Many projects these days start out, or even stay as, barn finds. While Dave and Patti Hochevar’s ’42 Dodge had been a farmer’s truck all its life, and had been stored indoors for the majority of that time, it wasn’t really a barn “find”, as Dave had known about it literally all his life (his grandfather bought it new in 1942!).
While U.S. civilian car production ceased in 1942 once the United States joined the war effort, much of the rest of the world had been at war since 1939, and it’s rare to find a non-military ’42 truck, especially a 1-ton version. Yes, this pickup started life as a 1-ton truck, and Dave surmises that his grandfather was only able to purchase it because he was a farmer. There were 850 such DD-series Dodges manufactured in 1942, the vast majority destined for army use overseas, all of them righthand drive, except for those retained for the domestic market. Those with the steering on the “wrong” side were destined for Ceylon, Mombasa, and South Africa, or England, where they were used for bomb damage clearance in London.
The DD designation is a Canadian version, which is where Dave lives, with the U.S.-built truck carrying the WD20 or WD21 names. The DD2 was originally based on the ’40 U.S. DeSoto truck, however, enough of the history lesson. Dave’s pickup is clearly not a 1-ton truck any longer, nor is it used for bomb clearance!
The truck passed into Dave’s ownership some 30 years ago, and with the kids gone he felt it was time to fix it up and take up the hot rod hobby with his wife. A few years were spent planning and coming up with ideas before they took the plunge, the actual build only taking a year and a half to complete. Now, a 1-ton truck chassis wasn’t going to cut it under a regular size pickup, with Dave’s solution undoubtedly a contributing factor to the speedy build time. This Dodge now sits on an S-10 frame. Sure, the stock body mounts were cut off and some modifications made, but it’s essentially stock, right down to the independent front suspension, parallel leaf sprung rearend, brakes, antiroll bar, and master cylinder! Now we’ve seen some cars and trucks built on S-10 frames and a fair percentage of them just didn’t work, but this Dodge proves it can, and does, as the Hochevars cruise it around the countryside every chance they get. It has taken a few trophies too, namely the Canadian Country Award at the NSRA show in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2007, and the Designer’s Pick at Syracuse, New York, in 2011, where we caught up with the Hochevars and their Dodge. For a pickup that’s been finished for some seven years, even it still looks like a fresh build, despite regular use.
It must have taken vision and perseverance to turn a 1-ton truck into a regular pickup, though help along the way came from Ken McLean, who handled the chassis mods and built the one-off pickup bed; Bob Shantz and Lanny Davidson, who tackled the body and paint; and Gabe Gignal, Jack Playne, Andy’s Service Center, and Dave’s son, Matt. Dave takes credit for the design work, some mechanical work, and final assembly. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it’s rarely any different when building a rod or custom.
It may be hard to see in the interior pictures, but there’s a dime in the center of the steering wheel. With the many panels painted and back in Dave’s garage, as he was fitting the driver door, that dime fell out. He told us, “It amazes me that with all the dismantling, sandblasting, painting, and moving the panels, it was still in there and fell at my feet at the finish.” We’d guess his grandfather was trying to tell him he approved of the truck’s new identity!
Rod & Custom Feature Car
Dave & Patti Hochevar
Perkinsfield, Ontario, Canada
1942 Dodge pickup
An almost completely stock Chevy S-10 chassis now lives under the Dodge sheetmetal, with the stock front and rearends, brakes, master cylinder, and power steering box. The 3.07:1 rearend is mounted on the S-10 parallel leaf springs, though the original body mounts were removed and new ones fabricated. One deviation is the Welder Series pedal assembly. Even the stock brake and fuel lines were retained, though the gas tank is now a 14-gallon poly item at the rear.
Henry Muller machined and assembled the ’66 283ci Chevy small-block, boring the cylinders 0.030 oversize and grinding the crank. A hydraulic Crane cam was installed, though the engine retains the GM iron heads and even the stock intake, mounting a QuadraJet carburetor. An HEI distributor and block hugger headers fire it and clear it out. A Griffin aluminum radiator keeps it all cool, while a stock TH350 trans keeps it moving.
Body & Paint
Ken McLean fabricated the custom pickup bed and tailgate, with white oak flooring by Gabe Gignal, and added ’glass McMillan ’40 Ford fenders and a custom rollpan, with a frenched license plate and exhaust cutouts. Bob Shantz added the ribs to match the Dodge front fenders. Lanny Davidson then welded the top sections of the butterfly hood together, along with the top of the grille, which all now open as a conventional hood on billet hinges. The headlights were removed from the top of the fenders, swapped for Deitz units, and moved inboard and lower. These small differences (though a lot of work) totally transform the commercial front end. Dave told us the hardest part of the build was selecting a color, but eventually he went for a pale green, applied by Davidson. The ’37 Ford taillights and ’32 Ford exterior door handles complete the exterior furniture, along with a pair of peep mirrors. All glass is green tinted, and Cambridge Chrome handled the brightwork.
Wheels & Tires
Cream painted 15x7 and 15x8 Wheel Vintiques smoothies, with caps and trim rings, now fill the wheelwells rather than the huge 1-ton, six-lug pressed steel originals. They’re all wrapped in Coker whitewall radials, in 215 and 235/75R15 sizes to provide a little rubber rake to the truck.
The stock Dodge dash and steering wheel remain, though the former now houses VDO gauges, while the latter is bolted to a custom-made column. Rolled and pleated cream vinyl covers a one-off bench seat, as well as the door cards. A Gennie swan neck shifter passes through the gray carpet, with the gas and brake pedals and dimmer switch coming from Lokar. Dave added a Panasonic radio/CD unit, with the antenna mounted under the passenger side running board.