If these trucks could talk, what a story they would tell...
Each summer dozens of Dodge Power Wagons make their way down the dirt road that leads to the Hollister Hills SVRA. If these trucks could talk, what a story they would tell. Flawless paint jobs, bullet holes or perfect patina, each Power Wagon is unique.
History of the Dodge Power Wagon
Dodge built four-wheel-drive trucks starting in 1934, modifying them to suit the Army's whims with one-ton, half-ton, and three-quarter-ton capacities, in a variety of wheelbases and open and closed body styles.
Even before the end of the WWII, all those marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen, who were farmers, construction workers, miners, or sportsmen, sought out Dodge for its rugged, honest goodness, and nearly unbreakable build quality.
After the war, Dodge found itself swamped with requests for the rugged wartime "carryalls" or trucks that they had built — 226,776 of them. The toughness of the Carryalls, the 6x6 WC62/63s, the T214s, and the T234s, were never in question. With four-wheel-drive they were seen as a high-tech bonus, and to boot, they had a 2,000-pound payload capacity off-road.
Responding to customer demand, Dodge engineers got to work on a new civilian truck. The resulting Dodge Power Wagon was not new or original; it evolved through “parts room engineering.” Dodge engineers seem to have spent as much time in the parts room seeing what would fit or could be adapted, as they did at the drawing board. Each component evolved separately and from already existing parts.
Dodge released information to the automotive press that the new truck was to be called the “Farm Utility Truck.” By January 2, 1946, Automotive Industries announced that Dodge had introduced a new vehicle, the WDX General Purpose Truck. A month and a half later, Dodge indicated that the new truck was to be the General Purpose, One Ton Truck. Finally, when sales began in March 1946, with the sales floors being swamped by customers seeking the rugged wartime Dodge, the name had been finalized as Power Wagon.
According to Dodge’s own history, published in 1951 (four years after its introduction), the Power Wagon’s the basic goal was to fulfill needs for a small, fast, powerful, and rugged vehicle — capable of traveling well on the road, and equally as well off the road. “We styled its appearance to be pleasing, but with rugged design points to showcase the driving units, such as the engine, clutch, transmission, transfer case, front and rear driving axles, which all remain the same as were introduced on the military versions.”
Courtsey of Curtis Redgap © 2010; all rights reserved.