What is the definition of a well-executed body mod? It’s a trick so clean you wonder if it’s a factory job or question why the factory hadn’t done it in the first place.
Talented 20-something Patrick Plenge of Mansfield, Ohio, has made quite a few well-executed body mods to his 1976 Dodge extra cab that often cause people to wonder, "Why didn&8217t Dodge do that?"
Before he got started, Patrick planned to give his truck an OEM appearance with his handiwork. The result is something like a factory dream truck reminiscent of the great Detroit Dream Cars of the 1950s and 1960s.
With the concept in his head, Patrick jumped right in and added a third door to his cab. Pieces from a Chevy Astro van, another cab, and an extra door were cut and spliced into place to create the new opening. That procedure went so well Patrick continued with the saw and torch. A 1972 Plymouth Duster was relieved of its sunroof, which was then then seamlessly grafted into the Dodge cab. The rest of the body mods were more subtle, but are what makes this truck so clean. All the emblems, mirrors, and exterior handles were shaved, and the doors and tailgate are now power-operated.
Patrick lavished a lot of his ingenuity on the front bumper; he narrowed, peaked, and shaved it, and fit it with a pair of billet grilles for the driving lights. The final body mod was the one-of-a-kind grille. Dodge guys always have to work a little harder: When Patrick couldn’t locate a billet grille manufactured for his truck, he modified an S-10 billet insert to fit in the color-matched factory grille surround.
One of the great things about Dodges is the mystery of what might be under the hood. Because there are so many different powerplant offerings from the great musclecar era, the chances are good that something interesting is in the engine bay. Patrick opted to drop a 1970 360ci Dodge V-8 backed by a 904 automatic trans into his pickup. The owner rebuilt the mill with some assistance from Craig Mosier, opening it up 0.030 over, adding a Mopar Performance cam, and topping it all off with a Holley 650 carburetor. Patrick finished by color-matching the engine to the body of the truck.
Now is a good time to mention that Patrick didn’t only paint the engine, but was responsible for the entire paint job and bodywork on the Phantom three-door. Patrick is a paint rep for Sherwin-Williams and has obviously learned a trick or two about laying down a paint job. The Durango Copper and Ivory are stunning on their own, but when you catch the copper ghost flames in the right light, this is one awesome piece of work.
And as if the owner hadn’t already contributed enough to this truck, he was also responsible for the interior. Patrick whipped up the custom-flamed tweed door panels and headliner and wrapped the dash in more of the matching camel-colored cloth. A Grant steering wheel and a pair of 1998 Cavalier bucket seats nicely finished the interior. Patrick says he has plans to have the seats covered in matching tweed, but we liked how the perfect factory covers gave the interior the same look and feel of a factory job that much of the truck has.
The final detail on this truck, which no vehicle has so far been cool enough to come factory equipped with, is the now classic set of American Racing Torq Thrust II wheels. This set of 17x7 and 17x8 rollers are shod with a set of Nitto Extreme rubber.
Pay attention to the name Patrick Plenge. He’s just getting started and hopes to turn his hobby of auto crafting into a career. We know that anyone with this much talent and ingenuity will surely be a superstar.