This One’s Special: 1968 Dodge Power Wagon

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

It’s very rare that I come across a vehicle that I literally wouldn’t change a thing. Ok, I might fix the inoperative odometer/speedometer on this 1968 Power Wagon ‘Camper Special’, but that’s it–I don’t even want to fix the radio that’s the only other thing not working on this great truck! It’s listed for sale here on eBay in a no reserve auction that’s gotten a lot of attention–bidding started under $2,000 and is now over $13,000. This great truck is located, lucky for me, in Sacramento, California, where it’s a little too far to drive home from!

With original paint and only minor surface rust giving it a slightly weathered look, this truck appears ready for anything. I love the steel wheels, wide rims and large tires; and no, it hasn’t been lifted, this is the stock suspension. What a perfect truck! Clean enough that it’s going to draw eyes, but used enough that you can put your hardware store run in the back and not worry about it.

Speaking of the bed, it looks very solid as well. What’s the best way to protect what’s left of an original finish like this? I’ll bet Barn Finds readers have some tips to share; please leave comments as to what’s worked and what hasn’t for you.

While the odometer shows 58,218 miles, as stated above it isn’t working. But the truck can’t have covered much more than that and still look as good on the inside and outside as it does. Again, just weathered enough to be used, but nice enough that it wouldn’t be embarrassing to have anyone sit down. And yes, that long shifter leads to a four speed manual transmission, and the clutch has just been replaced.

While the underside has some surface rust, I don’t see anything that really worries me at all, especially after you folks tell me how to keep it looking this way.

The big block 383 is thought to be original and runs “excellent”. ¬†How can you go wrong? Oh, there are 132 pictures here to look over. If you want one of these big bad trucks, this one is it!

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Comments

  1. DAN

    lol
    they painted top end in the truck, paint can rebuild,NICE!

    0

  2. JDJones

    Great old truck. I’d love to have it.

    5+

  3. seth karpen

    No rear bumper as those were optional then. We had a 1972 dodge ordered like that. Ended up with a jc Whitney bumper

    0

  4. geomechs

    Nice overall. I question the 383 being the original motor though. The 383 became available in the 1/2 ton through 1-ton 2wd models but I thought they could only run through an automatic. I thought that the 4×4, especially with a manual transmission, couldn’t go any larger than a 318. I know that by the mid-70s Dodge did relax that and allow the big engines in 4×4. Of course I seriously doubt that I’d ever want to change that back to a 318; I like the 383 motors.

    2+

    • Grb

      The 383 was available as a special order. I have one in my 69 Crew Cab Powerwagon. With a 4 speed. All matching numbers so this truck could be as well.

      3+

    • Steve B

      Yes 383 with 4 speed (NP 435)was a factory option during this era . One is my daily driver. Engine should be blue though.

      3+

    • geomechs

      Hi Grb and Steve. I stand corrected. Thanks for the info. Obviously Dodge was willing to push the envelope to a certain extent for a few years. I find it interesting though, that in ’73, my dad ordered a 1-ton dually Power Wagon cab and chassis and he could only get a 360, albeit with 4.88 gearing; you could farm with that. In 1975 some friends ordered a similar truck and they could get a 440 with no problem.

      0

  5. JW

    Nice old Dodge and yes too far away for me.

    1+

  6. Guggie 13

    Dad had one of these in a D100 3speed v8 one tough truck , would like to put a slide in camper on this one and go camping in the boonies !!!

    2+

    • Larry K

      Yep!

      0

  7. racer99

    Other than no a/c or power steering what’s not to like? Bidding at $14K and climbing.

    1+

  8. Howard A Member

    Not that there’s anything wrong with newer Dodge trucks ( aside from being serious rusters) this was one of the last “good” ones before emissions laws took hold. “Rattle can” rebuild, that’s funny, but for show only, I’m sure it runs fine. They usually did, right to the bitter end ( body wise, then the motor went in a Dodge Dart, for further abuse) Great truck. Not going to be your new Ram 1500 ( or whatever the truck is called now) but this, in ’68 was as good as it got. It would make a great slide in camper vehicle, for short jaunts, they did have terrible mileage.

    1+

  9. Allan

    Can someone explain the two sticks to the right of the Shifter? I presume one is the Transfer Case for Hi/Low selection, but what is the second one for? Thanks, Allan

    0

    • racer99

      I assumed separate sticks for 2/4 WD and high/low range but I’m sure someone here will know for sure.

      0

    • geomechs

      A lot of earlier transfer cases utilized a separate mechanism to engage the front driveshaft. It was deemed unnecessary to use it as time went on, although large trucks with 4×4 still use a front drive lockout. But, I might add, I don’t think I’ve seen large trucks with free-running front hubs…

      0

  10. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Auction ended at $15,900.

    0

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