Richard “Big Dick” Hallovic from Shellharbour New South Wales, Australia sure knows how to mix things up. Having grown up with three brothers who are all mechanics, he has been around his fair share of automotive customization his whole life. Richard isn’t a fan of stock builds and he tends to get bored fairly easy, which is one of the several reasons he decided to build something completely unique to stand out from the rest. This 1974 Dodge D5N 600 is not the norm in the custom scene, no matter which continent you hale from. Follow along as we take you on another voyage to showcase our friends from the Southern Hemisphere.
Looking for his next project, Richard stumbled upon this 1974 Dodge. The cab itself was rescued from a “junkyard” of sorts in Australia and it started life as a full-size semi truck and was turned into an an old phone company service vehicle. Once the cab was rescued, Dick got right down to business and located a 1982 WB Holden Ute chassis as the foundation of this rig and the build-up was suddenly underway. The suspension and chassis parts were all rebuilt with new bushings and new mounting brackets were made for the cab and front end. Pedders roll bar bushings and suspension along with 1-inch lowered springs were used up front to bring this Dodge to a nice and low static stance. Pedders pins and bushings are updated out back in addition to the 1.5-inch lowering blocks and although the meager 1.5-inch drop doesn’t sound like much on paper, when you realize that this cab wasn’t meant for this frame and sits well below, you start to understand the extent of custom work that it took to dial this build in and get it looking as it is today.
Photos: Toast Graphics | Words: Jason Ballard
The ride stays comforting via the Pedders lowered shocks on all four corners. To the surprise of many, this truck is not bagged, it’s just a dialed-in static stance set to cruise anywhere and everywhere. Being the ultimate mashup, some parts from the original Dodge were used and many parts were swapped out in favor of Holden/GM parts to mate with the chassis. The steering column and brake system from the Holden chassis were used on the Dodge cab. The front brakes were upgraded to vented discs with all new pads and calipers and the original Dodge brake pedal and pedal box were modified for the Holden master cylinder and booster. Lastly, the Dodge truck handbrake lever assembly was retained and the Holden cable assembly utilized to keep things looking as original as possible for a bit of nostalgia. The finishing touches include Wheel Vintiques 15×6 steelies up front wrapped with 205/65/15 Goodyear whites and Wheel Vintiques 15x8s with 265/50/15 BF Goodrich rubber out back.
In order for this mashup of Dodge and GM to work, it took quite a bit of ingenity and a whole lot of cutting! The firewall was clearanced to fit over the chassis and the transmission tunnel was widened along with channelling the floor of the cab to work with the driveline. The radiator support panel was also modified to fit the Holden Commodore radiator. The GM bed was also extremely modified to mate up with the Dodge cab including shortening it 12 inches and narrowing it six inches and the tailgate was cut in half and pieced back together. A new frame was fabricated for the bed and the tailgate was mounted and fitted with gate locks, along with relocating the fuel filler. After sourcing some parts on eBay and raising the bed floor to his liking, Richard outfitted the bed with old timber to finish off the look he was after.
The exterior of this ’74 Dodge is a mashup blend of patina, hot rod and rat rod flavors. Richard himself performed the paint and body work as well as all of the chassis and metalwork making him a definite jack of all trades. He wanted to build this truck his way and on his timeline, and well hey, “If you want something done right, you better do it yourself.” Since the truck itself was an old phone company truck in the ’70s it was originally orange in color. Richard laid down some red oxide, grey, beige and white over the top of the original orange paint and began by rubbing back some of the layers allowing for some of the original patina to show through. The Holden/GM truck bed was originally dark blue and was given the same multi-layer treatment as the cab. The shop truck door murals were also painted by Richard along with the subtle hints of pinstriping throughout. To set things off a bit, he opted to spray the engine bay a matte black to give it a nice contrast from the rest of the body and the door frames and inside the bed all received the red oxide treatment. He then decided to give the truck some character and added a shop truck logo to the door and sign writing on the bed sides.
The confines of this cabin don’t reveal many creature comforts. The factory Dodge seat was re-trimmed in vinyl and Auto Meter antique beige gauges were used to ensure Richard is keeping an eye on the water temp, oil pressure, battery volts and his speed. Other touches include the Holden Commodore visors and Dodge steering wheel. These key touches blend in almost as if they were the vision of a VP in Detroit back in the ’70s and not just a hodge-podge of parts Richard threw together. A dash mounted rear view mirror from a British sports car gives the interior a unique look that seemingly ties things together just right. Richard also made custom door trims from aluminum and the door handles were made from old wrenches. Mr. minimalistic did however add in a set of 2×6 DB Drive door speakers and an Alpine CD player with Bluetooth capabilities to keep Richard company on the road trips that his little man Finn is unable to attend.
