The 1946 Dodge Power Wagon models included a pickup, a chassis cab, chassis with windshield cowl, and chassis with flat-face cowl. (The cowl-and-windshield type was dropped in later years.) The pickup box was of a very generous size. It measured 96.06 inches long, 54 inches wide, and 22.25 inches high, with a capacity of 58 cubic feet. Its floor was made of hardwood reinforced with steel skid strips. External pockets accommodated 234 stakes to help contain taller loads.
The spare tire was mounted on the right side of the cargo box ahead of the rear fender. The chassis-cab and chassis-cowl jobs allowed owners to mount special aftermarket bodies. Many were fitted with nine-foot stake platforms, but tow trucks, firefighting apparatus, "woody" station wagons, and even school buses were just some of the things that were erected on the Power Wagon chassis.
Initial paint colors included Seawolf Submarine Green (the standard color), plus Red, Dark Blue, and Dark Green. The basic paint scheme was to paint fenders, running boards, and bumpers black regardless of cab color, though cab color could be extended to these components at extra cost. Through the years, Power Wagons were available in any standard Dodge truck color.
Early on, Dodge touted the Power Wagon as having a cab big enough for three men. Later, though, the cab was advertised as a two-man cab, no doubt a recognition of the virtual forest of levers in the middle of the floor. A deluxe cab option added vent-wing windows on the doors, a dome light, armrest on the left door, and dual interior sun visors.
The huge grille, massive bumper, running boards, rear fenders, and oversize cargo box gave the Power Wagon an aggressive, no-nonsense appearance. Its winch and knobby military-type tires oozed power. The perception was not far from fact.
The dependable 230-cubic-inch engine had a 3.25-inch bore and 4.63-inch stroke. With a compression ratio of 6.7:1, it made 94 horsepower at 3,200 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 1,200 rpm. The four-speed transmission featured extra-rugged carburized gears.
A two-speed transfer case was an upgrade from the wartime specification. Located directly behind the transmission, it was a two-speed unit with a 1:1 ratio in high and 1.96:1 in low. With the transfer case in low range, the transmission in first gear, and a 5.83:1 final-drive gear in place, the overall ratio was 73.12:1. When the front-wheel-drive mode was disengaged only the direct ratio could be used.
What to call this distinctive new product? Some early Dodge Engineering documents referred to it as the "Farm Utility." Ultimately, though, it was decided to call it the Power Wagon. The term had meaning in the world of trucks. At one time, it simply differentiated a horsedrawn wagon from one that was driven by steam-, electric-, or gasoline-powered means. Power Wagon was also the name of a pioneering truck magazine published for about 50 years until 1946.
See the next page to read about the introduction of the 1946 Dodge Power Wagon.
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