The Original Ram TRX: The 1964-65 Dodge Custom Sport Special

October 29th, 2020 by

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is coming soon to Landers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealerships in Little Rock and Norman, Oklahoma, and we couldn’t be more excited about sharing this incredible, high-performance truck with our customers. Packing a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 similar to those that power the Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX puts out a whopping 702 reliable, streetable horsepower on pump gas. That’s over 250 horsepower more than the Ford Raptor, signalling the arrival of an undisputed new king of the asphalt jungle.

Ram’s sister company Dodge has been all about building ultimate-performance pickups for decades, and today we’d like to shine a light on one of the rarest: the 1964-65 Dodge D-100 Custom Sport Special. The original high-performance muscle-truck, pre-dating the flashy, high-performance Dodge Warlock and Lil’ Red Express trucks of the 1970s by a full decade, the Dodge D-100 literally invented the ultra-high-performance truck market which the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX will soon own again.

So what made the Custom Sport Special so… well, special? While it wasn’t much to look at on the outside — a long-wheelbase version of what is arguably one of Dodge’s homeliest-ever trucks, with a blunt-nose hood, dowdy quad headlamps and a ridiculously out-of-proportion bed — the 1964-65 Custom Sport Special made up for those looks only a mother could love with plenty of firepower. Under the hood: a mighty 365-horsepower 426 Street Wedge big block, backed by a bombproof 727 LoadFlite three-speed automatic! Outfitted with a four-barrel carb, free-breathing dual exhaust, and factory traction bars borrowed from the Chrysler Imperial, the Custom Sport Special was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, putting out a still-stout 470 lb.-ft. of torque and capable of turning quarter-mile times under 13 seconds, consistent with the hottest muscle cars of the mid-1960s.

Inside, the Custom Sports Special was about as luxurious as a truck could get in those days, with black vinyl bucket seats lifted from the Dodge Dart GT, a chrome-trimmed console from the Dodge Polara, wall-to-wall carpeted floors as well as a gauge package that included a 6,000 RPM tachometer to keep an eye on that rumbling Mopar Max Wedge.

So why have you probably never heard of the Dodge Custom Sports Special, even if you’re a Mopar fanatic? Well, for one thing, they’re incredibly rare, with total production numbers of about 50 trucks spread over three model years. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but most of it was just how hard it was to get a half-ton Dodge truck to swallow that tugboat-sized big block. Getting the engine to fit required some major surgery on the assembly line, including custom-built brackets to install the Chrysler traction bars, fabricated motor mounts, the removal of a major crossmember in the frame, and dimpling the firewall of the truck so the exhaust headers could squeeze into place.

All that custom fabrication work, plus the cost of the high-performance goodies from the Mopar parts bin, didn’t come cheap. The Custom Sports Special ultra-high-performance package added $1,200 to the purchase price, which was then around 65 percent of the full price of a base model Dodge truck! In addition, because of all the custom work required at the factory to build a Custom Sports Special, only those who could pay cash in advance for the truck could order one, as Chrysler didn’t allow them to be financed. Given that, they pretty much all sold to either rich farmers or wealthy contractors looking for a high-performance “sleeper” truck that could really haul freight, or to those looking for a tow-rig that could tow more than any other half-ton truck. Understandably, considering so few were built and how hard they were used, very few Custom Sport Specials have survived to the present day. That rarity is reflected in sky-high auction prices when restored or survivor-grade Dodge Custom Sport Special trucks come up for sale.

Dodge performance is legendary, and the legend continues with the all-new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, the 702-horsepower super truck that carries on the legacy of the Dodge Custom Sport Special. Do you want to buy a 2021 Ram 1500 TRX in Little Rock or Norman, Oklahoma? Then give us a call today at Steve Landers Auto Group and let our strong connections to the factory and record-setting special-edition model allotments work a little Mopar Magic for you! We look forward to helping put a permanent smile on the faces of some high-horsepower truck fans, just like Dodge has been doing since all the way back in 1964!

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