View Full Version : Power Wagon Ambulance...

12-12-2006, 16:09
Just purchased a '72 Dodge ambulance and have not picked it up yet. Was curious what y'all may know about this series of vehicle. It is an ex-military rig with a 4 spd manual trans, 205 transfer case, Dana 70F front axle....

12-12-2006, 16:20
Are you sure it was military? Does it have data plates? Might be a civi ambulance made special for fire department or something? What model does the data plate say? Kinda curiouse now..
OOooooh my friend Bob wanted that truck... It has a civi/early front grill?

12-12-2006, 16:43
Looks civilian to me, again probably a local Fire and Rescue truck. It could have been military, and if so it should have the data plates. Definitely not one of the normal M880 series, a bit too early I think and plus it's a manual with a part time transfer case. Should be a divorced case unless something has been swapped. Drum brakes all around.

12-12-2006, 16:49
It does have data plates and I have seen two other of this series in the past, but they were not owned by collectors and have long since been run into the ground. I believe they may have been a special Air Force purchase, but don't know for sure. After it makes it home, I will request info from TACOM with the contract number. It is definitely not an 880, just posted the request here as this is probably the forum with the most knowledge of this vintage Dodge trucks.

12-12-2006, 16:58
Looks the same as my reference pics of the M886, except for the color and the grill guard. May have been AF if there's any blue under the orange. Check p 77 of Doyle's 2nd edition Standard Catalog. Ask Bob H. for sure.

12-12-2006, 17:59
There are lots of non-"M" standard vehicles that got bought by the military and given data plates, up through the 1970s. I remember seeing an IH Scout on eGay not too long ago that had a military data plate.

12-12-2006, 19:15
I can attest to the fact that a lot of non-standard vehicles were purchased by the military for various purposes. I own a REO XM282 five ton 8x8 prototype from the mid-1950s, which is apparently the only one left of three built. I have also seen a similar vintage Ford F100 with military data plates and have also seen several vehicles sell at DRMO auctions, such as an AMC Jeep J2000 complete with troop seats, rear cargo cover, pintle hitch and data plates....

Had already checked out Dolye, and Crismon to see if they mentioned this version. Unfortunately neither of them do, that is one reason for checking here, hoping someone else besides me has run across these in the past.

The truck has a few differences from the M886 besides the driveline; there is no evidence of litter racks ever having been mounted, there is no provision for the operating light in the ceiling, the door between the cab and rear compartment swings instead of sliding and it has a Braden PTO driven winch. Some of this can be seen in the view inside the rear compartment as shown in the attached image. It had obviously been used as a mobile command center by some agency, but I do not know if it was originally built that way or not.

Bob H
12-12-2006, 19:38
Hey I bid on that truck!!!!! ( Only about 1/3 rd of what it went for though)
Is it a 70 front??????????? Not a 60? ( I'm no expert) I did look at it through the fence thanksgiving weekend. Mirrors seemed to be olive drab, I have seen many of this type of truck used on military bases. Since it was a GSA auction, and it's painted red. I am sure it went from military duty to forest service / DNR fire use. I am still hoping to find a W300 version of this truck, and I'd give up my M886 to get one.

I'm gonna guess that this one has a (or came with a) 360 engine.

12-12-2006, 19:56
These types of ambulances were purchased for base hospitals. I would see them at every base I was on. The first ones I ever saw was at Parris Island and it was a Jeep 1 ton ambulance with duals. These ambulances were used to respond to emergancies in the boonies. You have to remember, if some one gets hurt, they are calling the base fire department and hospital, they need a good 4 wheel drive truck to get to the area.
One of the few, Frank

12-12-2006, 20:20
Sorry, BA, if I'd noticed you were the poster on this thread I wouldn't have rushed to the library for my books. I also didn't pay attention to the 4 speed and other specs, just went by the body. Could you give us the model numbers from the data plates? Was that blue one in Frederic years ago the same model, do you think? Interesting set up in the back.

12-12-2006, 21:01
2 to 4 inch lift some nice tires and if it has a 360! Man now you have something. That would put a regular 880 to shame. Twice the truck as normal.. NP205 and PTO winch! You will have lots of fun with that one BA... Maybe you will camp out at the trail ride next year ahe? Will you paint it though? Kind of eye polution in the woods but still would be a fun truck to drive..Want me to drive it to your house for you? May stop at some trails and try it out.. :P

12-12-2006, 22:45
GSA has contracted to provide similar trucks as well. Another consideration is a CIvil Defense truck. Since its a 72, that might be a possibility. I'll say this, its a wicked truck. I'd enjoy that one for sure.

