Recently on RamZone, we introduced a new heritage-related series intended to capitalize on content collected by our writers in the final public days of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. In that first post, we spotlighted a real beauty: a 1949 Dodge Half-Ton Pickup Truck. Today we fast forward eight years for a closer look at another half-ton truck, the 1957 Dodge Sweptside.
Thanks to the Sweptside’s tailfins – far more common to the cars of the era than to the trucks – this red-and-white pickup had one of the most distinctive profiles of any of the vehicles on display at the museum. And, according to the museum’s own description, the motivation behind the design was purely for the looks:
“Dodge introduced its flashy Sweptside pickup in mid-1957 to compete head-to-head with Ford’s passenger-car-based Ranchero and Chevrolet’s Cameo Carrier.
“To achieve the Sweptside’s passenger car look, Dodge Trucks’ Special Equipment Group wedded the finned rear quarters and rear bumper from the 1957 Dodge Suburban two-door station wagon to the flanks of a standard Dodge half-ton pickup. But the Sweptside’s beauty was more than skin-deep – a new optional V-8 engine gave Dodge the most powerful engine in the light truck field.”
Just how powerful was that new optional engine? While it didn’t have the power plants of modern-day options like the HEMI® V-8 or even the Pentastar® V-6, the overhead valve V-8 with polysphere heads checked in at 204 horsepower, more than respectable for 1957.