Restoring Memories

As the old saying goes, “You can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.” Although I was raised in metro Seattle, my father grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington, in the city of Walla Walla. We made regular trips there during my childhood, especially when my great-grandmother lived there by herself. These visits were more than just familial obligations; they were my introduction to values like hard work, family, and the joy of being close to the earth—values that have profoundly influenced who I am today.

I also fondly recall visits and weekend trips to my uncle’s, where my cousins and I would ride in the bed of his Chevy 3100, sliding around as we drove down the road, laughing and jostling around — back when the world was less concerned about safety regulations. Those moments of freedom are treasures I still carry.

This sense of nostalgia may explain why, after a career in information security, I felt compelled to restore several late 19th and early 20th-century safes. A few years ago, I embarked on a project to restore a Dodge Power Wagon, which encapsulates the strength, reliability, and spirit of those farmstead adventures.

Power Wagons Origin Story

The Dodge Power Wagon earned its legendary status on American farmlands shortly after World War II. Returning servicemen recognized the potential of the Dodge WCs they had used in the war. These vehicles could navigate the rugged farm terrain much like the battlefields they’d left behind. Equipped with a Power Take Off (PTO) and winch, the Dodge WC was not just a means of transport; it transformed into a tool that could till the fields or haul away a fallen tree. Recognizing its demand, Dodge released a civilian version—the Dodge Power Wagon.

The Power Wagon was the first mass-produced civilian 4×4 vehicle, ultimately symbolizing an era when durability and utility were paramount in vehicle design. Its introduction led to the widespread adoption of 4×4 capabilities by nearly every truck manufacturer.

Power Wagons also played a vital role in developing early infrastructure, aiding transportation and communication networks for rail and telephone companies. Coachbuilders would modify these trucks by combining two Power Wagons, to create multi-door vehicles that could transport crews to remote or difficult-to-access sites. It wasn’t until International Harvester introduced the Travelette in 1957 that a production truck with three or more doors became available.

Anyone who has ever done a high-end restoration of a vehicle will tell you it takes way longer than you expect, my project is no different. While we are getting close to the end of the project, after all it runs, drives, stops, has been put back together, and has been painted, and is now getting its interior done I would surely be wrong with whatever guess I gave.

My Power Wagon Restoration

Restoring this piece of history isn’t just about reviving a classic vehicle; in a way, it’s a tribute to my father, my family’s legacy. It’s a pilgrimage back to my roots, a way to share my family’s story with my children and, eventually, my grandchildren.

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