1942 Dodge Powerwagon: Save It Or Scrap It

1942 Dodge PowerWagon

Reader Bob B just emailed me asking for our help! You see he came across this 1942 Powerwagon that was sent to the recyclers to be scrapped. The owner of the recycling center decided it looked too good to just scrap, so they offered it to Bob for free. All he has to do is take it home. The problem is that he can’t decide if it is a project worth tackling or as he puts it “is a white elephant”. So he has turned to us for our opinion! Do you think this truck is worth restoring or is it going to cost more than it’s worth?

1942 Dodge PowerWagon Dash1942 Dodge PowerWagon Bed

Bob notes that, “It has the original engine and, with the color and star, looks to have seen some use in WW2”. If there are ties to WW2, it could make this truck that much more interesting, but I’m not sure it adds much value. Of course when you are getting it for free, value isn’t as much of a concern as long as restoration isn’t going to be insanely expensive. I personally think this truck would make for an awesome project, but both Bob and myself would like to hear what you guys think of this truck? If it were you would you restore it, find it a new home, or let it be scrapped? I want to thank Bob for turning to us for help and I wish him the best whichever route he decides to go!


  1. Don Sicura

    Without a doubt, this truck has historical significance, coupled with the good condition, it should be restored, especially since the truck was given to him. If the current owner does not have the resources to do the resto, he should turn it over to someone who will do it, vehicles such as this are getting very rare as most have all been turned into Japanese imports. (we won the war, they got the spoils, strange but typical U.S. style)

    • patrick

      If he desides not to go forward let me know as i would take this on as it seems to be missing the doors and roof.If i guess right this truck came with a sheet metal roof.Does it have the over head cam six?They were rated at 1 1/4 ton trucks.Look on the fire wall or door jamb for the I.D. tag with model number.These were never fast but strong trucks.

      • Norm Wrensch

        This is a power wagon which was made by Dodge not Jeep, so it would have a flat head 6 cyl. And I don’t think the over head cam Jeep came out until the 60’s.

      • DT

        Thats a, Kaiser m 715, Viet Nam war era @1968

  2. Jason

    It looks like he is stumbled upon a WC – 21! To me, this is one of the coolest trucks to come out of World War II! This is the open cab version of the dodge military half 10 pick up truck. I have restored much worse. There’s a lot to work with there. It is definitely worth restoring. These trucks were only in production for about six months in late 1941. Most of them are either prewar or built within a few weeks of December 7. Shortly after the United States got involved in World War II the army standardized a three-quarter ton truck instead of half tons. That means that they’re very rare however, most of them spayed stateside during the war. Great find

    • DT


  3. Mike d

    only if you have very deep pockets, and, maybe a museum lined up to take it in. . it is a workhorse from the era. thousands like it, and probably few remain . Did this truck remain in the U.S.? You have to consider this was NOT babied at any time . were any military vehicles brought back from Europe when the war was over ( I don’t know, and I doubt it) It was ” put out to pasture” for a reason, no doubt cost prohibitive at the time, and even moreso today . if you want to do it for ” sentimental reasons” go for it.. otherwise, it is probably worth more as scrap

    • Duke

      Update the mechanics and leave the body just as it is. Would be cool when dropped to the ground.

  4. Howard A Member

    There’s an old saying, like never turn down a free meal, also, never turn down a free classic vehicle. Clearly, the old vet pictured here deserves more than the dishonor of the shredder. If for nothing else, a parts donor for a different project. I don’t think these are particularly rare, but a wealth of heavy duty parts here, or even a yard horse, maybe.

  5. Car39

    Trick question. The price of restoration always exceeds value. If this was a rational hobby, we wouldn’t be doing it. Go for it!

    • Oldstuff 1941

      I turn and look in his (Car 39’s) direction,…and listen…As his voice with reason, experience and Heart speaks….

      I myself have restored worse and never regretted it one minute… Mostly these old Military workhorses were of GMC origin, which makes it a little easier to source parts for… so GO FOR IT !

