Family hauls Mopar love in 1965 Dodge A100 pickup
Jim Kucia has always been into Mopars. When he wasn't at the drag strip, he'd be found at local legend Grand Spaulding Dodge. Jim grew up in Chicago, not far from Midway Airport, and during the 1970s he'd swing by the famed dealership to pick up what they were known for: speed parts.
Those parts would get bolted on to his 1969 Charger 500, which the enthusiast bought while in high school (and still owns today).
"I used it everyday but was always making it faster," says Jim, who now lives in Streamwood. Jim competed at the U.S. 30 Dragstrip, just over the border in Indiana. Besides the power, Jim grew to favor the Mopar offerings because of their flashy colors and seldom-seen rarity.
"They always stood out -- and compared to the Mustang and Camaro drivers, I found just a handful of Dodge guys," he says.
His lifelong passion had him owning numerous examples over the years. However, in 2014, Jim set out to find something truly unique. "The Roadrunner, Coronets and Chargers are what you normally see, but never the pickup trucks," Jim explains.
That's why he started scouring for a 1965 A100. He ended up buying not one, but two, tracking down examples in Oregon and Tennessee. Taking the best of both, he combined the pair into one ultrahot hauler.
All of the sheetmetal was stripped down before a striking coat of 1970s Dodge High Impact Lime Light green was applied. A fun custom touch is the Bumblebee-style stripe, something never included on the truck but readily found on other Mopar muscle.
Other additions including swapping the stock inline six-cylinder for a 318-cubic-inch V-8. The stock "three on the tree" manual transmission was exchanged for a more highway-friendly automatic. Inside, the cabin was given a full overhaul, complete with custom upholstery.
Dodge devotees may be harder to come by but Jim has a guaranteed partner when cruising: his son, Alex. Growing up around dad, it was only naturally for him to have caught the Mopar bug, too. Alex has restored and drives a 1966 Coronet 500 that packs a bored and stroked 496-cubic-inch V-8 underhood,
Just like his pops, he's gone racing, too.
The strong love of high horsepower has caught the heart of yet another generation of Kucias. "My son, Ryder, is more obsessed than me and Dad," Alex laughs. "If he hears my car start up in the garage, I can't leave the house without him wanting to tag along. And when we go racing, he's right there on the sidelines rooting me on. He's my biggest fan."
The three generations of wheeled-passion, and Jim's eye-catching rig, caught my attention at September's Daily Herald Cruise Night in Bloomingdale. I awarded the A100 the Matt Avery's Pick trophy and am eagerly awaiting the day when I bump into Ryder behind the wheel of his own muscle machine.
No doubt it'll be loud, fast and, most definitely, Mopar.
• Share your car's story with Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or COPOthebook.com.