Job-Rated – Larry Blodgett’s 1952 Dodge B3B Panel
Larry Blodgett knows a thing or two about heritage and family. As the third-generation owner of his family’s business, Blodgett Floor Covering, Larry carries on a tradition started by his grandfather more than 70 years ago of selling and installing carpet and flooring materials in the San Francisco Bay Area. With this 1952 Dodge B-3 panel truck, he’s also keeping a bit of both family and business history alive.
Larry’s grandfather, Kermit Blodgett, bought a Dodge panel nearly identical to this one to use in the family business back in the ’50s. He used the truck not only for the business, but also for recreation, taking it on hunting excursions and other outings. Like most work vehicles of that era, the old Dodge was lost to time, though memories and photos of it remained in Larry’s mind. So, when Larry found this 1952 Dodge B3B back in 2005, it only seemed fitting to buy it and rebuild it like his grandfather’s truck. Like the old Blodgett Dodge, this one was built in Chrysler’s San Leandro plant and appeared to have spent its whole life in California.
Larry wanted to remain true to the memory of his grandfather’s truck, so the rebuild of this one did not involve major mechanical or drivetrain updates. It still uses the stock 96hp 218c.i. flathead six to get the 16-inch steel wheels and Coker wide whitewalls rolling. The floor-button starter and column-shift three-speed manual transmission double as theft deterrents for would-be joyriders younger than 50.
On the outside, Lafayette Auto Body stripped off layers of old paint and redid some poorly executed repair work performed at some point in the truck’s long history. They got the Dodge’s wide and tall panels nice and smooth before spraying the PPG BMW Imola Red paint, a hue similar to that of his grandfather’s Dodge. Hand lettering and pinstriping replicate the Blodgett business info and a small Muppet illustration on the driver’s side cowl offers a nod to Larry’s grandfather, Kermit.
The interior was also left largely original, a reminder of how Spartan these old trucks really were. Larry says the bench seat was an unusual option for a panel truck; it was recovered in black vinyl by Jim Silva Sure Fit Seat Covers. And Larry knew just where to turn for the carpet in the rest of the cabin – the source was lettered on the outside of the truck!
The 1952 Dodge has been on the road a few years now and is a regular sight at both Blodgett Floor Covering and at Goodguys events in Pleasanton. It’s one of those vehicles that seems to generate both smiles and questions, and Larry is always happy to respond to both. It’s his way of keeping some family history alive.