Shortly before the US entered World War II, Dodge supplied the military with a line of pickups internally codenamed WC, those letters designating the year 1941 and the half-ton payload rating. From 1941 to 1945 Dodge built more than a quarter million of them, and even though "WC" came to refer to the Weapons Carrier body style, the WC range served in 38 different configurations from pickup trucks to ambulances to six-wheeled personnel and weapons haulers.
The story is that soldiers returning from active duty badgered Dodge for a civilian version of that indefatigable warhorse, so Dodge responded with the Power Wagon in 1946. Even for those no-nonsense times the truck was so austere that the first three names Dodge gave it were "Farm Utility Truck," "WDX General Purpose Truck," and "General Purpose, One Ton Truck." "Power Wagon" was the fourth choice, not finalized until just before it went on sale.
Nothing like today's Power Wagon, the original could be seen as either a glorified tractor or a slightly less uncouth military vehicle – hell-for-leather meant going 50 miles per hour. But it would go nearly anywhere. The civilian version was still built like it had to survive, well, a world war; power take-offs (PTOs) ran all manner of ancillaries; multiplicative gear ratios helped it produce enough torque to make an earthquake envious. Said to be the first civilian 4x4 truck made in America, any organization that needed a simple, sturdy mechanized draught animal knew it needed a Power Wagon.