dodge stands out.
For this reason, the Dodge truck caught Ed Ritter's eye. Ed first saw the '55 on his drive home one day, sitting in someone's driveway in San Diego, California. Ed wrote a note and taped it on the window, letting the owner know he was interested in purchasing the truck. Later that night Ed received a call from the owner's wife. She asked Ed to please make her husband an offer for the Dodge. Ed offered the owner $1,200 for the Mopar, and he kindly accepted-which helped put a smile on his wife's face. All Ed wanted was for the truck to brake and have no problems steering on the way home; he figured he'd deal with the rest when, and if, he got home. The truck barely stopped all the way home and when he did apply the brakes, the truck would pull to one side wildly. Ed says, "Driving the truck home put the fear in me."
Once home safely Ed inspected his new toy, starting with the sketchy suspension and stoppers. Ed had a basic plan: make it steer and stop better. What he didn't realize at the time is that once you start a project like this, there's very little chance of stopping. So instead of making an unrestored worn-out Dodge into a fun driver as in his original plan, he decided to build on and end up with a cool and unique truck that would turn heads. After inspection Ed realized he needed a little help, so he headed over to Ray's Fabrication in El Cajon to have them install a Fatman Fabrications Mustang II kit, followed by Fatman's disc brake kit to help control the out of control wandering from the stock drum brake setup. At the same time a rack-and-pinion was installed. Now Ed was finally happy with the truck's ability to drive like a modern car. Now it was time to figure out how to get the rearend to handle like the front; Ed decided to go with a new set of National multileaf springs ordered to fit.
With the stance now set, the powertrain needed to be refitted and a Chevy 350 was dropped in place. Hedman Hedders helped let the exhaust out, escaping through a pair of Dynamics stainless steel Ultraflow mufflers. The 350 is dressed with all-new billet accessories, including chrome alternator and A/C compressor. Since Ed didn't want to beat up the truck, a basic TH350 transmission was cleaned and installed along with an 8-inch Ford rearend.
Moving on to the interior Ed wanted to do something a little different, so he commissioned the help of Loren Krussow, a talented fabricator from Ramona. Krussow fabricated a custom aluminum faceplate behind the glovebox to hide the radio. The '55 also has custom hidden A/C switches behind glovebox. A one-off blown-glass yellow and white ball was made for the dome light cover. All of the hand-fabricated pieces are anodized gray to look like brushed aluminum. The dash was next; a Classic Instruments cluster replaced the old Dodge gauges.