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The Power Wagon returns

by Bill Cawthon on

The legendary Power Wagon returns for 2014, ready carry on a tradition that stretches back more than 60 years.

The Power Wagon traces its origins the the 3/4-ton WC truck used by the military in World War II. Dodge built more than a quarter-million of the trucks equipped as weapons carriers, troop carriers, command cars and ambulances. (For more on the history of the Power Wagon, see Curtis Redgap’s excellent article “Dodge Trucks and the Burma Road in World War II.”)


Following the end of the war, returning GIs clamored for a civilian version of the tough 4X4 and Dodge was ready with the original Power Wagon, which was introduced in March 1946. It was the first factory-built 4-wheel-drive truck offered to the general public (while they did offer conversions, Ford and GM didn’t offer a factory 4X4 until the late 1950s).


The latest truck to wear the name is based on the Ram 2500 pickup. It’s equipped with a 6.4-liter HEMI engine that produces best-in-class 410 horsepower and a hefty, and best in class, 429 lb-ft of torque. There’s enough low-end torque to allow the use of cylinder deactivation for improved fuel economy. Mileage is further enhanced by the reduction of the rear axle ratio from 4.56 to 4.10.

The Power Wagon keeps the regular Ram 3-link front suspension and link-coil rear suspension. In order to improve offroad handling, engineers developed the Ram Articulink to provide the needed articulation to the front suspension.


The 2014 Power Wagon has serious off-road chops: it sits two inches higher than the regular Ram 2500, it has electronic locking front and rear axles, skids plates and a class-exclusive sway bar disconnect. the approach, breakover and departure angles are designed to provide the clearance needed when it’s time to tackle the roughest terrain.

The 2014 Ram Power Wagon is designed to be the most offroad-capable truck on the market.

Bilstein shocks are available all ’round and there are 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires mounted on forged-aluminum open-lug wheels.

The Power Wagon can be equipped with a 12,000-pound Warn Winch mounted in the front bumper along with all the features available for the Ram 2500, including a Class 5 hitch, Ram Box and clearance lights.


The Power Wagon is offered in three trim levels: Tradesman, SLT (shown) and Laramie. The SLT comes with a painted billet grille, black headlamps and splash graphics package on the sides of the body.

Ram dealers can order the Power Wagon now. Pricing starts at $45,960 for the Tradesman; the SLT stickers at $50,340 and the Laramie goes for $56,015. All prices include $1,195 destination charges.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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