Paddy Wagon Project: 1949 Dodge Power Wagon

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“Paddy wagons” have been used for ages by police to transport groups of prisoners. They were especially visible in the 1930s during Prohibition when the cops were conducting raids on establishments selling illegal hooch. The suspects would be rounded up and taken to the police station for processing. This example is based on the Dodge Power Wagon, which first debuted at the end of World War II (1945). It has seen better days, but the seller is optimistic about its prospects for restoration. Another great tip from Barn Finder “Ted”!

The first photo the seller provides is of a complete, working example from the same era (finished in blue). The rest are of the vehicle in question, whose front clip is not snuggly attached and easily removable for the photos. We assume this vehicle was finished by an outside coachbuilder rather than Dodge itself. It’s a ‘woodie” in that the entire rear section and the roof are made of wood rather than metal as it would likely have started with from Dodge. Despite its appearance, the seller says that all the sheet metal that’s supposed to be there is present.

Resting on a solid frame, there appears to be an inline-six waiting to be resuscitated and those engines were standard fair in the early Power Wagons. The seller is unsure of the motor’s usability, so you’ll be taking your chances. Overall, things are quite a mess and if restored, what would you do with it? We agree with the seller that you’re not likely to find another one for sale – in any condition. From Lexington, Kentucky, this police special is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $2,000 – and the seller is open to trades.

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  1. Al camino

    Could they find any thing stupider than this to sell for only 2k!

    Like 4
    • Rw

      They could put you in the back

      Like 3
  2. AndyinMA

    The Titanic is also a project

    Like 5
  3. JohnfromSC

    My first restoration in 1975 was a 68 Midget, and it already was rusted out at the bottom corners of the fenders nearest the doors. The metal on this one looks better now than mine did way back then! Should be a straightforward restoration and these are easy to work on. Parts are readily available. Mine had an aftermarket exhaust header that livened it up a bit. It was a blast to power drift hard into corners and very predictable. Being in my 20’s then,to work on it I never used a jack. They are small and aptly named. I would just power lift a corner and have a girlfriend put the jackstand underneath.

    A new owner should have fun with this one. Only thing I would change is get a more traditional steering wheel if it were mine. GLWTA.

    Like 5
    • TC

      Wow.You had an M-G paddy wagon.I never heard that one.LOL

      Like 1
  4. MW

    This is not a Dodge Power Wagon which were a completely different model featuring 4×4.

    This is a Dodge model known as Job Rated.

    Like 2
  5. Mr Sunshine

    Twenty-five years ago I bought a Dodge “Paddy-Wagon.” It was from the early 1960’s and 4-WD. My intention was to turn it into a “Party Wagon” for livery service, for Bachelor/Bachelorette bar crawls. Outside: Police wrapped “Party Wagon” with fake prison bars; inside: Luxurious leather bench seats, great sound system, and the requisite bar and mood lighting. The condition was far better than this example, and this still did not happen!

    Like 4
  6. Glenn Hilpert

    I’m presently in the works of purchasing a 64 Dodge D100 Town Panel, originally purchased new by a Calif. Sheriff’s Dept. and used as a Paddy Wagon and then converted over (Not much conversion) to a Search & Rescue vehicle. The one I’m interested in is in running condition and in way better shape thanthis current one for sale. A project indeed.

    Like 2
  7. Troy

    Project is severely understating this thing. But if I had it sitting on my property I would do the same post it on the web and see who bites if it sells for more than scrap value its a win

    Like 1
  8. Piros1

    Thus would be an extreme project for a Dodge truck lover. Going to take a lot of money to do.

    I’m not getting where the relationship to a post WWII Power Wagon comes into this as the title states. Other or relationship to one other than being a Dodge and a flathead six.

    Like 1
  9. Richard S. Waldron

    I could see redoing it into a small campervan. Add a trailer hitch then pull your trailer hire to any show/event and have two to show on one ride. If I was a few years younger I would give this some serious consideration following this route.

    Like 2
  10. John

    Clearly a paddy wagon, but not a Power Wagon. The serial number decodes as either a 1948 Dodge B-1-C 3/4 ton with a 217.76 cubic inch 6, or a 1950 B-2-C virtually identical to the 1948. Given Dodge’s practice of titling last year’s unsold vehicles as current year’s model, the 1949/1950 discrepancy is easily understood. The Power Wagon, on the other hand will always be four wheel drive, one ton, and distinct body unlike the advertised Pilot House.

    Like 2
  11. geomechs geomechsMember

    Power Wagon? Looks like a typical custom bodied van to me. Maybe I’m just blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other but I don’t see any 4×4 controls or driving front axle. However, it would still be a neat project. Parts hauler or even a camper. Going to be fun shifting that transmission because you’re likely going to have a straight-cut crashbox. No big deal, just a lot of double-clutching. Going to need a lot of TLC…

    Like 2
  12. Jim

    Here is a picture of my dodge paddy power wagon that I sold a couple years ago

    Like 2
    • Piros1

      You should have kept that one! I dont think I have seen one of those before at least that I remember. That would have been an awesome rig to rebuild or modify to make it yours. My mind is racing out of control with all the possible concepts. I have been watching for a true Power Wagon to build and they have just skyrocketed in price the past few years. Awesome trucks!

      Like 0

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