Dodge has been part of Chrysler since 1928. In that time, the name has become deeply associated with their trucks – since its beginnings in 1914 when it was owned by the Dodge brothers, Dodge has sold trucks under its name. Here is a look at the history of their light, medium and heavy vehicles.
The very first Dodge trucks were basically large versions of passenger cars. They had bigger engines and more space, but were essentially modified cars. As the trucks began to gain popularity, designs evolved until they had their own separate chassis and body designs. The first trucks were light and medium vehicles, and heavy vehicles were introduced in the 1930s.
One of the most influential designs was the Dodge Power Wagon, produced from 1945 – 1980. It was a light truck that was the civilian version of the Dodge M37 military truck. It was noted for its versatility and storage space. The Power Wagon featured a two-seater cab at the front, with a long open bed at the back to allow for loading items. This design made it easy to transport items and soon other manufacturers made their own versions. The design was so useful that the Power Wagon’s appearance remained very constant throughout its history except for one change in 1972, which is a rarity in cars.
Ironically, the Power Wagon – a military vehicle converted into civilian use – found a home in the military, with some modified with a hatch at the back to become military ambulance vehicles.
According to our Dodge experts we spoke to at the Crosstown Dodge dealership in NH, another pioneering move by Dodge was introducing elements from sedans into the trucks. Dodge expanded the amount of space in the body, offering more comfort to passengers. It also featured plush interiors and moved the truck away from purely utilitarian appearances.
Dodge eventually dropped its heavy and medium models in the 1970s, due to increased competition from other makers and low sales. Instead, they began to focus solely on light trucks, which were still popular with consumers. To further boost their popularity, Dodge began to expand the use of light trucks from purely commercial to urban use, marketing models such as the Warlock as ‘Adult Toys’.
The current Dodge trucks are sold under the Ram name. The various Ram trucks still carry the Dodge emblem, but are separate to the other Dodge lines. This is part of an attempt by Dodge to revitalize their sedan lines, by removing the heavy association between Dodge and trucks.