Dodge Power Wagon (1946-1968)
Designed for off-highway operations, the Dodge Power Wagon was one of the first mass-produced 4x4 civilian trucks. A rugged chassis allows passage through water, sand, and mud. And if these trucks were to get stuck, they are capable of winching themselves out. For decades, they have been called upon for pulling, snow-plowing, well-drilling, and providing portable power to remote areas.
During WW11, Dodge Company produced a series of 3/4 ton vehicles, including ambulances, command cars, telephone installation trucks, and weapons carriers. The Dodge Power Wagon is a direct descendant of these vehicles. Rolling on 7.50" x 6" eight-ply tires, the long 126-inch wheelbase carries a 4.5 by 8 foot cargo box behind the enclosed cab. The frame features reinforced side channels with seven cross-members. Overall length of the Power Wagon is 199 inches, maximum gross vehicle weight is 7,600 pounds.
Drivetrain for the Power Wagon was Dodge's venerable 230-cid valve-in-head straight-six cylinder engine. Output was 94 horsepower at 3,200 rpm, with 185 pound-feet of torque at 1,200 rpm. In four-wheel-drive mode, the transfer case provided eight forward speeds and two for reverse. Weighing nearly 6,000 pounds and running a 5.83 final gear, top cruising speed is about 45 mph. For highway use, the front-wheel-drive is easily disengaged from inside the cab.
The Power Wagon's mobile power source was achieved by using a two-sided power take-off next to the four-speed transmission. Power could be transmitted rearward through the tailshaft or forward to an optional power winch. An adjustable front draw-bar made off-center towing possible. A heavy-duty pintle hook attached to the rear of the frame, aiding many types of pulling jobs.
Through the years, changes to the Power Wagon were minor. Heavier front and rear springs became available, and when fitted with 9.00" x 16" knobby tires, the GVW was increased to 8,700 pounds. The 1950's brought about power steering, 12-volt electrics, and key-start.
In 1957, the original Power Wagon was designated W-300, now sharing its nameplate with the more modern-looking W-100 and W-200 Dodge pickups. The generator was replaced with an alternator in 1961, and motor size was increased to 251-cid. Maximum GVW was increased to 9,500 pounds.
Unable to comply with upcoming federal safety regulations, the military style Power Wagon, with its two big headlights prominently mounted on the front fenders, was discontinued in North American markets after the 1968 model year. They continued to be built for export through 1978. A total of 95,145 Power Wagons were sold from 1946 to 1968,