      • Oldstuff 1941

        Meant to say: most of these old Military workhorses were of GMC …and Dodge origins…brain and mouth work at speeds the feeble fingers can’t keep up with.

  6. Will

    Put any working drive train you have available in it and run it as an indestructible yard truck. It was built to work. let it keep working to earn its keep. Perfect farm truck.

  7. Kevin

    Good that the scrap yard owner has a heart. It is not in bad shape. Take it. Even if you can’t restore it, sell it, trade it.

  8. L.M.K. Member

    Deserves saving…..Bob B, if you can’t do it , list it for sale. Someone else , especially military
    collectors, will step up to the plate….. Get it out of the scarp yard asap….

  9. David Dietz

    Lots of them around. Always has been large collections of military vehicles from WW11 and Viet nam. Might have more value as parts. http://www.vintagemilitarytrucks.com/Flat_Fender_Dodge_Power_Wagon_Page.htm

  10. DREW V.

    Doesn’t have to be a concourse resto, get it running, media blast it, throwon some Olive drab green paint with a star here and there then either drive it, sell it or donate it to the local V.F.W. or other community group and write it off as a charitable deduction

  11. Quinton B.

    Save it and come drop it off in my driveway.

  12. geomechs geomechs Member

    Most definitely worth the time and effort to bring it back to its original glory. It would be a lot of fun plus brings some historical significance. After the Second World War, they scrapped nearly everything. Now how many B-17s are left? How many P-51s? How many–Jeeps? When everything gets arbitrarily scrapped you end up with nothing but a few dusty photos and fading memories of what once was. Fix it; drive it; enjoy it.

  13. Jim S

    Save it! I believe I see some military data plates on the glove box. It’s a little piece of history that can never be recovered once it hits the shredder. There’s a Power Wagon salvage yard in Fairfield, Iowa, http://www.vintagepowerwagons.com
    They could give some good input as to restore or part out.

  14. Jose

    Take it and run before they change their minds. Heck, I’d take it myself if I were there. Of course, I’d probably have to get a divorce first. (smile)

  15. Diavolino

    Someone needs to restore it, and please preserve the original paint and markings. We need to get over the mindset that all “imperfect” paint needs to be replaced. It needs to be preserved.

  16. William H

    Yes, please take it. Were it offered to me I’d have to bring it home even if the wife made me build a garage for it so the neighbors couldn’t see it. Sure it would probably cost more then it will ever be worth to restore it but, as someone mentioned earlier, we wouldn’t be in this hobby if this didn’t wasn’t the case sometimes.

  17. eric

    Better yet snag the CJ10 I see in the background.

  18. Brentster

    I’ve owned a couple of these in my day. They are becoming rare and collectible.

    Older diesel Cummins motors are becoming easy to find and would make the perfect powerplant. Everything was spec’d heavy duty on that brute, axels, diffs, transfer case, suspension etc. This will outlast any 4×4 on the road, work or play. The only downside I see is the lack of cab and doors. I think if you looked hard enough you would find a donor.

    These old girls don’t need much to revive, lots of sandblasting, new joints, some grease and GO!!!

  19. N-JAX-humble

    I would take it, run and just smile as I listen to the lil’ lady complain (Jose). Great opportunity!

  20. Brentster

    If you keep it great, if you sell it – be fair and split the winnings with the scrap man.

  21. Tony

    Well…for me…this would be a no-brainer… Save it. But, if Bob is even having to ask others what they think…maybe it isn’t the project for him, and should be passed-on to others… Doesn’t sound like his heart is in it…

  22. Graham

    That would be a very cool truck restored, or to keep cost down abit, a Rat Rod could be a option. Don’t let it get scrapped because once its turned into a soup can, it may eventually wind up being a KIA, and that would be a crime.

  23. Cooper

    Absolutely save it. Anything from this era especially vehicles from WWII are getting harder and harder to find so it is definitely worth saving!

  24. Jthorpe

    Rat rod or parade special if you can get the original drive train working.

    eiter one would be cool.


