When it comes to cool cars, different is good. Walking through a car show, it is many times the seldom seen makes and models that draw a crowd, getting comments like “Geez, when’s the last time you’ve seen one of these?”. When you combine “different” with quality craftsmanship, the results get even better, and it is sure to drop some jaws. Such is the case with Art Martin’s 1935 Dodge Humpback Delivery.
To get a sense of where we are now, let’s begin by looking towards the past. The 1933 Dodge commercial panel was the first of Dodge’s famous double-level humpback deliveries, which were built through 1938 in Hamtramck, Michigan, with a base price of $595.00. Lake Wales, Florida resident Art Martin purchased his 1935 Dodge Humpback Delivery in 1992, and a few years later we featured the then yellow car on the cover of our magazine. After many years of showing (and driving) the car, Art decided it was time for a complete redo, and as a result took it to Sweeney Inc. in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. There they added lots of unique and modern elements to bring the car up to date, and in the process insure it was a show-stopper.
The foundation for the big humpback is a stock 1935 Dodge frame, which has been boxed, and had custom cross members installed. To that they added a Heidts Mustang II front suspension, and 4-link rear suspension. To give the car an aggressive yet adjustable stance Jason Sweeney installed a custom air ride system that tucks the Billet Specialties rims (20x10 inch rears, 18x8 inch fronts) well up into the fenders when the car is lowered all the way down, thanks in part to mini tubs in the rear.
Sweeney was also responsible for the body work, which features a long list of modifications. The lower half of the entire car had all the metal hand made to replace rust damage. The front roof insert was filed, the cowl vent was filled, hand made molded drip rails were installed, the windshield is now flush mounted, and the antenna frenched into the roof. Out back a custom roll pan was made, incorporating a frenched tag covered with a flush mounted cover, and LED taillight strips are now flush mounted into the rear doors. The rear fenders were widened and stretched, then molded to the body 3-inches higher to help accommodate the 20-inch wheels, while the front fenders were cut in half and re-arched, stretched and widened, and had the spare tire mounts removed. Running boards and splash aprons were hand made out of steel by Jason Sweeney, with molded exhaust tips incorporated into the running boards, and the fenders, running boards and splash aprons were molded into one piece. The front doors now have rounded corners, molded hinges, and custom made mirrors with LED directionals behind the glass. The rear doors also received rounded corners, hidden hinges, and the door handles removed. The stock grill shell was stretched and laid back 2-inches, with a custom molded crank cover, fake radiator cap, custom splash aprons, flush mounted LED directionals and parking lights, plus the grill shell now incorporates a 2009 Bentley GT emblem with a custom painted Dodge insert in the middle. The one piece hood was hand made and opens from the front, with the removable hood sides receiving louvers after they were stretched 3-inches and reshaped to match the reworked fenders.
After the laundry list of body mods (not all of which were even mentioned here), the exterior was treated to House of Kolors sunset pearl paint by Sweeney Inc., accented by sassy green, chrome yellow, Orion silver, and galaxy green. The deco style 1935 Dodge emblems on the delivery panels, faux brushed aluminum side stripe with wrap around fire, and custom artwork were done by Chad Chambers of Daytona Beach.
Under the hood you’ll find a GM crate motor, which has been fitted with an Edelbrock intake and carb, plus custom one-off “Dodge” valve covers, and a unique air cleaner assembly that Art built himself. A custom aluminum radiator keeps things cool, while a Lokar shifter selects the gears in the 350 automatic transmission, with the power ultimately ending up at a 9-inch Ford rear end stuffed with 3.55:1 gears.
For the interior Art did much of the work himself. That included the hand fabricated panels, rear mounted air conditioning unit, overhead console, custom orange LED lighting, custom front bucket seats and rear bench seat, rear console, and red oak woodwork on the dash and ceiling accents. The cabin contains creature comforts too, including a tilt steering column, Dolphin gauges, plus power windows, brakes and steering. For the exterior top insert, carpet and miscellaneous interior items the car was taken to Tony’s Upholstery in Edgewater, Florida, where the saddle tan vinyl with orange accents was stitched up.
Most people that haven’t been involved in such an extensive and meticulous build don’t have any idea concerning the amount of labor invested. The crew at Sweeney Inc. put in countless hours on all aspects of the car’s construction, insuring everything came together perfectly. Perhaps the most important aspect was to have a lot of patience from both the builder and the owner, as such an extensive build will surely test your resolve at times. But in the end friendships were formed, and the final results speak for themselves. There is no doubt that Art Martin’s 1935 Dodge Humpback Delivery is a crowd pleaser....and perhaps the best part is that Art gets to enjoy driving it to all the various car shows and cruise-ins. CN