12-13-2006, 10:06
Howdy guys, some great responses with a bit to think about. I'll try to answer some of y'alls questions.
Bob H. - Yes, it has a 70 front, not sure about the rear, I understand that Dodge used some 60 rears with 70 fronts in this time frame and will have to check that out closer. It was absolutely used by the DNR or a local fire dept after coming out of military service, don't know who painted it red though. The mirrors are different from any other similar truck I have seen and may be later replacements. It looks to me like a W300 in all but the badging.
FrankUSMC - That is a likely idea, some sort of small production run for base hospital use seems like you may be on to something. It will be interesting to see if TACOM has anything on record about them.
BigBee - I appreciate that you did rush to your library, never know when someone may find something that I overlooked. I'll be happy to provide you with any numbers off the data plates once I get it home and they can be read. Yes, I think it is the same model as the blue one from around Frederic, there were actually two of them that showed up in the last 15 years in that small township. One came through Pineview and I know both owners and plan to contact them to see what they may know about these rigs also.
CitizenSoldier - I don't know, what is wrong with RED? Not all MVs were OD or Camo :D Thank you for the kind offer to drive it home for me, but I am hoping to keep it clean for the winter. Maybe next summer I'll let it touch a dirt road once or twice, but only at less than 5 mph so as to not get any dirt on the body, yeah right. I do not plan to convert it to camper use, though may use it to tow a camper out to the trail ride, we'll see about me actually sleeping out there though. The nice thing about the trail ride being so close to home is that I get to sleep in my own bed.
Recovery4x4 - It may have been used by Civil Defense at some point, but I doubt if they purchased it new. I thought they used mostly surplus equipment?

12-13-2006, 10:39
Hmmm, I'd like to have one of those with the 4 speed and part time 4WD. I never bought a M880 series because of the auto, full time 4WD and the unit bearing deal.

On the D70, if it's not a closed knuckle, it's a D60. I don't think dodge made an open knuckle 70. Mostly see D70s in the W400 and up and they are very rare. Also I have never seen anything dealing with a D70 front with a smaller rear. The D70 is listed as a 4500lbs front axle which normally has an equal or larger axle in the rear.

12-13-2006, 11:48
The D70 front is a closed knuckle, drum brake. I have one sitting in my garage from my '73 W200 I bought for parts. It had the 70 front and a 60 rear. The main issue w/ the 70 front is that is uses tracta-joints instead of u-joints. I hear there are an odd duckling every now and then that uses u-joints, but I haven't seen one.

12-13-2006, 12:01
My catalogs only list the odd joints for the closed knuckle 70.

12-13-2006, 13:36
This truck very definitely has the Dana 70 front as it is stamped '70F' on the housing. It is a closed knuckle, drum brake unit. Very interesting to hear many of them had tracta joints, they were supposed to be very strong units, if a bit odd by todays standards. The data plate on the dash lists the axle ratings at 4500 lbs front and 5500 lbs rear. Not as strong as the Timken FDS750 units used in the W500 series of Dodge trucks with a weight rating of 7500 lbs, but still a good strong unit for a 'light duty' truck.

12-13-2006, 22:42
Picked up the ambulance today and drove it home, very impressed with it so far though it does need some work before considering it really road, or trail, ready. The engine sounds very good, but is missing on the #1 cylinder, there is a metal on metal sound coming from the front end when the brakes are applied and a few other little things to be corrected.

All of the information from the data plates and any other place in the cab have been copied down also. The rear axle is a D60. Found a slip of paper taped inside the glovebox with a bunch of alpha-numeric codes typed on it, does anyone know if this may be a factory printout of the chassis-cab equipment? There is also a code after the VIN on the driver's door preceded by 'T.O.N.', does anyone know what this is?

According to the primary Data Plate, the nomenclature for this vehicle is not an 'M' number, just 'Truck, Ambulance, 4x4, 4 litter'. There are Registration, F.S.N. and Contract Numbers given though. There is also a Parts Data Plate which gives Chrysler Part Numbers for the Axles, Rear Differential, Transmission, Transfer Case and Clutch.