    Great original picture on Wiki

  25. Ric Parrish

    We have a large military vehicle club here in Phoenix. Our swap meet and show had a large quantity of cool vehicles. The WWII trucks are getting quite rare, this one would be quite valuable here. This is a special truck, only a fool would scrap it.

  26. Jeff

    I would restore the truck. What a truck! Trucks like this are what makes America great.

    If you want to kick it down the road I would be more than happy to take it off your hands.

  27. Brad

    Gosh, windshield isn’t even cracked. I think it looks horrifying right now, but when it’s all hosed out… who knows? Might be a solid vehicle. Beach cruiser, parade vehicle, or part it out… definitely worth saving from the scrapper…. but hey – what kind of comments would you expect from a group like this? : )

  28. Wiley Robinson

    Restoration isn’t the only use for it. I would think it’s appeal as a restored military vehicle is the most limited market for it. However, there is a huge market for unique off road vehicles. It’s clearly worth grabbing, esp since it’s not completely rotten.

    Even the “Wasteland Weekend” or Burning Man crowd would find good use for this one.

  29. Jonathan S

    I say restore! You are talking to a bunch of car guys with our many projects. But we always regret the ones that we didn’t try or didn’t hang in to. Rarely do we regret passing on a project. It seems really unique, yet not too complicated. I think it has a lot value. I would like to see more photos of the front.

    • L.M.K. Member

      Yes, please show us all more photos ……..

  30. Shawn

    This truck is worth saving no dout about it. The historical importance of these old dodges is priceless. I would be willing to do the restoration for you guys or take it off your hands and still restore it. Owning a piece of americas history is a amazing part as you are keeping the good old years alive.

  31. J.W.

    Yes it would be cool to restore but for me I have to be realistic, I’m 62 this month and I would probably be dead before it got finished if it even did. This one is for you youngsters to take on.

  32. Bob Lichty

    Absolutely worth restoring, the price on these has been going up like mad. Here is a link to an Ohio dealer that has been selling the daylights out of these, he has several pages showing at least 6 or 7 recently sold . He doesn’t show the prices but I think he was asking six figures for a couple of them. Don’t let that neat truck go to scrap, even if you resell as is. http://www.harwoodmotors.com/vehicles/inventory_sold_results.php

  33. Dana A. Crosby

    No doubt in my mind. The price is perfect and the provenance is priceless as well. I would make it mechanically safe and functional and take care of cosmetics as the opportunity came up.

  34. Wayne

    I have always been facinated with any vehicle from 1942 as they represent a pivotal time in American history and the cars produced were in very small numbers. To me, this truck is a major part of our automotive history and should be preserved. I’m not sure it would be cost effective to do a nut and bolt restoration but it should be made to safely be driven. I would use some good old fashioned elbow grease to clean up what’s there and place it where it can be viewed to remind everyone of the sacrifices our fathers and grandfaters made for the freedoms we enjoy today.

    • Rob

      Hey Wayne.. just love those hidden headlights on your Dodge; I’ve always wanted to do that to my ’40 Ford Pick-up, as it sure looks spiffy.. 【ツ】

      And as regards to the start of this thread to scrap or sell, I believe the ‘Majority has Spoken’.. keep it and/or turn it over to the many Military Restorers who have responded. Imao, I’m sure the guy could ‘flip-it’ for more $$’s than it would cost to haul it home.

  35. Chad

    If it doesn’t cost more to restore it then what it’s worth, you’re probably not doing something right :) Of course it’s worth it, if you don’t think so, I’ll gladly take it off your hands !

  36. Chris in WNC

    restore? not me, thanks.

    but I would certainly bring it home and see if it will run,

    if the engine is toast, replacements are plentiful- I’ve got one in my basement right now.

    then I’d get the brakes working, put some used tires on it and drive it around the farm.

    it would be great fun.

    and please, no rat rods……

  37. Auldpheart

    Save the truck or share!

