Power Restored: 1946 Dodge Power Wagon

Power Restored: 1946 Dodge Power Wagon

If last week's spy photo of the 2010 Dodge Ram Power Wagon got you excited about Chrysler's continued commitment to building extremely capable off-road pickups, you may want to strap yourself down for this truck: a fully-restored 1946 Dodge Power Wagon.

1946 was the first year a civilian version of the Power Wagon was available, though it still looked ready to support troops on the battlefield, just as its military-spec cousins had done during World War II.

The regular cab pickup with an 8-foot cargo box was based on Dodge's three-quarter-ton WC chassis. It rode on a 126-inch wheelbase and featured a 94-horsepower, Mopar 230-cubic-inch flathead six-cylinder gasoline engine, a two-speed transfer case, a four-speed manual transmission with dual power take off (that could send power to the front and back of the truck for operating auxiliary equipment) and big 9.00-16 eight-ply farm tires mounted on 16x6.50-inch five-stud wheels. Rear axle choice was limited to either a 5.83 or 4.89 final drive ratio — perfect for hauling heavy loads or pulling a plow through the field, but a handicap on the highway, where the top speed was only about 50 mph. The one-ton Power Wagon's maximum gross vehicle weight rating was 8,700 pounds. Its maximum payload was 3,000 pounds.

1946 Dodge Power Wagon interior

The rugged four-wheel-drive Power Wagon cost $1,627 when it went on sale, about $550 more than a regular two-wheel-drive one-ton Dodge truck. It was originally marketed as a three-passenger pickup, but the floor-mounted gear and transfer case shifters in the center of the cab made it practical for only two people.

Dennis Midyett of Fanatic Automobile Restoration in Azusa, Calif., rebuilt the Power Wagon for its latest caretaker, Chris Lofthouse. Lofthouse is president of Phoenix Decorating Company, the largest builder of floats for the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

1946 Dodge Power Wagon flathead six-cylinder engine

Midyett said the Power Wagon served dual roles as a family-hauler and tow truck before it was purchased by Lofthouse.

The Power Wagon was on display Sunday at the 2009 Art Center Car Classic at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, from which many of the automotive industry's leading designers have graduated. It was one of only two pickup trucks on the field amid an incredible collection of rare and high-end production cars and one-of-a-kind concept and custom vehicles. Among these priceless collectibles, the Power Wagon's hulking green figure and 10,000-pound winch looked strong enough to single-handedly yank the U.S. out of its multi-trillion-dollar recession.

The 2010 Dodge Ram Power Wagon has some big shoes to fill.

1946 Dodge Power Wagon


It that doesn't get you excited about trucks no matter what brand you like then you don't deserve to be on this website. And I am no Dodge man.

They need to start making Retro pick-up trucks that have styling from this Power Wagon. What a great looking truck.

How was the engine considered ok in the truck,but unacceptable in a car? Yes,gearing was different,but still,these would have been giant beasts with a larger engine,and they wouldnt need to have geared them down so low.

Wow, what a beatiful truck! Now if only it had a Cummins diesel in it and not a gasser....that would be great! Cool truck none the less.

yeah thatd be tight to have a retro styled modern truck..looking like this

I agree - this is what a truck should look like. Bare bones, fenders and all. I have a Ford Ranger step side that is the closest you can get to this. It's ashamed someone does not go back to the roots more and offer a real truck much more like this. I would buy two.

It doesn't get me excited because I can't get a 1946 Power Wagon. My cousin had 1 and it was wild!

All you see here is selling a fantasy! The fantasy of the 2010 Dodge Ram renamed Power Wagon!

The 2010 will never ever come close to the 1946 Power Wagon in load carrying, off road capabilities and longevity.

Sell the Sizzle not the Steak strikes again.

That is the best damn truck ever built, no one can match it. It screams "tuff truck". This is what a pick up truck should be. No nanny heated and cooled seats, etc.

It's not that the old power wagons are better. They were never comuter vehicles. It is the thing that Power Wagons were gravel road machines, open field machine, fireroads, no problem. Need to get a job done? They got it done. I have seen them with barely manageable loads swimming in mud to the runningboards. Not a problem. One cannot forget the cold days of winter and the square tire hump and chain slap of a Power Wagon.

I own a '49 PW- you'll NEVER text & drive this truck! I added front disc brakes and modified a Toyota 4WD power steering box to fit, and will be trying out radial Yokohama truck tires on the original rims. The major challenge in driving is double-clutch downshifting- upshifts are easy. 30-35 MPH @ 2000 RPM is about the most fuel efficient mode- 45 is top speed with the 5:89 rear gear, and the noise at that speed just about requires earplugs. The most efficient repower is the Cummins BT-4 4cyl Diesel- it can get about 25 MPG, and 65+ MPH with some gearing changes.

Here's a '47 on exhibit at the world's largest truck stop at Walcott, Iowa on I-80- http://www.flickr.com/photos/texas_hillsurfer/2261692237 .

I have an identical '50 PW, in almost as great shape, and whenever I drive it to town or just putter around it never fails to draw people over to look. The raw power and businesslike design are unmatched. I honestly think if someone were to buy the rights to this model and manufacture it they would have a good selling no nonsense truck to offer the many people who would love to own one. I'd enjoy hearing from other DPW owners of these series.
Robert Garthwaite

I think I can show you a man who loves the Dodge Power Wagon more than any of us.


Mike you need to do a report on this guy and his amazing "truck"

I hope will get more information about this car.

M. Amaya

Ok, now I am really curious. I own a 1946 Power Wagon, serial # 39. Mine was purchased new by my grandfather who drove to Detroit to pick it up and brought it back to Washington. My Uncle owned it next and he and I had it restored to original. Now it is in my care. I even have the origianal bill of sale.

What is the serial number of this truck? Anyone have any ideas?

This truck serial# is 517

very nice i have a fifty with a 241 red ram hemi

Beautiful! I love the original Power Wagons.

Makes me proud to own my 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon.

Looking for a buyer for this great power wagon. 6x6 with most parts still in its a great project truck. Go have a look.

If interested email me.

When I was young my dad got an old Power Wagon. I dont even know the yr and he doesnt remember. I think in the 40's. He had tire chains on the front. I remember pushing snow up and over the hood and still going. Back up and there was a perfect imprint. He went thru mud and it looked like 4 sets of tires,where the differencials drug. I need to find an old picture. I want to get one again.

I would love to have one!!!

Is it for sale?

Please say yes.

Thank you and have an awesome daay.

Peace and Blessings,

Jeff Ortega
Nashville, TN

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