EXCLUSIVE: 1944 Dodge WC51

UPDATE – We just heard from the seller that this Dodge has sold and is on its way to its new home with a fellow Barn Finds Reader! Our congratulations to both parties.

Military vehicles may be an acquired taste, but there’s no doubt they pack an incredible amount of utility and dirt-simple mechanics into a slightly rudimentary package. Plus, every parade looks better with a vintage troop carrier or weapons rig wearing patriotic bunting rolling down the road. You can do all of those things with this burly 1944 Dodge WC51, offered as a Barn Finds Exclusive by reader John R. The Dodge is a project needing full restoration, but it does run and drive and comes with a clean North Carolina title.

The seller admits that they aren’t very tech-savvy, so they are unable to send us higher resolution photos, but given the asking price and what we can tell from the photos, it looks like a good enough deal to be hard to pass up! They also note that the Dodge has a number of needs, but it also benefits from some mechanical improvements and repairs. Let’s start with the good news: the carburetor has been professionally rebuilt, and the Dodge starts, runs, and drives without issue. Stopping is more of a challenge at this juncture, as it doesn’t have brakes at the moment. The radiator leaks and the throttle linkage is missing some hardware, so the gas pedal doesn’t do much at the moment. The electric fuel pump works, but it’s fed from a gas can on the front floorboards.

These are all relatively minor issues to sort out, fortunately. The throttle linkage is a simple fix, and brakes are brakes. Getting the fuel system connected so that the fuel pump can do its thing is also a fairly standard repair. Interestingly, the seller notes the gauges are in kilometers and the VIN plate features what looks like German wording, but I could be mistaken (I bombed out of three semesters of German language, not exactly an expert). Regardless, military vehicles produced by the likes of Dodge and Jeep found favor with militaries all over the world, so it’s not a surprise to see this.

The good news is the Dodge looks quite solid and fairly un-messed within photos. Despite the work needed, this is a truck that can be used while it’s improved (once the brakes are sorted, of course), without the need to spend hours in a body shop. The paint looks clean enough to use as-is, but there’s a chance it could come back with professional detailing. Overall, this 3/4 ton 4×4 looks like it won’t take much love to return to fighting form, and with a reasonable asking price of $3,800, there’s plenty of room in the budget to get it back to driver condition.

  • Asking Price: $3,800
  • Location: Nebo, North Carolina
  • Mileage: Unknown
  • VIN: 81635557



  1. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    Mit ein bisschen enginejanken und 300HP crate replaztung, dis verrukentrucke a gut projekt becommen could.

    Nicht wahr?

    Like 1
    • oilngas

      I never took German, but I’m pretty sure I understand what this says. Don’t you do it. Leave that motor where it is.

      Like 5
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I definitely agree, but then it’s not my truck. Brakes can be a challenge in that you may have to send the drums and cylinders out for reconditioning. Seals are available but if they’re badly corroded the cylinders may need to be sleeved. This truck would be well served with just a good detailing and upholstery. Fix the brakes of course…

        Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Basic translation:

      Remove the original engine and substitute a 300 HP crate motor, this will be a good project.

      Is this not correct?

      Like 0
      • Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

        Probably a good translation. Certainly the intent, though more like Germ-lish with a tad of baloney…been a few decades since my HS German klasses…

        Like 1
  2. steve

    Dudes John Bizel at midwest,or Pete Debella at Pete Debella jeep parts or Ol man Nelson Nelson jeep in Columbiana Ohio has a ton of NOS for these puppies,,Parts are dirt cheap and made to last a lifetime to include all break parts gaskets wiring and on and on ..Plus if you live in Florida you do not have to display your TAG../easy fix,tons of parts and way to cool for the people..MVPA is the national club for military vehicles.I love my 1952 M38A1 USMC with a matching USMC ,M100 trailer made in 1953….I drive it around town every day.

    Like 1
  3. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    This vehicle was likely made in the 1950s for the United Nations use in Europe, Hence the dual German & French language data plates and the KPH speedometer.

    For obvious reasons, No US vehicles were made new with German language data plates from 1939 to 1945!

    This also would explain the non-US military cab roof and doors, they were likely added by the UN.

    Like 1
  4. Karl

    Well this is what I would be wondering about on this truck. I got into restoring US Military trucks a lot of years ago. In looking at this vehicle my first question is how long since it moved? By looking at the floors and pedal it’s been a long time! In one of my M37 projects it had sat so long all the bearings and ring and pinion in both differentials had to be replaced, THEY ARE NOT DIRT CHEAP! Next came the Transfer case, gears were OK but all bearings shot, full rebuild. Going to need wheel cylinders at every location, new master cylinder and very likely all wheel bearings. It can definitely get back put together but it will likely NOT be dirt cheap!

    Like 3
    • John Roach Member

      I drove it around my property two weeks ago after I got it running. I just set the idle up a little fast because the throttle doesn’t work. Just put it in low gear and ease around. The way it’s geared, you don’t even miss the brakes.

      Like 0
  5. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I did some more research and realized that while this vehicle was indeed created by Dodge in 1944 for the US military, it was probably rebuilt in the 1950s by Dodge, for the UN or a similar governmental body.

    I remember in the 1980s searching for a nice original Dodge Power wagon for a wealthy client in a [friendly] Islamic country. My search led me to a large military surplus company [Sarafan] who said they had quite a few of them, just retired from military use, from a country where rust was not a problem.

    Upon arrival, I saw a long line of very nice original Power Wagons, and my first reaction was it was going to be a hard time picking the best one. On closer inspection, I realized NONE of these great condition Power Wagons would be suitable for my client. It seems that the data plates on each vehicle were in Hebrew! They had been in the Israeli military!

    And no, I couldn’t risk replacing the data plates with US versions. My client was not just wealthy, but very powerful all around the world, and I wasn’t gonna risk my health & safety! I did finally find him a 1956 civilian cab version Power Wagon, probably the finest one available at the time. I shipped it just in the nick of time. It shipped out [inside a container], just days before the US invasion of Kuwait & Iraq closed the Persian Gulf waters to shipping!

    Like 3
  6. Paolo

    This might be a rebuild for the Dutch military.

    Like 0
  7. Gunnar

    VPW (Vintage Power Wagons) will most likely have everything needed to get this thing rolling again. They also have the people that can answer any questions you might have. They might not be dirt cheap but they are reasonable and they have the parts.Also the brake parts can be sourced through NAPA.

    Like 0
  8. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I went to one of the best experts in US military trucks, Nigel Hay, the editor of http://www.milweb.net. This is what he said:

    It looks like it was used by Swiss Army post war ….. hence the plates.

    Like 1
  9. R.Lee

    Well the truck is mostly complete save the lightening process of metal. To bad someone did not do a complete overspray of the whole truck some 30 years ago.

    Looks to have been outside its complete life, which as a military vehicle is very normal. That is why they are cheap to buy on the open market when the military is finished with them. Either givin away to government agencies or bought for scrap.

    Can it be saved? Absolutely if you have the parts squirreled away to save on cost. To restore will take an enclosure, years of time and cash.

    Since they are not making WC trucks anymore and it is a wartime truck, will be the deciding factor. The truck runs and “drives” and only stops with an anchor attached. To the right restorer, maybe 5 on the planet can make the truck 99% and that will be with a lower initial cost. Or fix the brakes hope for the best, keep inside, spray bombs to save what is left of the metal. That may get 30 more years if you fill with race gas and add lead additive. Or go to Steel Soldiers and sell it there.

    Like 1
  10. rumbone Member

    is it sold?

    Like 0

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