Fire Victim: 1953 Dodge M37

We’re accustomed to Dodge M37s and Power Wagons looking rough around the edges, so the sight of this example wearing a few different colors and looking somewhat bruised isn’t perceived as a big deal. However, it did experience an unfortunate event under the hood which may render it a bigger project than some may want to take on. Find it here on craigslist near North Attleboro, Massachusetts for $3,750. 

Thanks to Barn Finds reader AMXBrian for spotting it. This M37 was apparently being used with some regularity by the seller before a small engine fire attributed to a fuel line sidelined it. The seller references not having time to fix the damaged engine components, so some level of repair will be needed – the extent of which is unknown.

However, regardless of the engine fire, it’s clear this M37 has been rough for a while. The smashed glass, worn interior, rough paint – it would be a project regardless of whether a fuel line let go. But that’s OK, considering the most attractive aspect of these wartime rigs (to me, anyway) is how they were effectively identical to what was used on the battlefield.

There’s little other information provided by the seller, but there’s also not much more to tell. Tread on the tires looks decent, but it would be helpful for the seller to detail any rust he’s observed. Given this truck is in my neck of the woods, long-time use in wintertime (which would be an ideal time to use a truck like this) probably means there’s more than just surface rust to worry about.

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    It’s pretty hard to predict the extent of the damage made by an engine fire. I’ve seen lots that look to be next to a total loss but find that most of it has just a dirty face. I’ve also seen some, where the fire has traveled into the electrical system and really cleaned house. I wouldn’t be afraid to tackle a project like this one. I would likely replace most soft items under the hood regardless. A complete cleaning and a paint job would be in the works. These are nice trucks, albeit give a ride rough enough to shake the fillings out of your teeth. If you don’t mind jouncing along, you can do a lot with a truck like this.

    Like 7
    • LAB3

      A smart guy’s going to do just as you suggested, swap out the soft parts. There can’t be a heck of a lot of wiring to deal with either, then again electrics don’t intimidate me.

      Like 3
  2. larry

    Shoot I’m trying to get $2200 for one in much better shape!

    Like 1
  3. Kenneth Carney

    That’s how I felt when I brought an old
    Jaguar sedan back to life in the summer of ’72. As you mentioned geomechs, the
    fire that destroyed the Jag’s engine compartment was caused by an electrical short that ignited gas that dripped from those god-awful side draft
    carbs that British cars used back then.
    At least that’s what Dad and I figured
    after we towed it home from the car lot
    we got it from. The guy who owned the
    lot gave to me just to get it gone. I took
    a lot of heat over the years for “butchering” that car, but in all fairness,
    there was no internet back then and
    replacement parts were non-existant
    in the Midwest where I grew up. That’s
    why I put a 350 Chevy and T-400 tranny
    in it. First, the whole car had to be re-
    wired, second, there was the issue of
    repairing any panels on the body that
    may have been warped by the fire. If
    the rest of the car hadn’t been in such
    pristine condition, I don’t think I would’ve
    taken it on. It was complete down to the
    picnic basket in the trunk! The engine
    and tranny slid right in and the driveshaft
    had to be made from scratch. I think we
    used the motor and tranny mounts from
    the Chevy to install everything after it was
    welded to the frame. After all that work, I
    wound up selling it to a local doctor for
    $4K and he paid for the cab ride back to
    my house for me and my buddies too!
    Looking back on it, I don’t think I’d try
    anything like that now. With age comes
    wisdom–sometimes!

    Like 5
  4. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I was going to submit this one, anyway, now for your comparison. https://madison.craigslist.org/cto/d/m37-military-truck/6764349649.html

  5. Kenneth Carney

    Hi Mike! Woild’ve bought somethong like
    that to run route 2859 if we were still doing a paper route. The roads, or lack
    thereof, are so bad that a 4X4 is required
    to run it! And for your trouble, you get
    paid $1K a week! Both trucks are awesome but I couldn’t see Sis driving
    one of them to work though! (Much
    laughter here) I can just hear her saying
    no-ahh right now!

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Lol Ken! Feel your pain bud!

  6. BR

    It’s been deleted already. Sold?

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