General George S. Patton is one of the greatest leaders in U.S. military history. “Old Blood and Guts” as he was called may be best known for leading the U.S. Army in the Mediterranean during World War II, but he was a versatile man of many talents. He designed the Model 1913 Cavalry Saber, fenced, competed in the modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics, and was an avid horseback rider.
Throughout his military career, Patton saw the U.S. military move from primarily using horses for transportation to using automobiles. But he wouldn’t live long enough to see those vehicles be made into popular civilian models with cult-like followings, tragically dying after suffering for weeks with paralyzing injuries following a minor car accident in 1945.
General Patton’s Dodge WC-57 Command Car – Offered Without Reserve
This year’s Americana Auction featured a WC-57 (Lot 7591) modified for General George Patton with armor plating and high-volume horns and siren. It is a command car that was part of the 3rd Army’s headquarters’ motor pool with a 4×4 drivetrain and 230 cid, inline six-cylinder engine that generates 92 horsepower. The model features “three-star general” and “3rd Army HW” pennants as well a Browning .30 caliber machine gun.
The Dodge hasn’t been in the possession of the U.S. government since the war ended. According to the auction website, in the decade following the war, Guy Franz Arend began collecting artifacts from the war that were significant in Belgium. Arend opened the WWII Victory Memorial Museum in Belgium in 1975. The model was on display there.
Fast forward 25 years and the collection was acquired by the Dean Kruse Foundation WWII Victory Museum. While there, the museum curator met with a former Army mechanic who recalled performing maintenance on that WC-57 and confirmed that it was used by Patton.
The sale of the WC-57 benefits the J. Kruse Education Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to assist returning veterans and K-12 students explore possible careers.