Driving the 1947 1 and 1/2 Ton Dodge Truck is almost refreshing after driving several 2016 Ram trucks at the FCA proving grounds in Chelsea, MI. It’s the complete opposite of driving a 2016 Ram 3500. TFLtruck was on hand to drive the full line of Ram Trucks and we got just enough wheel-time to pull together three videos.
We had a blast playing with the Ram 5500 dump truck and enjoyed the oddity of diving the Ram ProMaster Diesel while towing a load. My favorite part was driving the 1947 1 and 1/2 Ton Dodge Truck.
The good folks at FCA will, on occasion, open up their museums and pull a few vehicles for members of the press to kvell over. Sometimes, we are permitted to take them for a spin. I ask you, what other automaker does such a thing!? It’s great and it helps us link our ideology from these modern digital trucks to (very) analoge trucks like the 1947 1 and 1/2 Ton Dodge Truck I drove a few times.
There were no details about actual output of this truck; however, I know it’s a flathead six and it’s connected to a four-speed manual transmission. It’s either a 282 ci flathead six or it’s a WD21 engine which makes between 70 and 120 horsepower depending on the year, who you ask and/or where you browsed.
Curious as to why your truck-driving grandpappy was as strong as an ox? Well, if he drove something like the 1947 1 and 1/2 Ton Dodge Truck as a daily vehicle, manly strength was needed to drive it properly. No syncros, rock-hard suspension and power-assisted-nothing made this old truck difficult for the uninitiated to drive.
The 1947 1 and 1/2 Ton Dodge Truck’s only driver’s comfort was the spongy seat that contained massive springs. It does help. Granted, it’s not adjustable, but the cab is sized appropriately for small-ish to somewhat large drivers.
You have to crank the key one notch to the right, before you push the floor-mounted starter. It’s just north of the accelerator and, once you get used to it, you can feather the throttle, assisting in cold starts. You have to double-clutch each throw of the shifter, but it’s not too difficult to get used to.
One thing that does take getting used to is the lack of syncros. Down-shifting is impossible. Your best bet is to let the truck slow to a stop before you start all over again. Once you’re in third and fourth gear, the truck settles down and happily goes about its business.
I had just enough time to think about what it was to drive one of these for a living. I’ve driven trucks as old as early 1920’s Autocar Coal Truck and some trucks with 10-speed or dual gear transmissions; it never gets old. On these old trucks, the trick is: to drive so smooth, others will think its easy.
That’s where my head (and heart) were when I drove the old Dodge.
Unfortunately, after giving shaky automotive journalists a full day of service, the 1947 1 and 1/2 Ton Dodge Truck’s rear brakes began to bind a bit. I wanted more wheel-time, but that’s the way it goes.
Check out this fun video!