Dodge Power Wagon: 4x4 Trucks from the US Military

By Prodosh Kundu    20 May,2024

   In 2023, a total of 2.2 million full-size pickups were bought by car buyers in the United States. According to various reports, this included 750,789 Fords, 555,149 Chevrolets, 444,297 Rams, 295,738 GMCs, 125,185 Toyotas, and 19,189 Nissans.

This massive spending, despite high prices, demonstrates the intensity, which is the reason people love these vehicles. 

The American love for trucks is not as ancient as many suppose. Available commercial four-wheel-drive trucks came about after World War II.

In one way or another, each modern truck driver owes a lot to Dodge and the United States Military for their love of trucks.

Four Wheel Drive was born on the Battlefield

The relationship between the United States Army and Dodge dates back to the 1916 campaign against Pancho Villa. Dodge staff cars that doubled up as reconnaissance units impressed a young George S.

Patton. Dodge did not have its own military vehicle until it introduced its WC series for military use in 1942. 

However, Dodge still provided motor transport throughout World War I, besides experimenting with some aftermarket kits for fitting four-wheel drive systems.

However, the WC series trucks were not as fast or agile as the legendary Willys MBs, but they still made a name for themselves in terms of robustness and carrying capacity.

Dodge manufactured half-ton trucks with WC-1 through WC-50 designations and three-quarter-ton trucks with WC-51 through WC-64 designations. The two sizes had 80% part interchangeability, which simplified assembly and field repairs.

The Dodge produced by the company during World War II won soldiers’ respect for its tough straight-six engine that produced 230 horsepower, a single-speed transfer case, and four-wheel drive.

WC was also widely used as the basis for several configurations in World War II.

These included low-profile convertible troop carriers with collapsible windshields and open bed areas, weapon carriers equipped with anything from a M1918 Browning automatic rifle to a M3A1 37mm anti-tank gun.

Sargo trucks to supply frontline units, and radio trucks to ensure communication was kept even during battles.

One of the most notable variations was the WC-54, the army’s regular ambulance, distinguished by its large metal cab and huge red cross.

This vehicle could take four stretchers or six seated patients to field hospitals at up to 55 mph, according to the National World War II Museum.

The Dodge Power Wagon Reinvented the Civilian Truck Market

Returning veterans from Europe and the Pacific theaters after World War II brought home with them an immense fondness for WC series trucks, as Hemmings (an automotive site) reported.

As a result, farmers, miners, construction workers, and other industrious Americans eagerly seized upon these military surplus units in droves.

In response to this demand, Dodge introduced a civilian version of the Power Wagon in 1946.

The Power Wagon has not changed much from the military WC series, according to notes by Motor Trend, but has essentially a 1930-era cab mounted on an existing military chassis. 

Brandt Rosenbusch, who works as a historian for Stellantis (Ram’s parent company), stated that Power Wagon was mainly sold to utilities firms and farmers.

He added that it was extremely appealing due to its capacity for taking rough terrain with ingenuity and pulling heavy loads across streams.

Buying a New Power Wagon

Strangely enough, the original wartime Dodge WC trucks are still on sale. Such strong vehicles are in high demand. According to Classic.com, an auction website, these wagons have an average buying price of $66,000 and may go as high as $260,000 for some.

However, the modern power wagon suits most buyers better. The ongoing model continues the tradition of heavy-duty trucks, built to handle demanding tasks on tough terrain.

The 2024 Ram 2500 Power Wagon: Advancing Capability and Innovation

Ram Motors has designed the 2024 Ram 2500 Power Wagon as a contribution towards its persistent goal of providing advanced and capable trucks that meet the changing needs of customers.

This release is meant to empower it with better capability through its strong body and off-road amenities that make it possible for this automobile to perform excellently in difficult terrain.

The company has also been keen on incorporating new technologies into the latest model in order to enhance comfort, convenience, and safety.

These improvements demonstrate how Ram’s philosophy remains about integrating most current technological developments into their autos. Similarly, being an industry leader is another purpose that drives the production of the 2024 Power Wagon by Ram.

The 2024 Ram 2500 Power Wagon has a three-quarter-ton heavy-duty chassis, a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine producing 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It only comes with four doors and a six-foot, four-inch bed. It has off-road gear such as locking front and rear differentials that deliver greater amounts of power in difficult terrains and a disconnecting front sway bar that increases articulation over larger objects.

The rest of the Ram 2500 line shares its ground clearance with it at 14.2 inches.

While this latest edition can already do anything one could want from it right from the showroom floor, there is always room for improvement.

Jack Carr, who authored ‘The Terminal List', converted his Power Wagon into an all-terrain over landing vehicle. Regardless of the truck you own, be sure to look for old Dodges at military museums and local car meetups.

If you are fortunate enough to encounter a vintage WC or Power Wagon, take a moment to appreciate it and acknowledge its role in transforming the United States into a truck-loving nation.

Conclusion

The popularity of large trucks cannot be denied by any American. The sale of 2.2 million units in 2023 alone, which include Ford, Chevrolet, Ram, GMC, Toyota, and Nissan, is evidence alone for this.

The high price, notwithstanding this trend, shows how much America loves these vehicles.

Contrary to common belief, this passion is not ancient, only dating back to post-World War II, when commercial four-wheel drives became available. This market owes a lot to Dodge and the U.S. military.

 

  Previous article

Maximizing Longevity: Essential Rules for Truck Maintenance

  Next article

Geriatric Care: Maintaining Emotional Health