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Ready for Winter: 1954 Dodge M37

This 1954 Dodge M37 pickup is located in Carmel, Maine, which is part of the Bangor metropolitan area. There were numerous military bases in and around Carmel at one time, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this Dodge served an area base before retiring to civilian duty. That might explain the claimed low mileage here on craigslist, where the seller contends the Dodge has under 10,000 miles. 

The seller paints a rosy picture of this Dodge workhorse, saying that it runs and drives quite well. The tires has good tread and 4WD still engages like it should. The body appears quite nice as well. Speaking of the body, the M37 – otherwise known as a Power Wagon – doesn’t show much cosmetic damage at all, which may further substantiate the low mileage claims.

The hinged pop-out windshield is a trick feature rarely seen anywhere else other than rigs like this and split-window VW Buses. The interior looks excellent, with good paint on the dash and nicely broken-in seats. If this Dodge did see military use, it either had very kind caretakers or the interior was replaced once it entered into private ownership. The seller does note the rear wheel cylinders need replacement.

Special thanks to Barn Finds reader AMXBrian for yet another excellent find hiding out in Maine. When you realize how big a state like Maine is, and how many roads remain unpaved, it’s no surprise to see a rig like this Dodge hiding out up near Bangor. The seller says this one will need a lot of TLC; I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem that far gone to me. A slip of the keyboard, perhaps?


  1. Steve R

    Not bad for the price, hopefully.

    It might be better if the write up didn’t mention mileage when the condition of the vehicle doesn’t match the sellers claim.

    Steve R

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  2. LAB3

    Common sense tells me a military vehicle wouldn’t be painted red. True, it could always have been resprayed but with a matching interior color I have my doubts.

    Like 1
  3. Mike

    most of these military vehicles did have low mileage if they didn’t go to Vietnam they were hardly ever used so they sat around on reserve and National Guard bases I have three m37s all of them have less than 20, 000 miles and are in excellent condition

    Like 3
  4. Chinga-Trailer

    Yes, it amazes me that a seller would tout low miles on something this old and cosmetically rough. Even if (and that’s a BIG IF) the low mileage claim were true, so many decades of inactivity are as bad as use, that so much work would be needed to make it safe and dependable. But I guess it’s good that sellers make such spurious unsupported claims – it let’s us know we’re dealing with a potentially slimy type that will say ANYTHING to make a sell, and that being the case, the smart buyer knows not to believe ANYTHING the seller says until it’s verified (and that of course means a personal inspection, test drive etc.) By the way, I’ve owned one of these, mine was the ambulance body and they’re great fun to drive and actually reminded me of the old 1938 Rolls-Royce PIII Limousine I used to drive – very cramped driving position, lots of cranking required on the steering wheel and a very strong leg to make it stop! While I enjoyed it, it will be a totally foreign experience to a younger person who’s grown up where even four-cylinder cars have power steering and brakes.

    Like 2
  5. BR

    You must understand that not all of these trucks were built for the military. Many went to other federal agencies as non-militarized vehicles, ie: non-supressed ignition system, no blackout lighting, etc. I will speculate that this unit is from BLM. Would like a peek under the hood. I used to own a ’55 M-37 myself. Still have the manuals.

    Like 3
    • LAB3

      When I was with the later incarnation of The U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey I remember how the old timers would rave about what the Power Wagons could do. Not sure if they had new ones or military hand me downs.

      Like 1
  6. TouringFordor

    Looks like OD paint under the red in the driver’s side pics. Lots of red overspay on the placards on the dash. Looks like the blackout lights were removed from the front fenders. Lots of military vehicles were repurposed for local governments or agencies and painted to suit.

    I have an M35A2 that was always Army National Guard. Low miles, but very tired. Also many different colors – two shades of OD, Desert Storm beige, and loads of CARC. Looks like a door and windshield were swapped, bcause the color sequence is different. You can never be sure what happened to these guys in their lifetime.

    Like 0
  7. Firebob

    The truck was a West Moreland NH Fd brush truck.

    Like 0
  8. Ken

    The Pennsylvania Dept. of Forestry acquired 100s of these from military use after WW II, then repurposed them to local Fire Departments. Some were military fire service others were pick up truck style converted to fire service by the Fire Depts. The OD Green was normally repainted red or yellow to match the other trucks in the Fire Department. After the trucks broke down or not used, they were returned to the PA Dept.of Forestry. Some of these repurposed military trucks are still in service at PA Fire Depts.

    Like 2
  9. Karl

    I have had two and own one right now, the M37 was a very typical 3/4 ton Dodge pickup of the time. The changes for military service we’re primarily going to 24 volt electrical, waterproof ignition system, adapting the carburator and induction system to easily accept a snorkal for deep water operations. Great flat head engine. I wonder what the seller means by redid the interior? Red paint? And on a technicality this IS NOT A POWER WAGON the Power Wagon was introduced to the public in 1946.

    Like 1
  10. BR

    @ Karl, agreed. And the kicker for me that this was not originally a military vehicle is the absence of that humongous light switch to the left of the steering column. The non-com destined trucks did not have the blackout light switch.
    And the carburetor had a governor between it and the manifold. The electrical and ignition systems were not solely intended to be watertight, but to suppress electrical noise.

    Like 0
  11. Karl

    Great observation BR, I did not catch that until you said this! Good eye.
    BR I have a 50 Power Wagon I am about half way to being done restoring this one is getting a barrel frame build up from zero. Can you believe the difference in selling prices between the M37 and the Power Wagons, I am not sure what the word is but INSANE comes to mind first BR.

    Like 0

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