The drivetrain and running gear of the WB Holden were retained at first using a 202 cubic-inch 6 cylinder and Toyota 5-speed manual transmission. The truck was originally completed with a small flat tray and the 6-cylinder motor but that just didn’t cut it for Richard. A donor engine was quickly sourced from Richard’s brother and a 253 cubic-inch V-8 was soon fitted. A factory Stromberg carburetor ensures the petrol is continually pumped into the cylinders. A Holden Trimatic 3-speed automatic transmission was outfitted with a B&M transmission cooler and the rearend is that of a Holden Salsibury. The custom 4-core triple flow radiator was added to ensure the pickup can cruise across the country with no issues what-so-ever and a new ignition system ensures that when the key is turned they’re ready to roll. Any guess on who performed all of the engine and drivetrain work to get this recycled rat-rod themed pickup back on the street? Yup, you guessed it, Richard “Big Dick” Hallovic himself.
To Richard’s surprise this project came together quite well even though he admitted it easily could have gone the other way and been a nightmare of a Frankenstein project. As with any true enthusiast, Richard is never truly “finished” with his projects and he leaked some possible major engine swap upgrades in the future. Richard’s killer slam’d ’74 Dodge is yet another example of taking a near scrapped pickup truck and turning it into hot rod gold. What will you save next?
Owner: Richard “Big Dick” Hallovic
Vehicle: 1974 Dodge D5N 600
Hometown: New South Wales, Australia
Front: All rebuilt with bushings and Pedders suspension lowered springs, anti-sway bar and end links
Rear: All new pins, bolts, and bushings with Pedders lowering blocks
Shocks: Pedders lowered shocks all round
Frame Mods: 1982 WB Holden Ute chassis with new mounting brackets made for cab and front end
Brakes: Front brakes upgraded to vented disc with all new pads and calipers, original Dodge brake pedal and pedal box modified to holden master cylinder and booster, Dodge truck handbrake lever assembly retained and holden cable assembly fitted
Performed By: Owner
Body Mods: Dodge inner fenders trimmed to fit on Holden chassis, firewall notched for V-8, transmission tunnel widened to fit transmission, floor channeled for driveline, radiator support panel modified to fit Holden Commodore radiator, bed is narrowed six inches and shortened 12 inches, tailgate cut in half and narrowed, bed floor raised 12 inches and inner wheel tubs shortened and lifted, four inches cut off bottom of bed between wheels and cab to lower the sides, fuel filler relocated to bed floor, new bed frame fabricated and tailgate mounted with fitted gate locks, West Coast style mirrors,
Paint: Dodge was an old phone company truck in the ’70s and was orange, so the truck was painted red oxide, grey, beige and white over the top of the orange and rubbed it back to give the original patina, and truck bed was originally a dark blue and was given the same multilayer treatment
Extras: Hand-painted Shop Truck logos by myself and small pinstriping on cab and engine bay, all matte black and door frames, and inside bed and other parts are red oxide
Performed By: Owner
Factory Dodge seat retrimmed in vinyl
Factory Dodge dash
Auto Meter antique beige gauges for water temp, oil pressure, volts and speedo, original Sun Tach fitted in dash
Holden Commodore visor
Dodge steering wheel
Custom aluminum door panels and door handles made from old wrenches
Alpine CD with bluetooth streaming
2×6-inch DB Drive door speakers
Performed By: Owner
Engine: Holden 253 cube V-8 (for now)
Factory Stromberg carb
Factory Holden exhaust dumped at diff
Holden Trimatic 3 speed Auto with B&M transmission cooler
Holden Salsibury rearend
Custom made driveshaft
Custom 4-core triple flow radiator
New ignition system
Performed By: Owner
Special Thanks from Owner:
“A huge thanks to my wife Michelle for her support throughout. My little man Finn, the reason I built this so we can cruise all day together. Also Rob at Off Track 4×4 for advice and engineering, Justin for the engine and assistance, Shane, Jarrod at OFE and everyone else who lent a hand along the way.”