Custom Ex-Military 1941 Dodge WC26 Carry-All Wagon Is a True Marvel of Engineering

Over its 120-year history, American car manufacturer Dodge has produced all kinds of vehicles, ranging from hatchbacks and SUVs to minivans and pickup trucks. The Dodge WC range, also popularly known as “Beeps,” is a successful series of light military utility trucks that the automaker built during World War II.
1941 Dodge WC26 Wagon 19 photos
Photo: Mecum Auctions
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Even before the second global conflict started, Dodge was one of the primary suppliers of light tactical vehicles to the U.S. army. The WC series trucks played a significant role during the war years, having been used as weapons carriers, cargo trucks, reconnaissance vehicles, telephone installation trucks, and even ambulances. While there barely was a light-truck 4x4 market before WWII, mainly due to lack of demand, Dodge’s military trucks were everywhere after America got involved in the conflict.

No less than 38 variants were built on the WC platform, one of them being the Dodge WC26 Wagon 4×4, a carry-all truck with a nominal carrying capacity of 1,000 pounds (450 kg). Dodge supplied the Allies’ war forces with more than 250,000 vehicles during WWII, but very few are known to still be in existence today.

After the war, many of the surplus vehicles were sold to civilians, and they became quite popular due to their durability and reliability in tough conditions, being used in farming and construction activities. This also led to the development of the Dodge Power Wagon, a vehicle based on the same WC platform but specifically produced for civilian use.

1941 Dodge WC26 Wagon
Photo: Mecum Auctions
This 1941 Dodge WC26 Wagon, built as part of the first generation of WC series trucks, has an interesting story to tell. Its first owner was the U.S. Army, and it has recently benefited from a no-expense-spared restoration that turned it into a true marvel of engineering.

While it still preserves the original ladder frame chassis and steel body, much of the rest of the vehicle suffered significant modifications. An all-new engine powers the WC26 Wagon, which also benefits from a new transmission, suspension, brakes, and a completely overhauled interior. It is now a much more powerful and capable machine with a vintage look and modern performance.

The unique truck you see here has been completely rebuilt into a much better-equipped machine than it was during the war.

During the build, the carry-all body was removed from the chassis and was media blasted to remove any paint, rust, and contaminants from the metal. The three-quarter-ton frame was also stripped and painted.

It’s worth mentioning that no bondo or body filler was used during the restoration, and the exterior is now covered in custom, one-off “Patina” paint that looks similar to rust, with airbrush effects that highlight the drips. This special paintwork gives the truck a really unique feel and look.

1941 Dodge WC26 Wagon
Photo: Mecum Auctions
The most significant change made to the WC truck’s body, however, is the addition of a panoramic sunroof taken straight from a new BMW X7. At the front, it has an original-looking radiator grille, but that’s because the entire configuration was completely rebuilt to make it look exactly as it was when it left the factory back in 1941.

Other noteworthy features on the exterior include a factory original flip-out front windshield, Baja Designs exterior auxiliary lighting, LED headlights and tail lights in custom housings, and a 12,000-pound winch.

The true extent of the customization can be grasped under the hood. Here, the original six-cylinder L-head gasoline engine producing 92.5 hp (94 ps) was replaced with a 5.9-liter 24-valve Cummins turbodiesel engine with an intercooler and a custom tune. A performance air intake and a Fuel Air Separation System were added to improve mileage and performance. A massive, custom-made 38-gallon (144-liter) aluminum tank feeds the new engine, and power is sent to all four wheels through an automatic transmission. Dual aluminum Griffin radiators, power brakes, dual deep cycle Interstate batteries, and a custom 4-inch ceramic-coated DynoMax exhaust system are also part of the package.

The new suspension front and back brought a significant gain in height and ground clearance. The Dodge truck now rides on a set of Detroit Steel “D-Town” 22-inch wheels wrapped in some bulky 42-inch Milestar Patagonia M/T-02 tires.

1941 Dodge WC26 Wagon
Photo: Mecum Auctions
Moving on to the interior of the truck, we find a predominantly black design, with the metal trim around the windows and the panoramic sunroof painted the exact custom “Patina” color as the exterior panels, giving the vehicle a unified look. Twin reclining bucket seats have been fitted up front, joined by a two-person individually reclining seat in the back.

The interior has been given just as much attention as the exterior. It received a rubberized coating, and sound deadening was applied throughout. Additionally, the original wood floor was replaced with metal sheeting, and two AC systems have been installed, one at the front and another one at the rear, to keep passengers comfortable. There is also an MB Quart sound system, interior auxiliary lighting, as well as custom billet dash knobs, and air vents.

Initially designed by Dodge to transport weapons, supplies, and troops in combat environments, this restomodded Dodge WC26 Carry-All Wagon was rebuilt for a completely different purpose. It can now be used to go on long road trips, tow a boat or a trailer behind it, or simply enjoy an off-road ride.

Nowadays, the WC series trucks are highly coveted by military vehicle collectors and car enthusiasts alike. This WWII-era Dodge WC26 truck is set to go under the hammer in late March, with an auction estimate of $250,000 - $275,000.
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About the author: Ancuta Iosub
Ancuta Iosub profile photo

After spending a few years as a copy editor, Ancuta decided to put down the eraser and pick up the writer's pencil. Her favorites subjects are unusual car designs, travel trailers and everything related to the great outdoors.
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