Ran After 50 Years: 1952 Dodge Power Wagon

Power Wagons already have an allure to them that suggests they will run when nothing else does, or charge towards an enemy while being pelted with gun fire. The connection to the military and generally “overbuilt” appearances – not to mention the name, Power Wagon – all suggest that this should be one of the toughest trucks on the planet. In the case of this example, that reputation may hold some truth to it, as the seller claims it still fired up despite not having run in 50 years. It still needs more work, but I doubt it will need much love to run reliably again. Find it here on eBay in Oregon where bidding is over $14,500 but the reserve remains unmet.

Now, I’m curious as to whether the Power Wagon still runs, as the seller’s reference to it running last year indicates to me that the last time it ran was more than a few days ago. I could be wrong. The seller does note some work has been undertaken, with the engine benefiting from new points, plugs, and coil, but that it “…still needs more work.” Fortunately, the body won’t have to be a part of those efforts, as it still looks quite clean from end to end, with no major rot to report. Living in Oregon will do that for you, as it seems like the Pacific Northwest is able to preserve vintage vehicles far longer than any other region.

The interior is rough and the bench seat is basically non-existent; however, that’s not a heavy lift for the next owner. And given these Power Wagons were not purchased for comfort, I’ll bet you could retrofit any number of bench seat cushions from other makes in there and not notice the difference. One big project that’s already done is the truck’s long bed, which the seller notes has had new metal and wood slats installed in it in the last year. It does look good in pictures, and that’s a big job the next owner won’t have to worry about. The gauges and dashboard appear to be in good shape.

The last known registration is dated 1969, so this Power Wagon has been dormant for some time. The seller notes that despite this long-term slumber, the clutch and winch still work, but that brakes are non-existent. The fact that the reserve remains unmet surprises me, as the current bid seems fair for a Power Wagon that still has some needs – but I haven’t been following this market particularly closely. I suppose the originality and lack of rust are big reasons to buy this particular truck, along with the likelihood it wont’ need much work to run again. However, if you’re not within driving distance to Oregon, I don’t want to think about the tow bill. d

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  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    These are the icon of hardworking, work focused trucks-with a 5.83 rear end mates to a 94HP engine you definitely won’t get a speeding ticket (well, MAYBE in a school zone in normal times..) but it’ll pull redwood tree stumps if you’ve got the traction!
    Love to have this truck but when you can buy a good runner with a decent interior for a few thousand more than what the bid is now, you gotta think they might be a little high….

  2. Howard A Member

    It’s been said, the only things that will survive a nuclear blast, are cockroaches, and vintage Power Wagons. And rightly so. Seeing what these vehicles were created for, imagine the stories in Power Heaven. Today, with the decline of everything we old farts hold dear, a truck like this doesn’t have much of a calling, as is.

    • Howard A Member

      Power WAGON Heaven

    • half cab

      Don’t forget possums 👍😁

    • Eric B

      And old Toyota pickups.

  3. Fred W

    Theory on why the engine would not be locked up after 50 years:

    1) the not exactly tight clearances and worn rings gave the cylinders a nice coat of oil

    2) the oil bath air cleaner kept humid air from entering the cylinders and crankcase

    This may be exactly the vehicle needed for troubled times

  4. JimmyinTEXAS

    $14,800 and reserve met this morning.

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    These old Power Wagons had a presence. It seems that they’re oozing out a lot of corners to this day. Of course, I’m not complaining because I rather like them and would have a problem turning one down if it wandered into my neighborhood in search of a good home. I have to admit that I didn’t see a lot of these out west at first. The evolution of 4×4 in the ranching country began with surplus Jeeps then were joined by International, with Ford, Chevy, and GMC following close behind. Dodge kind of trailed behind for some reason. Interestingly enough, at that time (’50s) my uncle was the Chrysler dealer and he was aggressive. Of course, he and Dad locked horns quite a few times which led to a lot of Binders and Chevys at the ranch.

  6. dogwater

    I just don’t see the interest in this old junk, good for riding in at a parade throwing candy. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter. no gas mileage.

    • Mark

      We understand, some people just don’t appreciate nostalgic/classic vehicles! Certain old vehicles, this power wagon being 1 of them, have a distinctive charm that is appreciated by many.

  7. Gator Member

    One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Personally, I would get this gem back to full working and driving condition and make it my around the county daily driver. Cold? Yeah. Hot? Yeah. Friggin cool? Definitely!!

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      Another way to put it… Cold, only if it is cold outside. Hot, only if it is hot outside. Cool, every single day no matter what the weather is.

  8. BlondeUXB Member


    “Price goes up when the top goes down”

    The military variant, M37 Cabriolet sells for a fraction of the civilian coupe…

  9. CJinSD

    How cool would it be to have this to drive around while gas is free? I’d be surprised if an EMP could stop it too.

  10. Gator Member

    When the bad stuff happens, this Power Wagon and my 46 CJ2A will be just some of the very few machines still running.

  11. Chas358 Chasman358 Member

    Dependable Mopar flathead 6 – if you can get it started on rainy days. :-)

  12. Mark C

    The wife’s uncle has one of these. Not sure the exact year, but pretty similar to this one. I think he said top end is around 40mph. Cool rig, however.

    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Most of the ones I’ve looked at have a placard on the dash delineating the top speeds per gear selection with “55” denoted for 2wd high range..🤣
      That’s as optimistic as the 80 MPH speedometer!!

  13. Dave Mazz

    This old beauty brings back memories..I In South Carolina, in the US Army, on field maneuvers, when I was ordered back to Ft. Eustis, VA. They even sent a light plane to take me back which was a little odd since I was only a 2nd Lt. However, the weather was crappy and the pilot couldn’t get clearance to take off and I had to get back, so I hitched a ride on an M-37 (the military version of the Power Wagon as noted) that was heading back to Ft. Eustis, About half way thru the trip, the M-37 started to lose power and then suddenly stopped running…..power went to zero in about 10 seconds… so my driver coasted over to the shoulder and we popped the hood to see what we could see. It took the driver about ten seconds to spot the problem….it was the fuel pump…..missing in action…..like completely gone!! About this time a NC State trooper pulled up to see what the problem was and when informed of the AWOL fuel pump, he told us there was a Dodge dealership neaby and maybe they could help. I told my driver to stay with the 3/4 ton, (that’s what we called it then) and the trooper drove me to the Dodge shop where I bought a replacement fuel pump, and they threw in new nuts and lock washers. The trooper took me back to the dead 3/4-ton and we bolted on the new fuel pump and we continued on our way As we pulled out into traffic, I asked the driver if this sort of thing happened often, and he said no, but that I was kind of lucky.
    “You could have been in the plane they sent for you, and *that* fuel pump could have fallen off.” :-) :-)

  14. chrlsful

    1 round here somewhere w/ the chain drive 4 da sno (no drive shaft).
    I seen it at the local mud pit put em all ta shame.
    Skids logs out the woods & swamps to the local mill 3 – 6 d/wk, 7 cold months of the yr.
    DD it is NOT. We’re too modern for that.
    But there were some (back inda he-man/she-girl daze)…

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