For many, the Second World War was a time of heroes, a moment in history when an entire generation was forged in the fires of combat. It elevated countless ordinary soldiers who would have enjoyed dignified but otherwise anonymous careers, into legends. Among them was General George S. Patton whose exploits during the Battle of the Bulge and the Siege of Bastogne were immortalized by George C Scott in the 1970 motion picture of the same name.
Now, for the true aficionado of the Second World War, a number of original but refurbished off-road vehicles, including the model favored by General Patton, are going up for auction in various places around the United States within the next few months.
The first truck offered up by the Dingman Collection is the 1945 Dodge WC-58 Radio Car and it will go on auction in New Hampshire in late June. The Radio Car was a vehicle used to enable communications between battalions in the field and headquarters. The second truck is a Dodge Command Car, which had two purposes. The first purpose was to allow for both speed and mobility in reconnaissance, and the second was to take officers and senior NCOs to and from the front lines. If bigger is better, then both of these, especially when placed next to the Jeep Willys and the Ford Jeeps, make the latter look like toys in comparison.
Patton used a WC series Command Car to race across France in 1944. He preferred the car for its radio communications capability, and so he had several of these cars custom made for his use throughout the war.
It carried the SCR 193 radio set which had a range of fifteen to thirty miles when mobile and between twenty to sixty miles when stationary. While it’s unlikely that the auctioneers at Sotheby’s will include the radio kits with the car. It has been renovated to the same original standards and appearance it had during active duty in the war, complete with all of the appropriate accessories.
The Dodge WC series came with three different specifications – the half-ton, three-quarter ton, and one and a half ton. WC is a Dodge manufacturing code, and contrary to what some folk think, is not an abbreviation for ‘Weapons Carrier.’ The W is for 1941, and the C is a half-ton rating. However, that didn’t stop the company from retaining the WC code for the three-quarter-ton and the one and a half ton 6×6 versions. Dodge was contracted to build more than 255,000 in various body types for the army.
The post-war civilian derivative of Dodge’s war-time offerings was called the Power Wagon, and its specifics have since been revived in the Ram 2500. Yet, despite the civilian models possessing the same specifications, demand is high for the originals, prompting RM Sotheby’s to put two up for auction.
The Command Car was built in 1942 and will be auctioned off in Auburn, Indiana in May 2018. RM Sotheby’s hasn’t produced an estimate on the radio car, but the command vehicle is expected to fetch anywhere between $50,000 and $80,000. In comparison, the Ram 2500 Power Wagon retails at $52,000, while the Jeep Wrangler goes for $27,500.