How does Dodge follow up last year’s SEMA show special, a restomod Super Charger with a 1,000-horsepower crate engine? By going in a completely different direction. The truck you see here is called the Mopar Lowliner, and it started life as a 1968 Dodge D200 Camper Special. It’s different, but there’s a whole lot to like under the two-tone Candy Delmonico and Dairy Cream paint job. The Lowliner will make its public debut at the 2019 SEMA show, alongside an overland-ready Ram Rebel pickup truck, a custom Jeep Wrangler, and one more car we can’t tell you about until show time.
The donor truck was found in Ohio for $6,800, mostly intact. The Mopar design team cleaned up the body lines, keeping the characteristic crease that runs the length of the truck and ends in a check mark. The front axle is pulled forward three inches to accentuate the impression of length, and the entire hood, grille, and front fenders tilt forward as a single piece. Under the sheetmetal lies a Cummins diesel. “Most people might expect a Hellcat engine, so we thought this would be a nice surprise,” says Joe Dehner, head of Ram Truck and Mopar design. It’s a standard 5.9-liter, high-output inline-six found in mid-2000s 3/4 and 1-ton Ram trucks, making 325 horsepower and 610 pound-feet of torque. Almost five inches have been shaved off the bottom of the oil pan to get the Lowliner down close to the ground on the lowest setting of its air suspension. The limiting factor is actually the giant bellhousing on the six-speed manual transmission.
There were a number of variations on the Dodge pickup’s grill during its 11-year run. Dehner says they specifically liked the look of 1968, with its dual headlamps and horizontally-sectioned design. The biggest challenge was finding a clean rear bumper, which are almost all rotted away. On the donor truck, the bed was beyond saving, so the Mopar team grafted in the sheetmetal from a new Ram 1500, raising the floor six inches to make room for the air suspension components. The wheels are 22-inch milled billet aluminum, finished to look like old-fashioned steel units.
Inside, the Mopar team took inspiration from deluxe versions of the original pickup with the machine-turned instrument panel, and kept the “fratzog” logo steering wheel stock. Possibly the coolest feature is the translucent red shift knob, featuring a vintage Cummins logo. The bench seat is covered in distressed “Blazing Saddle Tan” leather, while the leather headliner features a stitched Mopar M logo. Another Mopar Easter egg is in the taillights, which have the M embossed into the lens.
After the 2019 SEMA show, the Lowliner will likely travel to a few other shows and events, so if you miss in it Las Vegas there will be other chances to see it in person.