The final step leading to the 1946 Dodge Power Wagon came when the T207 series was superseded by the T214 trucks. Rated at ¾ ton, the T214s were wider and lower for more stability than the T207/211/215 models provided.
They were sturdier, too. Simple cantilever front fenders were carried over from the previous military truck design, but their outer front corners were now slightly rounded off. The hood and top of the radiator grille sat lower and flatter, especially on open-cab models, and shallow hood side panels each contained six horizontal louvers.
A host of body types from command cars to ambulances was offered on wheelbases of 98, 114, and 121 inches. The powertrain consisted of the 230 six, unsynchronized four-speed transmission, and a one-speed transfer case. Tires were 9.00×16 eight-ply high-flotation type. Between 1942 and 1945, Dodge built 255,195 T214s.
With Allied victory over the Axis powers came the return of civilian car and truck production in the U.S. Dodge engineers and the company's marketing group saw a ready market for the versatile, rugged, go-anywhere truck they had created for wartime use.
Better yet, from their perspective, they could produce it at very low cost because the bulk of the engineering development costs had already been paid for by the huge government orders for the military trucks that Dodge had built.
Though nominally rated at one-ton capacity in its postwar form, the ¾-ton military truck's chassis didn't have to be redesigned for peacetime service other than to stretch the wheelbase to 126 inches. (This roughly split the difference between the 120- and 133-inch wheelbases used on Dodge's two-wheel-drive one-ton trucks.)
Like everything else, the ladder frame was built extra heavy and extra strong for hard usage. Side rails featured inside channel-type reinforcement. There were seven cross members, the front one being fully boxed. Fully floating axles were used front and rear, as were semielliptic springs -- 11 leaves in front, 14 leaves in the rear. Double-acting hydraulic shock absorbers were standard only on the front suspension, but were optionally available for the rear.
Military trucks had used two different frame lengths, the longer one extended at the front to accommodate a winch. However, Power Wagons came only with the long frame even when buyers opted not to order their truck with the Braden winch that was a factory option.
The cab and interior designs dated to 1939 and were carried over mostly unaltered. Cowl-mounted parking lights, a change made to civilian-market Dodge trucks in 1941, were picked up for the Power Wagon. Fenders and the six-louver hood sides were retained from the wartime T214, but larger headlights were mounted farther away from the grille.
The top panels of the hood and the top of the radiator surround were taller and more rounded than those of the T214. They came from a three-ton cargo truck Dodge had built for the Chinese army during the war. The radiator filler cap perched on top of the radiator. The massive grille was fashioned from heavy round steel bars. Trucks built without a winch got an additional section of this grillework to protect the lower portion of the radiator.
Front bumpers (there was no rear bumper) were also military style. A two-piece unit linked at the top by an angle-iron reinforcement left a gap for the winch cable to be played out. A deep, broad one-piece bumper was standard on trucks built without the winch.
See the next page to learn more about 1946 Dodge Power Wagon models.
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