The 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas starts tomorrow and we will be bringing you a look at all of the hottest Mopar machines on display, but last week, FCA invited us out to their headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan for a preview of their Moparized vehicles headed for SEMA. We aren’t allowed to talk about some of those vehicles just yet, but we are allowed to show you this gorgeous 1968 Dodge D200 pickup, named the Lowliner Concept.
The team at Mopar bought this truck in Ohio for $6,800 in pretty good shape, but this wicked classic pickup looks nothing like it did in stock form. In fact, just about every aspect of this antique truck has been modified by the Mopar crew, from the shape and length of the frame to the engine to the shape of the roofline, transforming a nice old school Dodge D200 into a jaw-dropping SEMA Show vehicle.
While this 1968 Dodge truck has been heavily modified, the star of the show for most onlookers is the absolutely gorgeous exterior. The majority of the body is painted Candied Delmonico while the grille, 22-inch wheels and bumpers are Dairy Crème. The front wheels are moved three inches forward, extending the wheelbase and creating a unique look from other trucks of this era up front, but to further the custom look, the team removed the exterior door handles, the radio antenna, the drip rails, the badges and the fuel filler cap.
Once all of those items were removed, the Mopar team added seven inch LED headlights and custom LED taillights with integrated reverse indicators, followed by “ghost” Dodge and Mopar logos on the tailgate and fenders.
Finally, in addition to the lowered stance that comes from a suspension setup that we will discuss more in a second, the Lowliner Concept has a cool flip-front design with functional louvers. Overall, while there were numerous changes around the outside, the build team maintained the key lines and the character of the classic Dodge pickup.
While the look of this stunning ’68 D200 is the key attraction with this showpiece, what is under the deep metallic red paint is just as impressive. The team began by fully boxing the factory frame to handle the torque of the dressed-up 5.9-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine. Power is sent to the rear wheels by means of a 6-speed manual transmission while 325-35-22 performance tires put all of that sweet diesel torque to the ground. Getting those tires to fit out back required the team to widen the original wheel wells by five inches.
As for the engine build, there were no details on what all was done to improve the output of the 5.9-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel, but as you can see in the picture here, it has a polished charge pipe kit and a Mopar air filter. Also, when they started the truck up for us, it clearly had a healthier exhaust system than what came from the factory on a modern truck with this engine, so it at least has basic intake and exhaust upgrades. Of course, it also has a valve cover that has been painted to match the body, which with the polished piping and the black engine trim creates a very sharp engine bay under the forward-folding front end.
As mentioned, the front wheels have been moved forward, with 285-35-22 aiding in cornering, but what plays the biggest role in the road-handling ability of this slick classic pickup is the custom front and rear air suspension. Equipped with three modes – low, driving height and driving height plus – the suspension system allows the team to slam the truck down for display while lifting it for real world driving hazards.
The one downside to an air suspension setup like the one in use here is the equipment needed to operate the system, which is usually in the bed. Mopar didn’t want a bunch of tanks and air lines exposed, so this 1968 D200 has an elevated bed surface, so what looks like an empty bed is actually a fancy cover for the high tech suspension bits and the fuel cell.
Lastly, the interior of the Lowliner Concept has been upgraded quite a bit, but the team took a more understated approach to sprucing-up the cabin. The stock bench seat design has been retained, but that seat assembly is wrapped in Blazing Saddle Tan leather, with matching leather on the door panels, shift boot and headliner. The carpeting has an old school look with its light brown body, but the same leather from the seats and doors is used for carpeting trim, which really ties the cabin together.
The dashboard and the metal components of the door inners have been painted the same stunning red as the exterior and the original steering wheel has been restored and retained, as has the overall shape of the dash. However, where the classic gauges once rested, Mopar added seven modern gauges in an “engine turned” aluminum panel, but the big Hurst shifter with a translucent metal-flake shift ball drives home the classic cruiser look.
While Mopar could have gone wild with this truck, adding a tube chassis, a Hellephant crate engine with a thousand horsepower, a chopped top and a race-ready cabin, this truck is likely to get more attention than would another Hellcat-based project. The team did a great job of preserving the key design features of the 1968 D200 while creating a slick exterior that hides a modern diesel drivetrain, and it is truly a work of art.