Rough But Almost Ready: 1953 Dodge Power Wagon

Ok, maybe it will need a little bit of work to get it roadworthy, but this ex-Air Force 1953 Dodge Power Wagon could be one heck of a work vehicle! It’s being sold here on eBay where bidding as I write is at $510 with no reserve. That’s right, someone could end up with this behemoth of a truck for less that $1,000! It’s located in Lenexa, Kansas.

Now that’s a truck! I’m not sure what the hole is for in the bed, but it obviously had a hatch cover at some point. Anyone know what it’s for? Although the paint is in truly awful shape, the metal actually doesn’t look too bad underneath it. Even the frame pictures look good.

Now you’re probably thinking that this truck isn’t made for highway use, and you’d be correct. However, when the seller talks about it climbing hills while it’s idling, believe them. Wait a minute. Idling? This thing runs? For less than $1,000? Yes!

This is truly a frontier type interior, isn’t it. No pansy carpet here, no air conditioning, heck, we don’t need no stinking radio even! And if it gets dirty–hose it out–yeah, my kind of truck!

Here’s that original flathead engine, which as I noted previously, runs. Now, it runs on an auxiliary fuel tank, as the factory one needs cleaning (but it is included and is already removed from the truck. Maybe that’s what the hole is for in the bed? Anyway, a local shop does that around here for around $100, and for another $25 or so they will coat the inside of the tank with something impervious to ethanol based fuels. I know it works, because we had it done to the Austin Marina race car and had no problems with it until my son-in-law blew the tank up by welding too close (don’t DO that, and yes, he was okay). Back to the truck; the seller tells us the brakes are soft and that it could use a new master cylinder. I found one here on eBay for $45. Why not? I keep asking myself that–I even travel to Lenexa on a regular basis for work. Somehow, driving this one back to North Carolina doesn’t seem like a great idea, though! Are you interested?

Fast Finds


  1. Peter R Member

    Looks a bit rough but still close to my heart…

    Like 2
    • Jay M

      Peter, that looks great. The wheels/tires really fill out the wheel wells nicely.
      Beautiful truck.

      • Peter R Member

        Gama-Goat tubeless rims with adapted centers…

  2. Dave Wright

    Not really a Powerwagon but a M37 military truck…….there are many differences to a Powerwagon. These are so solid that the fenders can be used as an anvil without leaving any evidence. Has an arctic cab installed, all parts are available including the soft top and frames if you want to back to that. Good price, fun truck as long as you don’t care about getting there fast.

    • Dave Wright

      Also….original troop seats.

      • Emmanouel

        I have the same tires on mine too, 18x 11 gamma goats on Sankey English military wheels with custom adapted centers. Love it!!

  3. Woodie Man

    Now that truck has the P word!

  4. glen

    This is beautiful, don’t know what else to say.

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    I was thinking M37 myself. The actual Power Wagon had a conventional cab on it and more traditional Dodge gauges. Worthwhile truck for anyone who happens to be withing earshot of it. I wouldn’t mind it but it wouldn’t be all that practical. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be interested though…

    • Dave Wright

      You described it well…….

  6. Dave Wright


  7. JW

    I love it but the wife wouldn’t and it’s darn close to me.


    Had one at a summer camp I worked at for 3 summers. Have always loved these since then. They put a snow plow on it for the winter ski camps. As others have already mentioned, the top speed is right about 45 mph as I remember.

  9. Howard A Member

    Yeah, military trucks are ALL business. That hole in the box appears to be an access hole for an extra(?) gas tank.×200.jpg
    You want something to rattle ’round the farm in, you can’t beat an ex-military vehicle. Like buying an ex-police car for the street. Best of the best. The hard top is indeed a luxury, as most I’ve seen have the soft ( or no ) top. This thing is a beast, the military claims a top speed of 55mph and 6 mpg ( 150 mile range) and at almost 6,000lbs, it will be a handful. Winch is very handy. I think there are still quite a few of these around, and parts are certainly no problem, I’d just think twice before running this old soldier down the road. Great find.

    • Howard A Member

      Apparently, that is where the original gas tank goes, now missing. They are running it off the small tank on the cowl, with a range now of 2 blocks.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        2 blocks? Howard you are forever the optimist.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi geomechs, few here will agree, I’m an optimist. I am, however, CAUTIOUSLY optimistic, ( that saying makes no sense, btw) you couldn’t go wrong here.

  10. DrinkinGasoline

    While in the Air Force, we referred to these (like the Jeep M715 & M725) as “Five Quarters”. Slow, but could take a beating and ask for more.

    • Peter R Member

      M37 is 3/4 ton

      • DrinkinGasoline

        I do realize that….Like the AMG Humm’s, regardless of configuration, are considered HummV’s.
        But thank you for pointing that out. :)
        I gave you the second thumbs up.

  11. Steve

    Looks like the hole in the bed is to fill the leaking rear

  12. Steven

    These bring big dollars when fully restored at auctions like Barrett-Jackson..

  13. Scrapdaddy

    Hole in the bed is an access to the float in the gas tank. Hole in the side of bed is for the fill neck. Here’s mine.

  14. seth karpen

    Glad it isn’t closer to me. Would buy it quickly at that price

  15. John Hess Member

    Yup, drove one in the Army Reserves, Hq. Co. communication section. Had a 1955 loaded W/radios and 3 men, and it idled up the side of a small mountain that present people would require a honker V-8 W/ monster tires. The weight + low gears did it.

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