M37 Power Wagon

The M37 Power Wagon is a US military service vehicle that was developed by Dodge and was highly used in the Korean War; variants of the vehicle include an ambulance, fire and medical trucks. The vehicle is a full sized four wheel drive truck weighing in at about 750 pounds.


The M37 was designed to be a multi-purpose vehicle for the military; however the original intention was for it to carry heavy loads of ammunition since its robust body and high powered engine made it perfect for the task.

As a military medical transport the modifications made were not necessarily made to make the ride comfortable but the safety of the passengers or cargo was almost guaranteed while riding in this vehicle; the M37 made an excellent fire since the power it possessed meant that it could very easily transport a large load of water.


The M37 had a revolutionary winch system that was used for getting the vehicle out of a ditch or other position where it might be stuck; unlike the current more popular winch systems mounted on the front of a vehicle and operated from the same position, the M37’s winch was not operated from the front even though it was mounted there. The winch system used was referred to as the “wheel winch” system where the winch was physically attached to the wheel of the vehicle while the end of the cable was anchored elsewhere.

In order to utilize this system the driver or operator would first have to determine which direction he or she would like to go; regardless of the direction the winch should be attached to the front axle of the M37 but the winch should be attached with the cable facing down and in the direction that the driver would be going. If installed incorrectly then the winch would not work as the cable would be unwinding instead of winding. The next step would be to find a suitable area to anchor the cable such as a sturdy tree or rock; the cable would then be anchored usually using a supplied rope after being attached to the front axle using specially provided lug nuts and spindle. Once properly attached this system would allow the M37 to pull itself out of any scenario with little effort due the high power of the vehicle.


One primary reason that the M37 was made obsolete was the fact that military vehicles had begun increasing in travelling speed and the M37 was limited to only 55 mph at top speed with a maximum range of 150 miles and a whopping 6 miles per gallon fuel consumption; so in an attempt to keep up with the newer vehicles in the field and perform on the same level, occurrences of the M37 breaking down due to engine failure became quite common and so it was retired. Though it is no longer used in the military some versions of the M37 are still in use today by civilians who require the high powered four wheel drive capabilities that the M37 has to offer.

Photo: dave_7

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