Grant Langseth's 1956 Dodge

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The car as it appeared when it was offered for sale on eBay in November, 2009
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1956 Dodge Pickup owned and restyled by Grant Langseth at Langseth Body Shop in Minot, North Dakota. In 2015 Grant's son, Gary, told Kustomrama that his first memory of "Sweet Pea" was in 1957, seeing a wrecker backing the 1956 Dodge convertible into his dad's shop; "It had been rolled and was not a pretty sight! I ask my dad what we are going to do with this? His reply, "I am going to build a pickup. Should be great advertising. Don't you think?"" Gary was in the 11th grade in High School at the time and worked with his dad in the shop learning fabrication.[1]


In 2016 Alan Kurth told Kustomrama that he remembered seeing the convertible sitting at Hwy Corners Texaco wrecked; "It was purchased new by Floyd Kielhack, an architect in Minot. His son Steve was a year behind me in high school, I was in the 10th grade. It was Steve's son who wrecked the car. Grant built it in his body shop in Minot. First time I saw it completed I was really impressed by it!"[2]


Grant added a 1957 Ford Ranchero roof and bed insert, and a 1957 Ford Ranchwagon rear hatch for a back window. Up front it featured canted quad 1959 Chevrolet headlights. All body work was done in lead.[3] During the rebuild, Grant kept the stock running gear, including the push button transmission selector. Once completed, it was painted Lime Fire Green, a 1958 Pontiac color. "When the car was done. Wow! Dad was so proud," Gary told Kustomrama. "I said we need to take it to a car show. He said "you like that stuff, you take it." In the fall of 1959 we took her to Winnipeg Mantioba. Canada."[1]


Gary Langseth believes Grant sold the car to a friend in Minot in 1966. He resold it to another Minot native in 1967 or 1968. The new owner had relocated to Washington state in 1962, but had kept in touch with his friends in Minot, and was back on vacation. From Washington it went to California.[1]


In 2016 Gary Bell told Kustomrama that he remembered that Harold Struksness owned it for a while; "He even put a 392 Hemi with 6 two-barrel carbs on it. A guy who's nickname was Blackie, maybe Gary Jacobson, had it for a while. I'm not sure if it even had a engine in it then. Larry Larson spotted it somewhere in California for sale. He stopped by and talked to the guy, who gave hime a line of crap about how it was a concept car that Dodge had built back in the day. Larry told the guy the real story and he wouldn't believe it."[4] Alan Kurth remembers the car being owned by a fellow engineer at BN by the name of Darrell "Bud" Pitts; "Darrell owned the Dodge around 1983 - 1987. I saw it in his garage propably in 1984. He kept the car looking like it was in a jewelry box. he did drive it quite a bit, but only in fair weather. Bud passed away, and his out of state daughter inherited it. I never heard what became of it."[2]


After changing hands and being lost for several years the car ended up on a used car lot in Central California. A biker bought it and used it as his parts hauler. Doug Hall of Doug's Vintage Trailer rescued the old custom from its life as a parts hauler. Doug handed the car off to his buddy Dick Dean for a restoration in 1991. After a few months Dick Dean and his son had restored the car and revived is as the "Sweet Pea".[3] The restored version was changed a little from when Grant first built it it. The stock taillights were replaced with three 1959 Cadillac taillights, placed in each fin. The taillights were mounted on mesh. Also a license plate was recessed into the tailgate. The paint stripe design were also changed when the car was painted.[1]


The car was advertised for sale on eBay in July of 2009. The bidding ended without the reserve being met. November 2009 the car was offered for sale on eBay again. The current owner had found her in the back of a cool car collection where it had been stuffed away for the last 13 years.[3] June 2010 the Dodge attended the NSRA nationals East in York, Pennsylvania, by then it was owned by John D'Angelo from Morganville, New Jersey.[5]

References



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