’68 Dodge Power Wagon


Not my truck, but real close

I ended up owning this fine piece of machinery (and I truly mean it) as a result of attending a U.S. Forest Service auction when I lived in Colorado. I went to the auction for the sheer entertainment, not really expecting to buy anything. They were selling off all kinds of used equipment including several well-used Dodge Power Wagons all painted in that peculiar shade of sage green the Forest Service was so fond of.

When my particular example came up, no one was really bidding on it, so I threw out a number never expecting it to be the winner. Lo and behold! I ended up the proud possessor of what is possibly the first of the rock crawlers before rock crawlers were known. The P-Wagon wasn’t much to look at. It was your basic industrial strength four-wheel drive (manual hubs), with the Forest Service logo over painted on the doors, rubber floor mat, a bench seat upholstered in what used to be called “truck leather”, and all of the special add-ons (ax and shovel holders, etc.) including the power take-off winch still intact.

I only owned the Dodge for a summer and winter, selling it the following spring upon realizing I would never, ever use it the way it was intended. That and the fact it may have gotten 12 miles to the gallon at a time when gas needed to go a lot farther than the Wagon would go.

I can’t say why I wanted it. Maybe it was some sort of nostalgia thing from my days as an Air Force brat, growing up on air bases around the country where the 4-door versions of the Wagon (in blue livery) were everywhere. Whatever the reason, it was a pretty amazing vehicle. I never tried it, but was told by someone who was knowledgeable about P-Wagons (it was sort of a cult thing) that you could put in compound 4-wheel drive low and get out and walk beside the truck. I believed him.

My relationship with the Dodge may have been short, but it was sweet. I sold it for more than twice what I purchased it for and the only money I ever put it in was to change the oil. They don’t build them like that anymore.