Introduction of the 1946 Dodge Power Wagon
The introduction of the 1946 Dodge Power Wagon to the open market came with these words: "The Dodge Power-Wagon is without competition. No other truck manufacturer offers a model that is at all comparable. The Dodge Power-Wagon was designed and built to meet a definite need. It is a vehicle built for continuous operation under extreme conditions. Four-wheel-drive gives it tractive ability for off-the-road service that would stall an ordinary truck. It takes you places you wouldn't expect any truck to go."
At a base price of $1,627, the Power Wagon cost $551 to $591 more than a conventional Dodge two-wheel-drive one-ton pickup, a substantial difference back then. However, the division constantly emphasized the fact that the Power Wagon was unique as a result of its four-wheel-drive capability and ruggedness that made it as at-home off the road as on. Dodge sold the Power Wagon on three premises: It could be used for pulling, as in a tractor pulling a plow; portable power, as in running a saw; or carrying, as a truck carries a load.
Available towing apparatus started with a simple extra-cost pintle hook, a heavy-duty unit mounted on the frame's rear cross member. Another option was a draw bar that could be easily adjusted to different heights and made off-center towing possible. With the aid of these two towing devices a customer could perform many types of pulling jobs with a Power Wagon.
Beginning in 1949, the Monroe Auto Equipment Company of Monroe, Michigan, manufactured a hydraulic lift kit and a complete line of agricultural and road-building tools for the Power Wagon. The lift kit consisted of a hydraulic pump and valve unit mounted on the front of the engine, a three-point implement hitch located at the rear, and a control lever installed in the cab.
The available implements were a plow, cultivator, rotary hoe, terracing blade, harrow, hydro grader, land leveler, a lift-type scoop, earthmover, buzz saw, posthole digger, spring-tooth harrow, and double-disc harrow. Dodge advertised that the Power Wagon could easily pull a three-bottom 14-inch plow and encouraged farmers to use the Power Wagon in place of a conventional tractor for all of their farming jobs.
Dodge was not alone in competing for farm tractor business in the early postwar period. Jeep had the Agrajeep that featured a three-point one- or two-bottom plow, drag, and disc. Crosley introduced the tiny Farm-O-Road in 1950. It had six forward speeds and two reverse for plowing and other farm operations. It retailed for around $800 but not many were sold.
The Power Wagon's ability to serve as a portable power source was due to a two-sided power take-off next to the transmission. Power could be transmitted forward to the winch or rearward through the tail shaft. The power take-off operated at 61.5 percent of engine speed when its rotational direction matched that of the engine and 47.5 percent of engine speed when rotating in the opposite direction. The rotation was controlled by a single lever inside the cab. The tail-shaft was used to power a pulley drive mounted on a pillow block at the center of the rear cross member.
An extra-cost mechanical governor was offered to control the speed of auxiliary equipment powered by the tail shaft or pulley drive. The governor was belt driven from the water pump shaft and had a speed control setting inside the cab. It was available only as a package with another governor built into the carburetor to limit engine speed during on-road operation.
Engine-cooling features were designed to assure proper cooling when the truck was being driven slowly or while operating stationary equipment. They included a partially shrouded 19-inch diameter six-blade fan and a radiator that, at three inches thick, was .5-inch thicker than normal. A radiator overflow tank was available at extra cost.
For more on the Dodge Power Wagon in the 1940s and 1950s, continue to the next page.
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