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Dex's Rugged '52 International L110

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Words: Tommy Parry     Images: Dex

When Dex stumbled upon a choice ‘52 International L110 parked next to a shed in a cattle pasture and contacted the farmer who owned it, he had mixed feelings. The truck wasn’t in the greatest shape—but when the farmer offered his father’s old truck for $100, Dex couldn’t pop his wallet open quickly enough. He dragged the L110 home; moving it for the first time in forty years. Unfortunately, it would sit in Dex’s garage for the next year while he saved, planned, and envisioned a future for the machine.

Once he put a few checks away for a rainy wrenching day, Dex snagged a ‘92 S10 for free, however, he grew to dislike the way the wheels sat in their wells, and so he scrapped the S10 bits and picked up a ‘95 Dakota with a 318. Now, he had a motor and a foundation to build a stunning truck upon.


Next came a coat of black paint. After dousing the cab and the floor, he removed the Dakota’s red cloth bench seat and built some brackets for the IH, then bolted everything in. Now he had a stylish interior, and the exterior would get a dose of pizzazz to match with a set of full moon hubcaps.

Next, Dex set to getting the motor to hum. After tweaking the Dakota’s tricky wire harness, he bolted on an aluminum radiator and a fan he pulled from a Dodge Dakota 5.9 RT. Then came the Flowmaster 40s, run without a cat and exiting behind the cab. The driving experience couldn’t be described as mellow or relaxed, but the truck certainly had some presence. After all, this hard-edged rat truck couldn’t be too polite.


On went the bed, and after getting a steady stream of electricity to the pertinent parts, Dex had himself a bonafide badboy. Still, the interior needed some sprucin’ up—so he decorated the back of the cab with a collection of license plates, topped the shifter with a doorknob, and implanted the Dakota’s dash, which ran flawlessly and conveyed all the information Dex could want.



Next, Dex laid the floor to the bed, and built his own quad-stack to channel those exhaust fumes a little further away from the cabin. In truth, he was fearing for his own hearing and wanted a suitable compromise between intimidating and deafening. However, he had to console his neighbor before installing it—word was going around he’d picked up an anti-aircraft gun. For a little extra humor, Dex fashioned a set of taillights with a couple of old pistons and conrods he had lying around.


For turn signals, Dex opted for a set of 3/4" LED lights, which were installed in a little plate drilled with a couple 3/4" holes and a hole for some ready rod. One LED was used for the signal and one for the running light—simple and classy.


For a few extra ponies, Dex cut several holes in the hood and grafted a piece of steel from his old hood to form a diverter plate. This bit of homebrewed ingenuity would channel a little extra air towards the air cleaner, and give him some added grunt and a cool talking piece whenever he popped the hood.


With the front bumper installed, a few chains to secure the sun visor, and a hood ornament that would leave fans of any age smiling, he had his rugged beauty, complete with macabre influences.