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Navy Work Truck: 1953 Dodge Power Wagon

This 1953 Dodge Power Wagon is a former U.S. Navy vehicle that the seller is listing with a generous package of spares to support a proper restoration. The Power Wagon was destined for a restoration that preserved the Navy paintjob and overall patina, with a spare cab and chassis included to address some previous bodywork issues and crossmember rust. The seller is letting this one go in order to complete another Power Wagon project, so it’s listed here on eBay with bids just under $5K and no reserve.

The Power Wagon looks like it just rolled off the base yesterday, but it’s actually been in the seller’s possession for the last six years. He notes that in that time, he actually went through the significant effort of getting the state of California to issue a new pink slip for it and even registered the truck for road use. It has since gone onto the non-op status, which should make for an easier time of registered it for the next owner. Check out that tailgate – you can’t fake that look.

The cab itself isn’t in bad shape, but the seller notes the reason for why he’s including a good spare in the deal: a previous owner cut the bottom of the cab beneath the bench seat to fit an automatic transmission. No further explanation is given, but given the patina is what’s so appealing about this cab, I’m assuming the seller has determined you can cut the replacement metal needed out of the spare. The bed of the Navy can is noted as being in good condition.

Here’s the spare cab the seller is including. An additional chassis is included as well, and this is to address the missing third member of the project truck’s rear axle and a rusty rear crossmember; the spare chassis will allow the next owner to address both of those ills without sacrificing the cool cab. The engine isn’t confirmed original but is the T137 engine prefix for a Power Wagon of this vintage. Bidding seems low for all that you get, and the Navy paint job is a crowd pleaser.


  1. Gaspumpchas

    These are very popular today. Many will put on a one ton dodge chassis and use the oil burner. Nice package. Good luck to the new owner!

    Like 3
  2. Del

    Arrrr Maties. A Pirate Truck ⚓⚔⚙

    Like 7
  3. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    What a cool restoration this would be, and timely too considering what happened on this date in 1941…

    Like 7
  4. redwagon

    Wow. Way more rust than I would have expected for a truck that was likely used only on base. Although the ad doesn’t say where it was used I am thinking that the salt air has really created a ton of patina. Sorry, not my cup of Power Wagon.

    Like 1
    • MGSteve

      ahhh . . . Navy bases often near the water, hence salt air, hence . . .

      Like 1
      • YooperMike

        We landed at Wake Island on our way to SEA in 1965. Lots of 40’s cars. Rusting from the top down. Much worse than the sea/salt air in SoCal. One bar, must have been acouple dozen of us on a C-130. We all hit the bar up. Didn’t matter that most of us were 18/19 years old

        Like 0
  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    It’s amazing the popularity these trucks have had throughout the years, and even what seems to be a resurgence as of late. Some people have talked about repowering these with a Cummins diesel; there’s at least one shop that specializes in just that. What I find interesting is that the engine bays aren’t that big. A 4BTA 3.9 fits without a lot of modifications but a 6B will require a highly modified firewall. For myself the flathead six is all I need; I don’t mind playing the Pied Piper, leading a bunch of self-entitled yuppies, C/W angry expressions and High-Ones gestures down a two-lane blacktop.

    I’m not surprised to see a rusty situation with this truck. Being a Navy vehicle it would likely have been stationed on the coast where that marvellous salty air will quickly turn this into something reminiscent of a bed-wetter’s mattress springs…

    Like 7
    • Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Your last comment is crazy funny, geomechs, and a disgusting visual!!!! LMSAO!!!
      You’re point about the naval bases is pretty much spot on, as a lot of the stuff I’ve seen around Coronado was just as you described but FWIW the Navy’s Top Gun school relocated from Miramar to FALLON, NV. in 1996 and the Marines took over Miramar. Some of the auction surplus I’ve seen here was vastly better than even 8 month-old stuff down there!
      Regardless I’m still looking for one of these on a ranch around here nearby that the owner says “Hey! Can I give 20 bucks to haul tat thing outta here?!?!”
      If you’re gonna dream, dream big.
      And if you’re gonna be a bear 🐻 about it, be a grizzly!

      Like 3
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        You know, if you stop dreaming you die. I wake up every morning with new dreams to add to the old ones. I may never realize them all but at least I had them. I sometimes wonder where some of these guys find them; coming through Eastern MT last September, I think it was in Malta, here’s a guy with four of them in his backyard. They say that Eastern MT and ND have still got a lot of nice trucks from the 50s and early 60s. Then there’s those guys in Sweetgrass who keep bringing trucks down from Canada so they’re still out there…

        Like 2
      • Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Thanks for the encouragement, geomechs-you’re absolutely right.

        On another note: A friend of mine was traveling though southwestern Idaho two years go and tasked his two girls to watch for unusual things. They spotted a leaning building, an old horse drawn hay baler and then the coup de grad, a retired halftrack (not to be confused with this writer, the retired halfRack). Next to it was a similar era powerwagon with a welldrilling platform!
        He found a way to convince the rancher that it sitting in his field for the past 22 years probably meant it wasn’t getting fixed anytime soon, and it’s now in his garage with a Nevada title being slowly refurbished with help from his girls and wife!

        Like 6
    • Del

      I have seen worse Rust on a 2005 RAM.

      Like 3
  6. Karl

    Hey guys I am just about to start reassembly of a 1950 Power Wagon one last trip to the powder coaters and it will start being put back together. For whoever buys this beauty I would be open to questions on where to find parts and how much you should be paying since it’s all still very fresh in my mind. There is unlimited potential here and whoever buys this I hope they treat it as well as it deserves. My email is here and I will help in any way I can!

    Like 7
  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    Here’s one you’re not likely to see very often. I wonder how many they actually built.

    Like 7
    • chrlsful

      this 1 hasa actual ‘hood’. I like the ‘bat wings’ beddah.
      Best to seller/buyer !

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I never noticed that. There were three PWs showed up at that show. I see that the other two had the bat wings…

        Like 1
  8. dogwater

    I just don’t the value of these trucks hot in the summer cold in the winter noisy etc

    Like 2
  9. Johnny

    I started to get one a few years ago. Until a friend of mine. Reminded me how hard the gun truck was on gas in Viet Nam and it stopped qick. They have 5:?? gear ration.Then last year the bug hit again. I saw one for sale and I checked on the internet for a parts catalog. It was outrageous what they wanted for anything and dropped the matter,but I sure other companys are not near as high. They were well built and really tough trucks. With some kind a hard thick plastic fenders on the front,but slow and gas guzzlers.

    Like 0
  10. jerry

    you may see the value here but I’ll tell what these power wagons would go through anything up here the candian army had chev army trucks that were a poor excuse next to the dodge i had a landscape customer who has 6 of these with snow plow blades on them for cleaning school yards, he told me they were miles ahead of new 4×4 3/4 ton trucks that were broke down half the time! he wished he had 10 more of the power wagons!

    Like 4

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