Dexter & Sarajo O'Steen's 1938 Dodge Pickup
(from Volume 26, Issue 319)

story by Dexter O'Steen, photos by Michael B. Kelly


I started with my first hot rod in late 1976 or early 1977. It was a 1923 Ford T- Bucket with a 390 cubic inch engine that did not run. At that time I was just recently married to my wonderful wife Sarajo, and we were new in our business career so I brought it home and put it on blocks in our backyard and worked on it when I could afford it. I finally got it running and sold it, as I found out I did not have the time or the money for this fun hobby at that time.
Fast forward 42 years later. My wife had been wanting a red 1966 Mustang convertible for quite some time. After some looking I found her one up north and it was delivered in March of 2019. She then encouraged me to buy a 1966 Corvette resto mod a few weeks later, which I had found a couple of hours south of our home. Naturally that was a start of our love of collecting cars.

After purchasing the 1966 Corvette we added several more to our collection, which made a total of 10 at the time, all of which were unique in their own way. A friend of mine who knew that I had started collecting cars called me one day and told me of a pickup truck that he saw at a swap meet in November of 2019 and told me that I should buy it. I asked him some details about the truck and he shared with me what he knew and then gave me the contact information on the truck. I made several calls to the owner at the time, which was located outside of Augusta, Georgia, and found out all that I could about the truck. It was sold on May 23, 1938 in St. Louis, Missouri by Henry Swetnam, Inc. It is built on an Art Morrison Chassis with a Mustang II front end and a 9-inch Ford rear end, Wildwood disc brakes, Prowler rims (wrapped in tires that measure 225-45R-17 up front, and 295-40R-20 out back), an Ididit steering column, Lokar shifter, Vintage Air, and Classic instrumentation. Power comes from a 360 cubic inch Dodge engine bored .030 over to now displace 408 cubic inches.

After receiving all of this information I knew I was interested in the truck, so I decided to take a trip up and see it for myself. When we arrived the owner was very gracious and asked me if I wanted to take it for a drive, and of course I said yes. Here I was in this beautiful red 1938 Dodge Pickup cruising around, and I immediately fell in love. The owner (who went with me on the ride) gave me all kinds of history on the truck and the more I learned the more I felt like I needed to own the truck. We pulled back in to the parking lot and he asked me to step inside to his office where we further discussed the truck and all of its history. It wasn’t long before we made a deal and he handed me the keys and a big wooden box with all of the history including the original title and bill of sale.
I was excited to bring it home and add it to our collection. A good friend of mine who is also my neighbor encouraged me to take a couple of cars to a local car show supporting Children’s Cancer in early March of 2020, which he was going to as well.

I decided to take my wife’s 1958 Corvette and the red 1938 Dodge Pickup. It was a great day with approximately 250-300 cars participating. Both vehicles had a lot of interest and we were not sure how either one would do. When the awards were announced my name was called as Best In Show! Wow, what a surprise for me!

This truck has been one of our favorites in our collection. It is so exciting to hop in and take it out for a ride on a nice afternoon or evening. No matter what the course may be, it will definitely be a lot of fun! CN