The 2022 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is one of the most capable 4×4 trucks around. What’s more, the Power Wagon badge is one of Detroit’s oldest and most respected. Here are the classic off-road vehicles that gave the Power Wagon its name.
The Dodge Power Wagon was the first factory 4×4
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The Power Wagon’s predecessor was a WWII military vehicle. As the U.S. Army had to fight its way across Pacific islands and crumbling European roads, it requested Detroit invent new ways to move troops off-road. Willys invented the Jeep. Dodge pioneered a heavy-duty 4×4 platform.
Dodge built over a quarter-million 3/4-ton 4×4 vehicles for the allied forces. The manufacturer offered configurations ranging from a Jeep-like “Command Car” to ambulances to a heavy-duty 6×6.
G.I.s loved the sturdy Dodge trucks. After the war, the company decided to offer a civilian version, hoping some veterans would show interest. Dodge actually mixed and matched components developed for civilian vehicles. Only the 8-foot, high-sided bed was new for the 1946 “WDX” 4×4 truck.
Dodge’s new WDX was the first ever 4×4 mass-manufactured for civilians. This makes it one of history’s most important pickup trucks. Dodge’s marketing department added the Power Wagon name to the WDX project: the 1946 truck was officially called the Dodge WDX Power Wagon.
The Power Wagon name still stands for off-road capability
The Dodge Power Wagon earned the respect of Americans everywhere. Many veterans returning to the trades bought the familiar truck. With low speeds and a power take off (PTO) it was even capable of farm work.
Over time, the Power Wagon became a favorite fleet vehicle. Municipalities and utility companies bought Power Wagons in droves. Americans modified their Dodges with snow plows and wrecker bodies.
For the 1957 model year, Dodge reinvented the Power Wagon. The company began to offer the capable 4WD pickup with the same sheet metal as its 2WD trucks. This “civilian look” Power Wagon came in half-ton or three-quarter-ton ratings.
In 1980, Dodge unveiled the Ram pickup truck line. As an homage to the Power Wagon, the 4WD variants carried a Power Ram padge. Then, in 2005, Dodge resurrected the Power Wagon name for its most capable off-road trucks.
The 2022 Ram 2500 Power Wagon features locking differential and a winch
At the height of vehicle nostalgia, when the retro Ford Mustang first came out and Dodge was developing its four-door Charger, the company set its sites on a retro truck. The result was the Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon. For the past sixteen years, the name has continued to designate off-roading excellence.
Among this Ram truck’s features are a bumper mounted winch installed at the factory. The Ram Power Wagon is also one of the only vehicles available with both front and rear locking diferentials. In 2014, Ram upgraded every Power Wagon to the 6.4-liter HEMI V8. Then in 2019 and later Power Wagons, Ram paired this engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. 2021 was the Power Wagon’s 75th anniversary; Ram marked the occasion with a special edition truck.
The 2022 Power Wagon is one of the most capable production trucks off-road. Every new Power Wagon comes with a crew cab and 6’4″ bed. It starts at $57,390.