1938 Dodge Truck Abandoned for 50 Years Gets Second Chance, Engine Agrees To Run

1938 Dodge Truck Abandoned for 50 Years Gets Second Chance, Engine Agrees To Run

Vehicles designed to transport cargo can be traced back to the steam wagons of the 19th century. The first U.S. truck with an internal combustion engine was built by Autocar in 1899, but it wasn’t until the 1910s that Americans gained access to an affordable one-ton truck. I’m talking, of course, about the Model TT, which went into production in 1917.

By 1920, both Chevrolet and GMC were producing trucks in various shapes and sizes. In 1926, Dodge Brothers Inc. also jumped on the truck bandwagon by purchasing Graham Brothers Inc. Acquired by Chrysler in 1928, Dodge went on to become one of America’s most important truck manufacturers, with haulers like the WC Series, the Power Wagon, and pickup trucks sporting the “Ram” badge.

Based on the military-spec WC Series that Dodge built during World War II, the Power Wagon remained in showrooms for a whopping 35 years and it’s a sought-after collectible. Pre-WWII trucks, on the other hand, don’t get as much attention nowadays. The 1938 example you see here is one of those trucks that kept Dodge in business until those military contracts started pouring in. It’s also a beautiful truck.

Granted, this hauler is in terrible condition, and “beautiful” is not a proper term here, but it used to be quite the looker when new thanks to its stylish, art deco-inspired front grille with vertical slats running down the center. But why am I talking about a derelict example instead of a fully restored one? Well, pristine trucks from the 1930s are hard to come by. But more importantly, this truck is one of those vintage haulers that was resurrected after sitting for a very long time.

And I don’t mean 10 or 20 years. Nope! This hauler has been decommissioned and abandoned sometime in the early 1970s, so it hasn’t been running for more than 50 years. That’s more than enough to turn a classic vehicle into a useless pile of rusty junk, but somehow this Dodge truck soldiered on for a half-century still in one piece.

Sure, it’s as weathered as abandoned vehicles get. The tires are long gone, the fenders look like they’ve been hammered repeatedly, and it was used for target practice, but hey, there’s not a lot of rust in sight, and that’s downright amazing. What’s more, the guy who saved it from a sad life in a barn managed to get the old, 241-cubic-inch (4.0-liter) inline-six L-head engine running again.

It took a partial disassembly and lots of acetone was poured inside the cylinders, but the old mill agreed to run once it gulped some gasoline through the carburetor. It will take a lot more work to get it driving again, but the owner is determined to get it moving under its own power. I have a feeling he’s not planning on restoring the truck, but it’s definitely a better fate than rotting away in a field. Check it out in the video below.

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