12-13-2006, 22:56
Trail ride..sleep at home... hmmm. to each his own I guess.. Sounds like fishing in the bath tub to me.. Yes, yes,yes not all MV's are OD.. Might want to change your name to Reddodger..
I am like a big old bull when I see red. Want to shoot it like a bulls eye, or crash into it to put out the fire..
Only like red on hookers...

12-13-2006, 22:58
But thats another story.. We will see you coming anyway... aua

12-13-2006, 23:09
This was likely a Govt. contract ambulance for the various military bases. Eglin AFB in Fla used to have some Dodge truck ambulances in the 1969-70 era. I can remember being on the flightline with my Dad in Montivideo Uruguay in 1968, we were driving around in an AF blue Dodge 4 door pickup. I was just a kid, but I remember looking at the brass data tags on the dash and asking what they all meant.
I have seen IHC 1600-1800 series trucks that were all civvy except for data tags. I drove an 1967 1800 tandem that had been a flightline tanker tractor at Eglin. The company I worked for had bought it and put a 12 yd. dump box on it. 392 4V, 5 speed main and a 3 speed auxiliary tranny. Really low gearing, 6.20:1 and 1000x20's. Air brakes all around, still had the data tags on the dash.

12-14-2006, 04:26
Here is a picture I took at a Range neer Barbers Point Naval Air Station in Hawaii around 1986. ( I Can't remember the name of the range )

It has NAVY Markings......

I can't remember if it was 4WD, But I am pretty sure it was a stick.

Notice the front rims, fender emblems and how high it sits :roll:

12-14-2006, 09:31
Yes, that is a 4WD. Looks just like our old wrecker, lol...

12-14-2006, 10:22
Citizensoldier - Man you're mean sounding, just be sure to think it through very thoroughly if you are feeling inclined to shoot at me or try to ram my truck, it could be hazardous to one's health to attempt such things. Maybe I should repaint it back to it's original color...white, just like the photo N1265 posted, heck, I could just about recreate that photo, have a Mule also.
rdixiemiller - I think you are correct about it probably being a contract for base uses, have seen plenty of such examples. There used to be lots of civilian style vehicles at all the bases in the 60s, 70s and 80s, from Chrysler Reliants, to I-H 1800s used for various purposes. Was just curious if anyone had researched this particular contract since it so closely preceded the adoption of the M880 series.
N1265 - I'll bet my ambulance looked pretty similar to the one in your photo, since it appears mine was origianlly white. The one in your photo appears to have a Budd style front wheel which would indicate dual rears, while mine has single rears and disc-style wheels.
I am sure impressed with all the responses received here on Steel Soldiers, have posted similar requests about this truck on several boards and have not had near the interest as here. Want to thank everyone who has taken the time to add something to this thread, it has been helpful for my understanding of this trucks place in MV history.

12-14-2006, 11:06
Me mean nahhh. Just happens when I see red man..I always think things through.. Hazardous to my health you say.. No worries I have a pretty good health plan never failed me before. Complete coverage on the truck and ocupants...
just ribbing you a little, but I guess you cant take it. I will retire from this post. Its boring anyway.

Bob H
12-14-2006, 12:43
Here is a 1980 W400 version of the Dodge

12-15-2006, 03:10

I think the truck that I posted was a dually ( if my memory is right ) .... However I can not swear to it.

I remember taking the picture because of the MULE, It was the only one that I saw while on active duty from 1984 - 1988.

If I knew then that I would someday restore a M880 I would of taken a lot more pictures of them. I would love to have the one you got even if it is red.

Also, I see you are from Grayling Mi..... I spent a lot of time up there while in the reserves.

12-15-2006, 11:07
Citizensoldier - I understood you were being amusing, thought I was also, guess something was lost in the translation somewhere....
N1265 - I think the W400 BobH posted is probably the same model as the one you photographed. They both have the Budd wheels and the same angled cut on the body behind the rear wheels, the 886 is like mine and comes back flat for a ways, then angles up. The dual rear wheels makes good sense with the weight of the ambulance body, when driving mine home the other day, you sure knew there was a load on the rear end and it does not have the litter racks or anything. I'll bet that the original paint on mine was white and very similar to the later W400s though. Yes, I am near Grayling and organize a fall trail ride for historic MVs on the tank trails around the Camp every year. 2007 will be our 15th year for the event, which will take place the latter part of September.

