Dry Western Original: 1958 Dodge Power Wagon 4×4

By Mitchell Gildea

I love American pickup trucks from the 1950s, especially factory 4×4 trucks, and I love Dodge pickups; my dad owned three 1980s Dodge pickups during my childhood before switching to GM pickups. This 1958 Dodge Power Wagon is not only a factory 4×4, it features a period-correct front-mount winch and factory wide-block V8! Find it here on Hemmings in Ottertail, Minnesota, with an asking price of $6,900 OBO.

Though the original Power Wagon (derived from the Dodge 3/4 ton WC series World War II military truck) was introduced in 1946 (as the first civilian 4×4), the first light-duty civilian Power Wagons would not come until 1957. The light-duty Power Wagon came in W100 (half-ton) and W200 (three-quarter ton), and came in pickups, panel trucks, Town Wagon (with rear side windows) and Town Panel (without rear side windows) form. These trucks featured conventional cabs and front sheet metal and the cargo boxes used on the 2WD models. Their 4WD mechanical components (axles, transfer cases and transmissions) were sourced from outside manufacturers. This particular truck is a 1958 W100 model, and is one of 1,456 W100 Power Wagons built for 1958. Overall, this truck is dry and solid, but not completely straight; the hood looks to be misaligned, and the grille bars look to have been bent at some point in its life. The wood bed is also completely rotted, and the wood-bed tie downs will need to be replaced. Otherwise, the truck is solid and fairly complete, needing only a new wood bed floor, headlights and taillights, and comes with a period-correct front-mount winch. The truck appears to have been blue-gray before, and I love the rugged wheels, rear tires, and rear bumper. I would restore this truck similar to this one, but with the heavy duty bumper.

Though Power Wagons usually came with a six-cylinder, this one is factory equipped with the rare wide-block V8. One of 854 built for 1958, this truck features a 318 cubic inch V8 rated at 204 horsepower and is backed by a column-shift three-speed manual transmission. The seller makes no mention of whether or not the engine runs, but most likely it has not run for a while. If, for whatever reason, the drivetrain is not in running condition, I would inspect the drivetrain top to bottom and take the necessary steps to get it running and looking perfect.

Inside, the seat is in tatters, with very little upholstery left on it; the seat appears to have been upholstered in white or gray. Otherwise, the rest of the interior appears to be solid and complete, and would look cool restored in blue with a gray or white seat. I dig the floor shifter, as well as the column-mounted four-wheel drive system. The engine-turned gauge surround also adds an aggressive look, and reminds me of the gauge cluster surround in a 1970s Pontiac Trans Ams. Though this truck is going to need a full restoration, it is a rare piece of machinery and almost everything is here. I would love to see this truck at a car show or cruise-in. What are your thoughts on this rare V8-equipped W100 Power Wagon?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I’d love to get over to Ottertail, Mn. This is the same person that had the GMC RR van. Apparently, this person has a bunch of old trucks. The only thing this has going for it, is it is so rare. Dodge always played 2nd fiddle to Ford and Chevy. Not sure why, they were every bit as good. Dodge pickups were not very popular, much less 4wd ones. While the purists will scream bloody murder, the best thing for this, is drop it on a modern chassis. These were not much fun to drive or stop, for that matter. A lot to fix on this, as is.

    4+
  2. geomechs

    A lot going for this truck. One thing it does NOT is the 3 spd. manual transmission. A 4 spd with granny gears is mandatory. My uncle had one like this except it had the wide box and a 4 spd. It was indestructible although it was ROUGH. We had a ’73 W300 dually with a deck. It didn’t ride any better than my uncle’s. I’ve worked on a lot of late model diesel-powered trucks and they ride better but there’s a lot more suspension problems with those. I’d take this, restore it completely but install a 4 speed. I might be persuaded to take a leaf out of each corner to improve the ride and I’d use it….

    4+
  3. Matt Williams

    Actually that would be a 315 motor not a 318. Beautiful trucks !

    1+
    • Mitchell Gildea Member

      You’re right I meant to type 315 not 318

      1+
  4. DENWERKS

    This is a really neat truck, would like to see this old guy get back on the Road someday.

    1+
  5. jw454

    I believe I recall one like this on the T.V. show Lassie.

    Nice old truck.

    2+
  6. DrinkinGasoline

    I agree with both Howard and Geomechs. If you are going to restore it to drive occasionally and to local shows, then go full boat restoration but for use more often, it would need either or both of their suggestions. Handsome truck though for sure. When trucks were trucks and four doors were sedans.
    (Except for crew cab work trucks of course 🙂 )

    2+
  7. DrinkinGasoline

    I imagine this will end up with a Cummins in it 🙁

    0
    • Stu

      We have a ’58 1.5,ton d
      Dodge with same motor, 4+2, and a hoist. A guy bought the cab to put on his later Cummings-equipped 3/4 ton truck. He said his friend had just done a similar cab swap.

      The motor seems very unique to me. It has those gorgeous free-standing intake runners and valve covers reminiscent of the Chevrolet 348/409 “W” look. It seems the best use of what we have left would be putting the motor in something with an open hood area where it can be seen.

      Any ideas?

      0
  8. Scrapdaddy

    Where’s the front mount winch?

    1+
    • LAB3

      Seem to remember these had a PTO winch although I hadn’t confirmed that.

      0
    • Snunker Member

      Included, but not mounted. There are pictures in the ad.

      0
  9. Rex

    The truck on Lassie was not a 4WD. It was kind of pink and cream, and while I never liked Mopar products that much, I always liked this Dodge body style.

    1+
  10. JW

    I agree this one should be restored to look like the blue one. Very cool !!!

    1+

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