Trefor

1929 Dodge Merchant Express Panel Mystery truck

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    Recently, while helping clean up a family member’s property, they gave me a dilapidated old Dodge in their back field for “yard art”.

While going through some old sheds, I struck rusty gold and found the majority of the parts for it. Numbers on the engine and frame

Tell me that it’s a 1929 Merchant Express, but I haven’t been able to learn much more. My curiosity is through the roof because the parts

I found for it would make it a “Panel”, however..the Panel sides have (2) window holes as seen on sedan deliveries….but this is a truck??

I haven't been able to find any online info on this style of Panel. Chrysler sent me the build card, but that didn't help at all with the mystery.

Serial number is P1028 (27th Merchant express to roll off the line in 1929).

    Can anyone shed any light on this??

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Unfortunately, the truck has been completely disassembled. I'll try to get a picture of the panel sides to show everyone what i'm talking about. The bed walls come straight up and then connect to the upper panel sides, each side having (2) window openings (like a sedan delivery). The back has 2 doors. Very odd for what I know of old Panels. Anyways, I'll try to get some photos of the panel sides soon. 

1929 Dodge Panel.jpg

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Here's a quick rendering of what I have but can find no record of existing. And it is most certainly stock from the factory - not a customization.

 

 

1444056546_1929MysteryPanel.jpg.3213c4a2de5b7e54abd4b64fdc8e5593.jpg

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Love the truck . looks like you have one of those in between models . Chrysler was just taking over numbering from Graham Bros. whom build the trucks .

   Double check serial on engine UT's should have five numbers after , I believe . Also on driver side near bottom, is date code of engine cast just under starter . It is possible windows where added after . I can not make out what it says in OPT and SPECS column . And did you measure wheel base both sides . There are 108's ' 109's also in time period around years 28-30 . Sometimes on special orders Walter would use up old stock to make truck . Depression era nothing wasted .

Edited by ArticiferTom (see edit history)

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Measured and it's 109" wheelbase. Also found this data plate attached on floor - drivers side. Hard to make out, but it appears to read: 337-   -7581138406166_1929Dodgedatatag.thumb.jpg.6a35d6f26e31348af5c71b42efe28f83.jpg

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Opt. and Spec. Equip. appears to say "Fisk" and "Disn" but the"i" isn't dotted so it may be "Desn".  Perhaps that mean sedan delivery?? 

Build Card 1929 Dodge zoom.jpg

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Did they build any ambulances or funeral cars? Maybe an ambulance conversion.

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Wow again . Your right on UT,  most have and is an early one with that motor and body number . The cast number has me confused . My'31 has month ,day and year . And seen others with out year  . Would expect to see motor within few months of build  . But 8-5-9 even if 8 is '28 ,could be Sept 5 of 28 . Also clueless on body number .

   Some here with books and more info can help .

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Someone with literature on special bodies (probably York) will be the ones who have the answer. Chrysler museum may be another one but you’ll never see the info they hold since it’s shut off to public now. Which is complete bs btw...

 

Someone with special bodies literature is your best bet. Good luck

 

While researching the mpb for windows on panel trucks it refers us to page T-25-20

 

Does anyone have that page? Mine was missing. That may shed some light on the topic. ..I doubt it but maybe

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Was doing some more thinking on this of where to look for clues. 
 

On your build card it appears to read "Riegel Bros" out of Spokane WA... if you do research on the brothers type of business that may also shed some light onto what the special body would have been suited for. Just a suggestion. 

Edit: this is just the name of the Dodge Dealer it was sent to so I doubt it would help. 

The answer IS in the opt/spec section. Someone with a spec book should be able to decifer. I presume one mbr on here has that book (it sold on ebay last year), whether or not he/she shares the info is going to be up to them.

Very interesting truck. My guess would be funeral/ambulance (probably to short though) or something like a flower delivery service.

Edited by 30DodgePanel (see edit history)

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16 hours ago, Trefor said:

Opt. and Spec. Equip. appears to say "Fisk" and "Disn" but the"i" isn't dotted so it may be "Desn". 

 

I think it might be "Tisk Dest" (or "Tisk Dist").

 

And why is it "M E R Express"? i.e. why are the "E" and "R" in caps? Do those letters stand for other words?

 

That floor number plate might be more legible if you carefully wipe it with some chalk to highlight the raised numbers. Or even something oily to make it sheen then photograph it with the light at an angle on it.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

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Most Dodges of that era came with Fisk tires. Maybe the lower abbreviation stands for destination.

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22 hours ago, Trefor said:

Opt. and Spec. Equip. appears to say "Fisk" and "Disn" but the"i" isn't dotted so it may be "Desn".  Perhaps that mean sedan delivery?? 

Build Card 1929 Dodge zoom.jpg

John is correct on the upper line, it is FISK tires. The lower line is an abbreviation for DISPLAY, speaking of the two side windows.

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Here is a image of a FARGO truck counterpart, generally Dodge Brothers Truck Division would build just about anything that the customer would order and pay for.

Image (3).jpg

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9 hours ago, dc-8dave said:

John is correct on the upper line, it is FISK tires. The lower line is an abbreviation for DISPLAY, speaking of the two side windows.

 

 

David, any knowledge about the data tag he found on the drivers side floor? First one I’ve seen on any DB truck...

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Hello David,
                          This too is the first time I have ever seen a body tag on a truck but really that doesn’t mean anything since 99% of the 1928 thru 1932 Dodge Brothers Trucks are gone from the planet. It is my belief that Dodge Brothers Truck Division built most of their own production cabs and bodies. If outside companies built any of the production high volume cabs and bodies we may never know who they were. Whether the Dodge Brothers Truck plant built the cabs and bodies or Joe Blow Body Company from across town did I believe that the cowl assemblies and the stamped steel panels and doors were made by, in this truck’s case, Briggs Body Company. How I come to that conclusion is by the ribbed pattern on the face of the firewall. It is widely thought amongst automotive historians that Briggs Body built the 1930 Plymouth 30-U, the 1930 DeSoto CK-6 and the 1930 Chrysler CJ-6 bodies. If you look up the part number for each of these cars left door for a coupe you will find the same part number. For many years I owned a DeSoto CK-6 convertible coupe and had much time available to study the body construction and it certainly was far from Budd construction designs. I believe that Briggs most likely supplied the cowls, doors and body panels for the Fargo trucks also. I would bet money that Budd did not build the truck body parts or complete bodies since I have never seen a Budd tag on any kind of Dodge Brothers truck from the 1928- 1932 time period but I do think whoever did picked up their idea of tagging the bodies. Until more information and data comes to the surface regarding the origins of the Dodge Brothers Truck bodies I do believe this is the best we can come up with at least regarding this 1929 1/2 ton panel truck.      

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$(KGrHqQOKkYE3RB3uL5lBN9sE6ndQg~~_3.jpg

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Thank you so much for all the information everybody...I have...some closure.  Ultimately, I would just love to know how many were built like this, but I don't believe the records exist to break the numbers down like that. Regardless, I do believe it to most likely be extremely rare and we'll see....perhaps I'll tackle this project someday.

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