12-16-2006, 05:49
Yea I thought about taking the M880 up there this year but had to work.

What's up with having to be a member with the club. ( or at least I thought there was some sort of membership required )

Bob H
12-16-2006, 10:23
Insurance & Use of state land, I believe.
Museum Membership is only $10 check here http://webpages.charter.net/mmmt/application.htm
GreatLakes MVPA membership is only $15 http://www.greatlakesmvpa.org/wst_page6.html
You only need to be a member of one.
Next GLMVPA membership meeting is in January in Troy,MI (about 110 miles from Fremont Ohio it's 160 miles for me :wink: )

12-17-2006, 04:07
Thanks for the info........

12-17-2006, 11:28
N1265 - BobH is absolutely correct on this, because the event is held on public land controlled jointly by the Army National Guard and the Michigan Dept of Natural Resources, we are required to obtain permission from both agencies. The DNR requires us to obtain an events permit from them with a provision we carry an insurance policy with at least $1 million of liability coverage and the Guard permission is also contingent upon such a policy. As you may know, the world of insurance underwriters is a tricky place with all sorts of attorneys working long shifts to make the wording as tight as possible to avoid having to pay out on judgements. As such the only insurance policies we have been able to find, within any sort of reasonable cost, for vehicle events are designed for car shows. These policies are designed for static displays and are worded as such that only members of the sponsoring organizations are covered in the case of accidents with moving vehicles, thus the requirement that all attendees be members or the immediate family member (spouse or dependant child) of said member. The only other insurance policy we have found is designed for race events and the premiums for such a policy are absolutely cost prohibitive for us, unless we could find some large corporate sponsors....

12-17-2006, 12:50
I'm back! Sorry could not resist showing you this one.. Dan if your out there help me out would ya? I cant be the only one harrasing him..

12-17-2006, 12:58
This one is for sale on ebay if your interested.. Yours would be cool like this minus the red though..
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Dodge-Power-Wagon-FIRE-TRUCK-Dodge-4X4-Military-Ambulance-Monster-FireTruck-Lifted_W0QQitemZ230066989045QQihZ013QQcategoryZ394 13QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Bob H
12-17-2006, 15:09
Come on Lottery commision help me out here, I want that thing!

12-17-2006, 15:15
Knew you would want it Bob!! Only 12 G buy it now price!! Come on its a great Christmas present for yourself... Would love to see this sucker on the trail ride! Love the double rear Michilens... Would be a hard rig to stop but would'nt be fun trying to get it stuck... rofl

12-18-2006, 03:24

Thanks for the info, I will try to make it up there next year....

12-18-2006, 08:49
As someone who's first truck as a teenager was fire engine red with black trim, I have a certain fondness for the color scheme. The truck Citizensoldier posted does not seem like an unreasonable price at all, just try to find a 1-ton truck with 13K miles for that amount of money, let alone a 4x4, banks are happy to loan funds for vehicles you know. I'm not a fan of that amount of lift, but to each their own, it would unbolt easy enough, then you could put those tires on an M37 and M116 trailer.

N1265 - We will forward to seeing you in September.

08-05-2007, 23:15
I have a 1977 M886 Dodge Power Wagon that I traded a 1988 Ford F-150 extended cab XLT Lariat with 240,000 miles for. It has automatic transmission, full time 4x4, and 318 engine. The odometer shows a little over 9000 miles on it. There is a note written on the driver's door that says original odometer 29,000 miles. I plan on converting it to a camper. From what I have been told and read, there were less than 4000 of these made. Out of the 4000, 400 were 4x4, out of the 400, 50 were NATO. I have read this from several different places. If anyone has anymore info on these vehicles please email me.

08-06-2007, 02:42
sounds Great and welcome to the site . I would think more than 400 were 4WD but Bob H. might have more info about the M886s, I know he has had a couple of them.

got any picks ?

Bob H
08-06-2007, 16:35
I haven't heard the 400 thing, Although if there was, It was probably 400 were M893 2wd ambulances. which would have been for state side base use, no off road.

If you are converting to a camper, I may be interested in some of the military parts.

08-07-2007, 01:47
I'll see if I can find the site where I saw the 400 thing. I know where there is possibly two more of these here locally.