Every Jeep fan knows that a 1948 Dodge Power Wagon can be super-cool. Legacy Classic Trucks makes those insane restomods with off-road suspension and Cummins swaps that cost more than a Lamborghini. This isn’t one of those; it’s an entirely different kind of vehicle, based on a 1945 Dodge Command, which looks like a Willys that’s been copied at 2X magnification.
You tend to think of a certain type of vehicle when somebody mentions the Power Wagon. Usually, it’s this big farm truck with plenty of utility, mostly fitted with a two-door cab. But the thing is this model came out in 1945 and directly copied the design of the WC Series which helped America win World War II.
Nicknamed the Beeps, the Dodge WC Series consisted of half and three-quarter-ton military utility trucks. They carried the troops, food, supplies, and were used as ambulances. Together with the Jeeps, this was basically all the American army needed for transportation, and they also saw action in Korea.
This Command version came in many different flavors and worked like a mobile radio station for the front lines. Although many of them were made, it was apparently less popular than the Jeep, being heavier and less agile and with a bigger profile that made it an obvious target. This looks like a 3/4-ton version, a chunky boy to say the least.
This 1945 Dodge Command was purchased at auction, and the owner immediately hated that it could only do about 45 miles per hour. That’s pretty normal, considering this was made to win wars, not races. So it was sent over to P2 Fabrication in So Cal, a shop that splits its work between caged in race trucks and equally fast muscle cars.
A Cummins 5.9-liter swap was the natural thing to do, although it proved quite challenging. The owner also wanted a manual gearbox so his kids wouldn’t want to drive it. The builders decided to just get rid of the old chassis and put in the whole underbelly of a Dodge 2003 Dodge 2500, which made it easier to have modern brakes and suspension installed.
The engine had to be moved back about 10 inches to fit under the 1945 Dodge hood. It’s amazing how they dressed it back up to look like an old army truck. For example, the gigantic 37-inch tires were fitted around Black Rhino wheels, which you’d find on a customized Jeep, and this has about 10 inches of clearance thanks to ADS Racing shocks, but you’d barely notice these components.
The modern Dodge chassis also gave them an opportunity to extend the body 16 inches and create bigger door openings for the passengers in the back. This is why everything had to be re-painted in this nice shade of army green. It makes you wonder what this amount of fabrication costs. It’s probably more than $100,000, which is a crazy amount to spend just to play pretend soldier.