Jeep’s reputation was forged in the crucible of the Second World War, taking beachheads and liberating Europe from the specter of Nazi rule. But the Willys weren’t the only off-roaders the American military used.
Ford built a great deal of these general-purpose vehicles as well. And so did Dodge. But Dodge’s were bigger.
Known as the WC series, the trucks were big. Really big. They came in half-ton, 3/4-ton, and 1 1/2-ton specs. And Dodge built them in a number of configurations straight from the factory. After the war, Dodge kept building them in civilian form under the Power Wagon name, which it more recently revived for rough-and-tumble versions of the Ram 2500. But even with nearly a third of a million of them made, those originals are still highly sought after. And RM Sotheby’s has two coming up for auction – in full military trim, no less.
One was made in Command Vehicle spec, ready to transport officers and senior NCOs to the front lines to guide their troops. The other was outfitted as a radio vehicle to enable communications between combat battalions and their headquarters. Both look like veritable beasts and certifiable icons of their time. Right up their with the Willys and Ford jeeps – making them look like toys by comparison, we’d say.
The command vehicle built in 1942 will hit the auction block in Auburn, Indiana, next month. The radio truck is part of the Dingman Collection that will be auctioned off in New Hampshire late in June. RM Sotheby’s hasn’t issued an estimated value on the latter, but the former is expected to sell for about $70,000 (give or take $10k). That much tells you something about the desirability of these war machines, especially when you consider that a new Ram 2500 Power Wagon starts at about $52k and a Jeep Wrangler at about $27,500.
Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Photos by Darin Schnabel, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s