ARKANSAS CITY — When Terry Lawrence decided to get into street rodding, he wanted something unusual and he knew just the guy to create it.
"I talked to Dale (Enderud). I always thought it would be neat to have a hot rod," he said. He and Enderud had been friends and co-workers for years and Lawrence knew that Enderud had the skills to get the job done.
And as luck would have it, one of Lawrence's friends knew where to find the raw materials for the project.
"He knew I liked Dodges, and his nephew had a 1927 Dodge pickup. It was basically the cab, hood, fenders and radiator. The bed was cut in half, there were no floor boards and it didn't have any rear fenders," Lawrence recalled.
Lawrence said he would never have tackled such an undertaking by himself.
"I had more of just an overall vision of where I wanted to go with it. I knew I wanted to put a Hemi in it," he said.
Cramming a beefy Chrysler Hemi between the skinny front frame rails of an old Dodge would be a challenge.
The first motor the twosome located proved to be beyond repair, but Lawrence found a classic 392-cubic-inch Hemi. "The engine came from Anthony... it was from a '57 Imperial," he said.
The rear frame rails presented another problem, as they were kicked up far too high to locate the cut-down pickup box that Enderud was building.
"I don't think this came out of the Dodge factory a pickup," said Enderud, who suspects the vehicle began its life as a two-door sedan.
He lopped off the rear frame rails and built his own boxed, smoothed rails that now mount a custom-built 4-link coil-over rear end fabricated to attach the Chrysler 8.75-inch rear end and disc brakes. The mostly hand-built 4-foot long cargo box now rests level with the cab and covers a one-of-a-kind aluminum fuel tank.
The cab itself received a 3-inch chop top and custom belt line molding that wraps around the rear of the body. The body lines were continued onto a new, longer steel hood that Enderud fabricated to meet the modified radiator shell.
Disc brakes and Mustang II power rack and pinion were fitted to a dropped 4-inch tube front axle. Wheel Vintiques 15-inch steel wheels highlighted with ribbed trim rings and baby moon hubcaps are located under the fenders, wrapped in wide BF Goodrich rubber.
Enderud had to fill in the spare tire cutouts in the front fenders and replicate the peak that ran along the fender tops; he chose farm-store trailer fenders for the back, widening them 5 inches to cover the tires and reproducing the character lines of the front fenders.
Taillights borrowed from a '52 DeSoto were added, as was a thin third brake light at the rear of the cab. New running boards equipped with half-round solid stainless steel spears were crafted to connect the fenders.
Inside the tiny cab, a pair of '89 Mustang bucket seats upholstered by Richard Smith were installed. To ease entry/exit, the Dodge's doors were mounted "suicide-style," opening from the front.
Enderud did the rest of the upholstery and built the custom dash board, which hides a Southern Air air conditioning system. Gauges are VDO Heritage analog units with gold rings.
The Lokar shifter controls a 727 Chrysler automatic transmission. "The whole power train is MoPar," Enderud said.
"This entire truck... was done right here in this two-stall garage," he added, with justifiable pride. That included the rich metallic purple paint job he applied, a Sherwin-Williams shade picked from a PT Cruiser color.
"It's nothing too fancy. I went to K-State and I thought it ought to be K-State purple," Lawrence said.
"Dale has put a lot of design work into this," he said. "He fabricated a lot of little things, and a lot of not-so-little things," he said. "It's been a learning experience, I can tell you," said Enderud, who spent six years on the project.
"I just wanted something I could load up in on Friday night, go to town and cruise Main," Lawrence said. "I think Dale has had a lot of fun with it so far... but from here on, I'm planning on having fun with it."
He said he and his wife Anne will probably make a few trips to Manhattan to show off his purple pickup to fellow K-State fans, as well as displaying it at some car shows around the area.