Command Car Restoration


Having been a long-time aficionado of anything with wheels, and especially military vehicles, it was no surprise to anyone (especially my wife) that I ended up acquiring a 1941 Army Command Car. As you can see in these pictures, it was in need of more than a tune up.

Rusted out chassis of a 1941 Army Command Car overgrown with weeds.          Extremely rusted front grill and body of a 1941 Army Command Car.

After receiving a lead from a friend, I found myself driving down to Northern Alabama, just outside of Decatur, to meet a kindred spirit who seemed to love restoring old vehicles as much as I do. Like me, I think Jimmy probably has motor oil coursing through his veins. What I discovered made the trip worthwhile – I found pieces to a 1941 WC-6 US Army Dodge Command Car.

Be still my beating heart, this was a diamond in the rough.

Side view of a very rusted and overgrown 1941 Army Command Car.          Rusted steering wheel and pedals with engine block and chassis of a 1941 Army Command Car. Very rusted engine block and chassis of 1941 Army Command Car.          Back half of rusted chassis of 1941 Army Command Car with an extra tire, surrounded by overgrown weeds and grass.

The rusted frame and running gear sat outside in a patch of grass, while the body lay over another unrelated frame inside the shop. The current owner was building his own custom vehicle. The original Command Car was nearly gone. I just couldn’t let that happen to a classic like this one. The vision of General George Patton standing in his Command Car was calling me to action.

With painstaking care, I loaded up the pieces to what would be my future Command Car. It was August of 2012 when I hauled this vintage heap back to Lynnville, TN. I hid it from my wife for weeks. For some reason, she is happier when I buy things that actually run.

Colonel walking up to the back of the Hot Rod Garage with the very rusted 1941 Army Command Car on a trailer behind him.          Colonel standing next to a very rusted 1941 Army Command Car in front of the Hot Rod Garage in Lynnville.

I have a bunch of photos showing every detail of the “before” car. Every inch has been documented, down to the German ID tag marking its origin. It was an army command car at the Courtland Army Airfield in Alabama and later used as a civil defense vehicle. That base closed just after WWII and the rest of the car’s journey is obscure.


Automobile restoration has always been a passionate hobby for me.

The only problem is I tend to get backed up on the restoration schedule. Also sitting in my garage are three Dodge Power Wagons, a Willys Jeep and a Willys Overland Station Wagon, all screaming for attention. You men folk out there probably understand that the only way I can get by with having all these vehicles in various states of disrepair is to have a building here in town that I have converted into my garage / workshop / office – the Hot Rod Garage as I like to call it. My wife is afraid to enter it because she thinks it has spiders and rats, but she does come in to take inventory every now and then.

Back view of very rusted body of a 1941 Army Command Car.           Very rusted chassis of 1941 Army Command Car on floor of Colonel's Hot Rod Garage with the rusted body suspended on lift over it.

Body of 1941 Army Command Car raised on car lift in Colonel's Hot Rod Garage with Dodge Powerwagon parked behind it.           Front grill of 1941 Army Command Car suspended in front of engine block.

I started to disassemble the Command Car shortly after I brought it home. A local guy in town, Wes Jones, had the pleasure of sandblasting and cleaning up the pieces for me, and he did a stellar job.

Sandblasted pieces of a 1941 Army Command Car, including the hood and fender pieces.           Sandblasted chassis of 1941 Army Command Car on the flood of Colonel's Hot Rod Garage. Sandblasted body of a 1941 Army Command Car raised up on a wooden trolly.          Miscellaneous sandblasted body pieces of a 1941 Army Command Car.

Then, Ronnie Bell painted the body, and as you can see, the difference was like night and day.

Ronnie Bell and friend standing next to newly painted body of 1941 Army Command Car sitting on trailer outside Colonel's Hot Rod Garage in Lynnville.          Newly painted army green metal tire hubs for a 1941 Army Command Car.

For reference, here’s a picture of what I hope the final outcome will look like when finished. (The same picture I showed my wife when I told her I bought it. When she saw what I actually brought home, she was not amused.)

Colonel's reference photo for a restored 1941 Army Command Car.

As usual, with business obligations the Command Car would end up taking the backseat for a while.

It’s now January 2015 . . .

So, here we are…time to get the wrenches turning on the Command Car once again. How long will it take? Well, If I could work on it every day, probably three months. But, the way I get to work on it, maybe a year. But, let’s hope sooner.

Stay with me, and we’ll see how it progresses. We’ll have it running in no time.

Command Car Update – August 2015

Completion of Colonel’s 1941 WC-6 Command Car Restoration

One Response

  1. Best of luck,nothing like the smell of old cars,and leather and horses.
    Class of ’61 here too. Great to be a customer.

    Randy Barber

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