Ram Power Wagon: Then and Now
Since its debut in 1945, the Ram Power Wagon has definitely evolved over the past 73 years. Although the initial build of the Power Wagon has stayed pretty much the same, a number of variants have been developed throughout the years. This Military inspired truck has quite an extensive background – including its name.
An interesting historic fact that may surprise you is prior to the name “Ram Power Wagon”, it was originally named the Dodge Power Wagon. A year after making its debut, the Dodge Power Wagon became the first civilian 4×4 that was powered by a 230-inch flathead Inline six-cylinder (I6) engine. The I6 engine was paired to a four-speed transmission and had a part-time four-wheel drive (4WD) drivetrain.This particular model rode on 16-inch wheels and had a power take-off switch to reroute the power to the auxiliary equipment. Additionally, the Ram Power Wagon had a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,700 pounds and a payload capacity of 3,000 lbs.
From 1945 to 1956, there weren’t any significant changes made to the power wagon. Yet, the models that were developed between that time were based off of the original “Military Type” model. The Willock Chassis Swivel was debuted in 1952. The Chassis Swivel allowed for the wagon’s cabin and truck bed to rotate independently from one another. However, it was short lived as production ended in 1958. It wasn’t until 1957, that the real changes began – Dodge introduced the light-duty W100 and W200 as pickup trucks for the lineup at that time. A year later, the W300 Power Wagon was released. Through the years, the W500 Power Wagon and W600 Power Wagon were introduced into the lineup. However, in 1977, Dodge discontinued production on all medium-duty models.
In 1967, a big block 383 V8 engine became an available option, and as the Power Wagon began to grow in size and weight, a series of engineering and styling enhancements were made. Yet, the basic “look” always remained preserved – until 1972. Probably one of the most significant changes made to the Power Wagon was the introduction of the various grille designs and paint options. In 1974, the extended “Club Cab” was released. Following the release of the Club Cab, sales number not only boosted, but it became increasingly popular with families and campers. The four-door Crew Cab became far less common and because of its rarity, it turned into a collectors item.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and in 1981, the Dodge Power Wagon nameplate was discontinued. After the nameplate was dropped, it was replaced with solely “Power Wagon” and it was during this time that the name “Dodge Ram” started. Depending on your generation, the name “Dodge Ram” might ring a bell. The Cummins turbo-diesel engine was introduced as an available option in 1989, but ended in 1993. By 2005, the respective name plate “Dodge Ram” has made its return on a Dodge Ram 2500 model. This special off-road variant included a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 as an exclusive engine option. Sadly, in 2009, the Ram Brand split from Dodge for good.
Today, the 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is equipped with a 6.4-liter Heavy Duty V8 HEMI engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 6.4L heavy duty engine can produce 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. Unique standard features include – front and rear locking differentials, a 4.10 axle ratio, maximum towing capacity of 9,910 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,470 pounds. The optional side steps might be of use for the Power Wagons 8.3” of ground clearance. Lastly, the Power Wagon is only available as a Crew Cab with a 6’4” box.
Photo Credit/Copyright: classic-car-history.com, Wikipedia.com, news.pickuptrucks.com