Curbside Classic: 1968 Dodge W200 Power Wagon Pickup – Powerful Good Pea Soup

Behold the mighty Power Wagon! Nothing can stop it, although it did stop here on this corner a few blocks from my house recently. Perhaps only CC can stop it? Even if it moves on, we will freeze its appearance here for…as long as the CC archives still have a home somewhere. Will that still be the case 50 years from now? Will this actual steel and rubber Power Wagon outlast its digital representation?

So much for the questions. Power Wagons are not really about abstractions; they’re as real and palpable as it gets. Let’s run our virtual hands over this one.

The Power Wagon name is of course legendary, thanks to the original, which was heavily based on the Army’s 3/4 ton WW2 truck. Like Jeep, Dodge figured it might as well try to make some more money from their very profitable war-time contracts after the fighting ended. They grafted on a civilian Dodge pickup cab, and built an eight-foot bed specifically for the PW. The 126″ chassis, 4-speed transmission, transfer case and the 230 CID flat head six were essentially carry-overs, and had more than proven themselves.

Although the original Power Wagon was made until 1968, the name was also used on Dodge 4×4 pickups and utilities.  It’s of course long become iconic.

It’s not really any different than the typical 4×4 pickup of the era, with a transfer case and solid axles with raised ride height. Of course this generation Dodge pickups still had solid beam front axles on the 2WD versions too, but they were a typical dropped-center axle to give a lower ride height, as was the fashion back then.

I’m not sure what’s under the hood, but more than likely it’s the LA 318 V8, as that seems to be what most of them have. In its time, that was considered to be more than enough motor for the tasks at hand.

And as expected, it has a heavy duty four speed, meaning a very low first gear. And the ubiquitous saddle blanket seat covers. The instruments are a bit different (and duller) than the ones used in the early years of this generation, which started in 1962. But otherwise not much has changed since then, and not much would until the new generation replaced it in 1972.

Looks a bit like the bed in my ’66 F-100, except in slightly better shape. I’m assuming that from that distinctive light green shade of paint, this was a former US Forest Service truck.

There used to be gobs of green former USFS trucks in town, as the service is big out here, and churns through a lot of vehicles. But they switched to white some years back, precisely because the pea green negatively affected resale values. Now it’s impossible to know if it is a former USFS vehicle or not. I’ll be sorry to see the last of them, but if this is anything to go by, that might be a while.

Now that’s a somewhat different hitch than we see nowadays.

It’s late and I’m powerfully tired, having used my old truck to do some various rental property chores. If you can think of anything else, chime in.