  38. John

    If you don’t want to restore it, you may be able to have these guys buy it from you – http://www.legacypowerwagon.com/

  39. Lee Edwards

    Save the truck. Early half ton Dodges have square civilian gauges. This one has the round military standard gauges. Probably 1942. It looks fairly complete and any number of collectors would be happy to restore it. I have gone through close to 350 vehicles during the last 35 years, collecting, selling, parting out or restoring to keep for myself. Fun hobby and fun people in the hobby. Currently finishing a M5A1 Stuart tank, ready to drop the turret on. Contact me if you need help with parts or info. Keep em rolling. Lee


  40. Adrian

    Save it! Positively YES do!

  41. Gene

    Save it and if you can afford it get it back to as new condition. The old Power wagons were one pulling, neat, rough riding, slow but steady trucks and deserve to be kept in the line of history.

  42. Philip

    Were is it? Did a 40 dodge Pickup in worse shape. It looks complete. Would love a new project

  43. old iron Michael j

    The scrap man willing to save it for nothing should get more credit for doing the right thing here…

  44. DT

    I collect military vehicles,Im a Chevy guy,Mine are all Chevys.Except I have a Borgward military troop carrier.Power wagons were made after WWII.This truck is from WWII.Its a 1/2 ton open cab.’42 is close,maybe older.This is an unusual model,It would go by the nomenclature plates on the glove compartment door.It will have a numerical designation.Sometimes you can get information from the hood numbers.Any WWII vehicle has a cross value to it,you have reenacters,car collectors,Dodge collectors,Military collectors,Military truck collectors,etc.. If you keep it join M.V.P.A. Military vehicle preservation association. For parts check Military Vehicles Magazine

  45. skibum2

    Take this and start on it. You have no idea how tuff these are. Had a 1952 Dodge M-37..I bought it off the original owner (after the gov’t ) it had everything and a few extras too.. after all those years still ran well… amazing piece of machinery..

  46. Wayne

    Hey Rob! Thanks for the compliment on the car. It is actually a 1942 Desoto and the hidden headlights are factory. They only used them in 42 and on Desoto only. They were first used on Chryslers 1941 Thunderbolt and Newport concept cars.

  47. DT

    People are really underestimating the value of this truck.There is a large amount of Military truck collectors,that people seem unaware of.The main value of this truck is to a Dodge military truck collector,but there are other collectors.These vehicles were short run.Say 1939-1946,This particular truck was basicly pre-war . Military trucks are easy and fun to restore.They are more interesting than a civilan car,because of the history it may have,.and the many different jobs these trucks carried out.I have had special interest cars and trucks for 45 years. Military trucks are fascinating,as you restore them,there is the Body work and the mechanical,but there are the military numbers which have history of thier own.Many varied uses and brands from Bantam,Ford,GM,Dodge,Studebaker,Cushman,Kaiser,Plus Many Foreign manufacturers,from mules to 1/4 ton jeeps to huge trucks that have built in bridges,and bigger and many manufacturers that I have forgoten. Ambulances,Tanks,Ducks,Weasles,Bomb carriers, on and on.People are starting to realize that as we are losing WWII Veterans everyday,we are losing these wwII trucks as well.This Dodge is a proud veteran that has served its time. Keep ’em rollin’

  48. Juan

    Save it! It´s not too expensive to restore, It doesn´t need much or just put it in running condition nad sale it to anyone who will do it! It´s a piece of history!

  49. shawn

    Smokeys Off Road can help you make and find the parts you need to restore/save this old glory!

  50. John b

    Maybe was used to build the Alaskan Highway?

  51. 67rebelsst

    Save or let someone save. Great piece of history/

  52. DT

    While it is true that many WWII Dodges did build the Alaska Highway,I have seen many pictures, and some of the trucks in person ,and all the trucks I have seen are closed cabs

  53. Jthorpe

    Josh or Bob B,
    How about an update. Did Bob B take it or not? What’s its condition now? Anymore photos

  54. Chris Londish Member

    Whats the old saying don’t look a gift horse in the mouth take it what an opportunity and it would fit a normal garage, I wouldn’t be able to get to the trailer hire shop quick enough

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.