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Car Spotter: Sam Spade finds a D-200 “Power Wagon”

by Tom Buss

I was just sitting there, see? Back in September of ’14. Beautiful sunny day. Glass of wine in my hand. An open-air lunch with my family. On a Hawaiian Island. Maui, to be exact. I was just sitting there, see, mindin’ my own business. And then sherolled in. She was tall. Mature. Weathered, but all there. Solid, like a Cuban coconut.

Dodge D-200 Power Wagon

She was red. Faded red, with a white roof and white-and-chrome trim. Said “Dodge 200 Power Wagon” on her flank. Made me sit straight up in my chair. Heck, made me run out in the street to get a closer look at this dame. I almost got hit by a Kia, but it would have been worth it.

D200 Power Wagon

No rust. Lifted. The opposed wiper arms, grille and likely aftermarket side marker lights whispered “1968” to me. A guy was driving. Had a girl in the middle and a dog on the right. Romantic. I knew that dog might get the middle seat someday, but for now, everyone had their place.

She had aftermarket wheels, a 128” wheelbase and a ¾ ton chassis. Four wheel drive, absolutely. She could have had a 251” six, a 318 or a 383. I’ll never know. She probably had a 4-speed tranny.

Dodge Power Wagon D-200

I managed to fire off three photos before she drove off into the mid-day sun. Of all the trucks on all the islands in all the world, she had to rumble past me…. I just stood there in the street and watched her roll away. She’s with me now, in my dreams. Palm trees, white sand and that red pick-up truck.

Thanks to Ed Botchie and Dave Zatz for guiding me back to 1968. Thank you, Rick Blaine, and thank you, Sam Spade.

This story originally ran in the National Chrysler Products Club Journal.

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