Rough And Ready: 1961 Dodge M37

Dodge M37

The rugged Dodge M37 will be a familiar sight to many, especially Army veterans of the Vietnam War era. It is a 3/4 ton truck built for the US Army from 1951 to 1968 as the successor to the WWII era Dodges that became the basis for the civilian Power Wagon. The M37 shared many components with the postwar Power Wagon, including its engine and drivetrain. Vehicles built from 1958 onward were labelled as M37B1, and had a number of design improvements over the earlier model. Altogether over 115,000 M37s and M37B1s were made and quite a few of them were redeployed for civilian use after their military service ended, you don’t see them often anymore.

Dodge M37 front

Weighing almost 6,000 pounds empty, with an engine designed in the 1930’s that makes only 78 horsepower, these trucks are not suited to high speed driving, but with four wheel drive and big wheels and tires, they are workhorses for farm and ranch work.

Dodge side

This 1961 M37B1 still wears its Army numbering and insignias. It’s for sale here on craigslist in suburban New Milford, Connecticut (less than two hours from NYC). The seller says it runs and drives well. He was using it to haul wood until he had trouble with the master cylinder and now the brakes don’t work. He has records for all the mechanical work that has been done recently to the truck.

Dodge rear

The seller says he has the metal parts to the bed cover, but that the oak sides are rotted (and no mention of whether he has the actual canvas cover). From the pictures, it appears solid and relatively rust free, although the interior looks a little rougher than the exterior, and there are no pictures of the undercarriage.

Dodge steering wheel

It would be fun to know the history of this truck. Where did it serve, and when was it released from military duty to civilian use?

Dodge dash

Hopefully a Barn Finds reader will be able to decode the numbering on the truck.

Dodge M37 engine

This old M37 is still registered for road use in Connecticut, and the seller is looking for offers or trades. What is this solid, driveable example of American military history worth? Will someone here be willing to take it on?

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Comments

  1. DREW V.

    From Jay Leno’s garage…
    https://youtu.be/0c68L_tieVs

  2. Heath

    We had one on our farm, my father replaced the original drivetrain with a 360 and automatic. It was a blast to drive and had a lot of power even with the extra weight. This is the only photo I could find, was moving an airstream to a different shed circa 1988.

    I’d love to have another one….

  3. RoughDiamond

    Would love to have this just to putt around in. Must be awkward and painful shifting it without a gearshift knob.

    • John Adams

      HA HA I was thinking the same thing

  4. 1969Deuce

    “… I have around $6,-7,000 into this in total, I don’t expect to get my money back However, I really mean serious offers…”

    The seller has a very realistic pricing outlook but he should get $5K – $6K in this area. The truck is a B1 (door mounted tire), quite original, has many detail parts that cost a small fortune to buy piecemeal. (e.g. the antenna and mount).

    I would cleanup/touch up, replace some troop seat wood, and show as is. It’s a very nice survivor. Reminds me of mine when I got it.

  5. Matt Tritt

    I drove one of these buggers frequently while stationed in Germany in the mid-60’s. They’re great trucks, except that opening the driver’s door with the truck even slightly leaning down to the right (which is how most roads are built) is almost an impossibilty. The good thing about that spare hanging on the door is that it “can” slow down bullets. The main problem with those things is that the location and angle of the clutch/brake pedals requires the driver to position their legs angled to the sides in a very un-natural way, so as not to hit the dashboard with your knees. Everyone who drove them will remember this, I’m sure. Even understanding all that I’d still love to have one.

  6. Jim

    Cool truck, there is enough room under the hood for a Cummins out of a pickup, a gear ratio change would make it more highway friendly, although I wouldn’t try to set any records, it was built to haul not haul ass.

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