1950 Dodge Truck Earl LaBounty
Some owners have dreamed about owning certain vehicles for years and carefully look for one for sale, but Earl LaBounty getting this truck is much more practical than that…very fitting for a rancher.
Having a 100 acre Hay Ranch in Langley fills Laboutny time since retiring from BCIT as a Program head in Mechanical Engineering Technology. One day a customer named Ray Morris shows up in a 1950 2 ton Dodge Flatdeck and advised Earl it was for sale. Morris works as a service manager in the Carter Group and had lovingly rejuvenated…not restored this great old truck, but LaBounty said he had a couple of large ranch trucks and was only interested in a GM or Ford pickup truck.
Morris said that he had a 1950 Dodge truck and suggested LaBounty take a look at it. Liking what he saw, LaBounty got out a creeper and crawled under the fully driveable truck and was very impressed at the condition of it’s underside and the lack of corrosion. Morris had looked after the mechanical and let LaBounty know that it probably could use a brake job and there were a few issues with the wiring.
Having only 60,000 miles on the odometer it is totally possible this is the actual mileage but what impressed Labounty most was the lack of rust. He had had issues before with another vehicle that was severley rusted. This truck just needed some cosmetic details and wiring.
He found paper work from Wyoming and with the well worn gun rack Labounty likes to imagine this truck working it’s early years on some ranch. The overall condition seems to confirm it was from a dry climate like Wyoming.
Although the plan was to fix the wiring and brakes and drive it, LaBounty asked around to see if any others knew of any old Dodge parts which are harder to come by then Ford or GM parts. He found one of the neighbours Alden Michelchuck who lives directly behind him and was finishing a 1950 Fargo truck and had lots of Dodge and Fargo parts. Dodge trucks were sold in Canada as Fargo and had some Canada only features. Alden was able to help Earl find parts and also sent him to see Steve Sillett at Panelcraft to help out with the couple of small dents on the Truck.
Panelcraft fixed up the small dents on the green truck and LaBounty mentioned how it would be much nicer to have a 5 window cab and Steve said he would look into it. LaBounty found a set of 1/4 windows from a fellow in Coquitlam and dropped them off at Panelcraft with instructions for them to be installed but to look factory.
Now that the cutting was about to begin, more imperfections in the body were found and put on the “to do” list. The hood, fenders and doors were removed but the truck did not need a frame off restoration. While sourcing parts a second truck was bought for it’s optional larger box with higher sides and great looking sculpured side panels. The original box was so good it even had the original wood in it but after seeing the larger box it has a much better look and does not look so “Cab Heavy” as the smaller box does.
The parts truck also provided the rare bumperettes for the front bumper and the stainless steel grille bars. Two other fellows used other parts off the donor truck for their projects. With the addition of the 3 bumperettes on the front bumper a 1951 Dodge front bumper was used on the rear with 1960 MG bumperettes complete with licence plate lights for function and great looks. A trailer hitch was also added to make the truck more practical.
As the bodywork was being done Earl wanted a visor but disliked the obstructed view, so Panelcraft fabricated special brackets to raise it up out of the line of sight. They also chose to paint the truck in the “Spring Special” two tone colours of Green and cream. The Spring Special was offered in the Early months to help drive sales for the remainder of the model year.
During the wiring process the generator and starter were taken to Dundee Auto Electric and deemed to be in perfect working order. A radio had been found and was sent out to be re-tubed and LaBounty decided a cigar lighter would of been a top luxury option back in the day and a very rare one. The wiring harness was now ready to be ordered, He had found a company in California that makes period correct wiring harnesses complete with courtesy lights in the cab, radio, lighter and rear licence plate lights. The truck originally had one taillight but a previous owner had mounted 2 additional taillight/brakelights. New Stainless steel exhaust were fabricated a to fit perfectly around the hitch, spare tire and frame by Accurate Brake and Muffler.
Finishing off the truck with a hand painted logo with his ranch’s name on it, the guys at Norris signs did not disappoint and came up with the classic looking logo that is painted on the doors of the truck. They also hand painted “lil Dodger” on the doors and “GWR” on the wooden siderails.
The interior is the original vinyl over the original springs minus the one that was broken. Period correct clear plastic was applied by Brigantine in Langley and also because the plastic has always been too cold in the winter and too hot in Summer a Navaho blanket is thrown over it…just like back in the day. A doeskin is thrown over the back of the seat and a hat rack is installed for the obligatory cowboy hat.
The sideboards were created by Earl from lumber cut from an old Maple tree cut down on the ranch property and hauled to a lumber mill in Deroche. The cut planks were stacked in his barn for 5 years for proper curing and now some have been turned into sideboards for the truck. Adding a saddle on a special saddle stand allows LaBounty to drive the truck to many shows and win lots of accolades.
This truck was outfitted with the 218 cu. in. 6 cylinder which is slightly smaller than the Canadian trucks. Bob Hildebrant of Cloverdale fitted an OEM Tatterhall dual carb manifold and LaBounty had an extra carb he had cleaned up. Bob’s shop installed it and fabricated the dual carb linkage that makes a world of difference to the driveability of the truck. The 4 on the floor transmission with a very usable first gear is also a bit different compared to the Canadian “3 on the tree” shifter commonly found on the Fargo trucks.
Drivability is important to this truck as you will find this truck at lots of car shows throughout the lower mainland and LaBounty intends to keep his truck as a family legacy.