OhAs we spotted Sasha Swanker’s slimmed ’69 Dodge pickup at the Harrigan’s Rod & Custom Show in Calypso Bay, Queensland, we had to learn more about the turbocharged Hemi hiding under the bonnet. Sasha was more than happy to let us down.
I was first published. Street Machine Yearbook 2022
Sasha, her partner Jasmine Collins, and Dodge at the 2022 Harrigan’s Rod & Custom Show
What sparked your love for cars?
I’ve always had a soft spot for the classics. My first car was a 1963 Ford Falcon XL Wagon. It was a perfect little surf wagon. I put whitewalls on the stock rims and drove it to the ground, and cruised for three years until I had to sell it to buy work equipment. Ever since then I’ve been obsessed with old white steering wheels and 60s cars!
How did you get to pickup?
I knew I wanted an Australian steppe side, but they are almost impossible to find. Most Dodge trucks came out with factory flatbeds for farmers. I was out scoring gum trees one Friday night and came across an AT4 in an ore farm. I immediately messaged the owner and gave him the money the next day.
What condition was the truck in?
It was a death trap. I made it 100 meters down the road before I turned around and called a tow truck! That’s when I realized it needed a complete overhaul.
Do you have any plans to build?
I wanted it to be airbaged with a restomod look. I took it to Rob from RidesByCom and told him I was after a smooth cruiser with power on tap that could still spin the wheels. From there, they were free to do whatever they wanted. The guys cut and marked the rear end and boxed the original chassis. They also added a new nine-inch and a four-inch to handle the power. We got ’em all with the 3P AccuAir system, which I can preset to any height or pull out when I go to the show.
Tell us about the engine combo.
Rob had a Hemi that he had just taken out of a Chrysler 300C. We hit it off with a performance tune and I ran it like that for two months. I decided it needed more power, so I took it to a colleague of mine who is in the drifting world. He custom built the turbo system, all lines and exhaust by hand.
We thought the paint was a wrap when we first saw it.
This is the original patina! Choke shed has 20 years of bad paint and sunlight. Its owner, Choze, did a backyard sprayer in 2002. Over time the red paint oxidized through the blue, creating this cool contrast of colors. Rob convinced me to let him clean it.
What was Harrigan like?
It was really good. It was great to see other custom trucks and different types of stacks out there. It’s always a great feeling when you pop the bonnet and everyone stops to see and admire the build. I was also delighted to take home an award.
Any future plans on the cards?
I’d love to build another Dodge or International as an open-wheel, F1-inspired rat rod. I want something that is totally funny and different! It’s just a matter of finding a truck with the right body shape.