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This 1983 Dodge Ram D150 Pickup Project Is Packing A Sleeper Secret: 512ci Of Mopar V8 Heat!

This 1983 Dodge Ram D150 Pickup Project Is Packing A Sleeper Secret: 512ci Of Mopar V8 Heat!

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, it’s no secret that vintage trucks are in right now. Cool old trucks that are built for speed are all over the place these days, and ones like Roadkill’s Muscle Truck C10 Stepside and the Farmtruck made famous on Street Outlaws have influenced hordes of gearheads to go grab an old boxy truck from their local classifieds to turn into a street machine of their own. It’s hard not to love these things; they are not only stout platforms to build, but they are also useful since they can haul stuff in the bed and make weekend errands easy. The most popular vintage trucks right now seem to be the Chevrolet C10, with Ford’s F100/150 not too far behind, and the Dodge D100/150 taking up the rear. That said, the truck we are about to show you, a 1983 Dodge D150 long bed, might help balance things out. This one is not quite done, but it’s for sale up in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and looking for someone to finish it off and go dominate the local home improvement store parking lot. Check it out!

When you see a truck that looks like this, what do you think? It looks like a barely running, worn out workhorse that hasn’t had a day of rest since it rolled off the assembly line 34 years ago, with mismatched body panels that look like they are there out of necessity and nothing else. Where most people are clamoring after short bed trucks, the builder of this one went with the extra sleepy (and useful!) 8ft long bed. The chrome wagon wheels don’t even tip it off. Nothing to see here, carry on…


Personally, I love the 1972-1993 Dodge trucks. They often get overlooked (aside from the Lil Red Express and Warlocks of course), but Ma Mopar had some clean, handsome designs throughout the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. You could get a myriad of engines under the hoods of these trucks, including the venerable 225ci Slant Six and various small block Mopar V8’s. They offered factory 440 power for a while in the 70’s until it ceased production in 1978, so fitting one under the hood of a later model isn’t too much of a stretch.


If you saw this in the Home Depot parking lot and took a peek inside, the only real clue that something might be up is that big tachometer sitting front and center on the dash. Other than that, it’s not telling you any secrets. An aftermarket Mopar “Tuff” steering wheel, a floor shifter, and a set of seats out of another truck could feasibly be found in any old Dodge still in service as replacements for worn items.


When you pop the hood, you might have to step back a few times to see if it’s really the same truck you are looking at, as it’s all business under here. The seller built a Mopar Performance 440ci V8 into a 512ci bruiser with Indy heads and lots of go-fast goodies. It makes “just shy of 600 hp and 630 ft lbs of torque @ 3400 rpm” on the dyno, which is likely about five times more powerful than the wheezy early 80’s 318 that probably resided in there prior to the build.


During the build, the bed and cab were pulled off the frame, and it was cleaned and painted, so the next guy won’t have to worry about that. The brakes and suspension appear to be new as well, although it’s unknown if they are upgraded over the stock specs.


Strangely, it says nothing about the transmission in the ad, but judging by the looks of it, I’m guessing that it’s a built TorqueFlite 727 residing behind the big block. One could assume that this transmission has seen some upgrades in order to avoid liquification of its innards due to the 630 lb ft of torque getting passed through it.


The heart of the build, a beefy 514ci Mopar big block, started life as a Mopar Performance 440 crate engine. The heads are Indy EZ-1’s, which are designed to have lower exhaust ports to fit better in Chrysler A-Body cars. Header clearance can also be an issue when installing these in the D100/D150, so the heads help a bit in that respect. They also have intake ports modeled after the legendary Max Wedge heads. The short block sports H-beam rods, Diamond pistons, and a forged K-1 Technologies 8-bolt stroker crank. All in all, the seller says he has over $8,000 into the engine alone.


In order to keep the driveline from vaporizing itself, the seller spec’ed out some stout drivetrain parts, including this axle housing, which now houses a 489 center section, an aftermarket limited slip differential with 3.55 gears, and upgraded axles. It’s ready to leave long patches of rubber everywhere it goes.

The seller of this sleepy truck is asking $7,500, and claims to have over $13,000 into it, including over $8,000 in the engine build alone. The story is that medical issues in his family have come up, so he’s looking to move the project down the road. It’s currently together and running, which is a plus, and aside from a small rust spot in one of the rocker panels and a few dents, it’s in decent shape. If I was buying it, I’d 100% run it as is, leaving the mismatched paint, truck tires, and all. Maybe I’d add one of those old camper caps with the frosted bubble windows and the scroll work pinstriping, making this old Dodge the spitting image of the early 80’s D150 that one of the weird science teachers drove when I was in middle school (side note: he was really strange, and he had a mattress in the back of his at all times, and I don’t want to know why!). I’d even add quiet mufflers, (with cutouts, of course) to avoid giving away the secrets under the hood unless necessary.¬†With that, I’d name it the Creeper Sleeper!

So, you now know what we would do, but what would you do if you had this D150 in your possession? Would you restore the body to its original 1983 appearance, or would you run it as-is? Would you leave the engine and drivetrain alone, or would you make it even more ridiculous? Let us know in the comments section!

Click HERE to check out the Craigslist ad!

1983 D150 512 Cubic Inch Street Sleeper. Motor started out as a new Mopar Performance cross bolted main 440 based block.All machine work done by H&J Machine in Carrington. New K-1 technologies forged stroker 8 bolt crank with h-beam rods and diamond pistons. Indy ez-1 heads opened up to close to max wedge size. Dyno’d at just shy of 600 hp and 630 ft lbs of torque @ 3400 rpm. Have all dyno sheets and receipts.Body removed and frame cleaned and rotary brushed and painted with rustoleum. New brakes, lines, fuel lines, fuel cell, new 489 center section with auburn tru-trac 3.55:1 posi. Dr. Diff HD axles and bearings, Texas driveshaft HD shaft and joints.Box had damage and rust and found a rust free box to install. Cab has a few dents and minor rust in the driver’s rocker panel area. Found a shop rag in there when disassembling. New Wranglers and chrome rims. Was going to make this a street/strip vehicle but due to family medical issues it’s time to move on. Drive as is or do the body and paint. $7500 OBO. Went through some receipts and I have over $13,000 into this project with the motor alone over $8,000. Less than 1500 miles on the truck since the transplant. Would keep it and finish it but wife is in end stage renal failure that requires me to administer home hemo dialysis. So someone enjoy this Mopar and finish it.


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4 thoughts on “This 1983 Dodge Ram D150 Pickup Project Is Packing A Sleeper Secret: 512ci Of Mopar V8 Heat!

  1. DanStokes

    I want it! I’d paint it back to the red and add a roll bar so I could use all of what’s there. Change out that gear set to a 2:73 and find out it’s top end. AA engine class…….


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