Restoration Tale: 1943 Dodge Carryall


Before buying my Bumblebee (see other story), I found a 1943 Dodge Carryall. In 2000, the Carryall had been taken to the Power Wagon Rally in Fairfield, Iowa, to be offered for sale – but it didn’t sell. It was returned to Massachusetts were it sat looking for a new owner. I still don’t know how the Carryall made the trip to Iowa and back; it was so structurally weak that it could hardly carry its own weight. I decided I would purchase it and do a restoration.

The Carryall was delivered, and it sat in my shop while I finished my Bumblebee. When I was finally ready to start work on it, I got cold feet. I began looking for a good Carryall body but couldn’t find one. I drew a line in the sand and decided that if one wasn’t found by Thanksgiving 2002, I would start on it and do my best. It could always be taken to the dump if all went wrong.

From the front A post on both sides to the tailgate welds, rust had eaten away everything including the floor cross members. The doors were shot, the roof was shot and there were stress cracks in the body. The body was racked 6 inches to the left, and you could rack the body back and forth with two fingers. After over a week of trying to figure out where to start, I came up with a plan, which I followed until the time of completion.

I took 1.000″ x 1.000″ x 3/16″ angle and x-braced the body. Then I cut the inner and outer sides out of the Carryall with my plasma torch. The body panels were fabricated from one piece of 16 gauge sheet steel and the steel sheet was cut. It took 21 days for one outer side to be completed by hand fabrication, but, after knowing what had to be done, the other side was done in just five days. One piece of 18 gauge sheet steel was used for the inner skin. With the fabrication of all new fender wells and cross members from 2.000″ x 2.000″ x 3/16 tube, the Carryall began to look like it really was going to roll again.

Carryalls use a two-piece tailgate, top-lifted and bottom-dropped. My lower gate was so bad there was little hope of repair. I decided that I’d use panel doors from a 1947 Dodge Panel. The width of the gate was correct, but they were too high and had to be cut down to fit the opening. The new floor in the Carryall was fabricated from 3/16″ steel and a custom rear-stem bumper was installed. I then added 1999 Ford Explorer seats along with heavy use of Q Pads and carpet, which has really made it a quiet running truck. All parts were blasted with Black Beauty and then Pickle X applied. I shot PPG MP-170 Epoxy Primer and PPG MP-182 primer onto everything. The chassis was shot with PPG MOA Chassis Black and everything else with PPG Base/Clear. The color used was Harley Davidson orange and black, which was mixed to a reflectance of 37 percent to give it the always wet look.

Next, I found a 1999 Cummins 4BTA Recon engine with only 23K miles. I also located a 1999 Dodge NV-4500 (5 speed od) transmission and a 1993 Dodge Married NP-205 T case. The ring and pinions were changed to 4.89’s and Saginaw Power Steering was added along with 4 wheel disk brakes. I decided to add a Braden MU-2 Winch, which is driveshaft driven. My plan was to power this winch with hydraulic power using the power steering pump as mile marker winches do. The hydraulic winch is bi-directional and the tires are STA Superlugs 900×16 mounted on Budd Wheels.

My goal was not to build a show truck; I’m not a coach builder or body man. Rather, I wanted a nice driver that I could take off road and have fun with. I had set a completion date of June 2004, in time for the Power Wagon Rally in Fairfield, Iowa, but all work was finished by May 14, 2004.

If anyone is thinking about restoration of a Carryall and wants to discuss what will be required or the diesel install, please feel free to e-mail me. and I will do my best to help in any way possible.

– Paul Mierop, Schroon Lake, NY


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