As much as I love the benefits and features of new vehicles, there is soft spot in my heart for old trucks. I can’t exactly explain my feelings, but it is almost like this segment of the automotive world has stories to tell, and I like to listen. Sometimes improvements can be made to vintage iron without losing the story, and a new chapter can begin. Such is the case with the venerable Dodge Power Wagon.
My first Power Wagon encounter was with a ’50s M37, a ¾-ton, four-wheel-drive pickup with an overall gear ratio low enough to rotate the earth. Maximum speed was 50 km/h. I loved that truck, but alas it was not destined to make the journey in the mid-’80s from B.C. to Alberta. I still mourn the loss.
There must be a country song in that story somewhere …
When I stumbled across Legacy Power Wagon’s website, my interest was piqued, and a long-forgotten flame was reignited. Immediately, I sent Legacy’s founder Winslow Bent a note and asked him about his motivation for starting a unique company that builds niche-market trucks.
Winslow responded, “To me, the Dodge Power Wagon represents the rugged ambition of postwar (Second World War) Americans. The Power Wagon was a highly capable vehicle and was the first of its kind. It had high-clearance, four-wheel drive, winch, and rear PTO for running implements. It was affordable both to large companies that needed fleet vehicles, as well as farmers, ranchers, foresters. The Power Wagon was at home on any terrain.
“Quickly the international market recognized this, as well. Power Wagons were exported all over the world, often under the name ‘Fargo’ rather than Dodge. They were instrumental in the building of the Alcan Highway, the Alaskan Pipeline, and oil exploration on the Arabian Peninsula,” said Winslow.
“The design of the Power Wagon is elegant, yet functional. From the front, the vehicle just flows: The huge front fenders, headlamps and cowl lights. The bed is contrasting with simple hard lines, and the long running boards seem to tie it all together.
“When I began Legacy, I felt like trucks were treated as second-class citizens in the car restoration world. I wanted to bring the standards of excellence that I saw in concourse European cars to the truck market. While many scoffed at first, the functionality and uniqueness of these trucks is hard to argue with.
“The Power Wagon draws crowds and interest from people of all walks of life. With our improvements to safety and drivability, these trucks are, once again, back on the road, pulling trailers, off-roading, and living up to their fabled reputation. We have built over 30 of these trucks and people are amazed at how easy and fun they are to drive. With a limited supply of trucks available and the ability to only build about 12 to 15 a year, the Legacy Power Wagon Conversion is a very unique and special vehicle.”
With an old vehicle, some purists would suggest that restoration is the only real option. Winslow has thrown this convention out the window, and the result is nothing short of spectacular.
For starters, there are five different body style options — the Regular Cab, the Extended Cab, the Crew Cab, the Carryall, and, of course, the M37. Some of these cab configurations did not exist originally, so Winslow has taken the customization of these trucks to a new level.
With a modern drivetrain, these trucks are civilized enough for everyday use. The options lineup reads like a who’s who list in the automotive power playbook. How about a 430-horsepower, 6.7-litre Chrysler small block with fuel injection and a five-speed manual transmission?
Perhaps you like the styling of the Power Wagon, but you like Chevrolet motivation. The 6.2-litre, 430-horsepower Chevrolet LS3 injected small block with a four-speed automatic transmission may be the ticket.
Or if you like the smell of diesel in the morning, what about the 3.9-litre Cummins with an intercooled high pressure turbo, delivering 500 pound/feet of torque1 Transfer Case, Dynatrac Axles with 4.56 gears, Tom Wood driveshafts, ARB air locking differentials and premium Warn locking hubs.
Fearful the robust and rotund Power Wagon just wouldn’t stop like a new car?
The trucks have dual circuit power brakes, 13.25-inch vented brake rotors, dual piston Wilwood calipers, Lokar emergency brake linkage and stainless steel brake lines.
What would an old/new truck be without some great options like a GPS and navigation system, satellite phone, heated seats, air conditioning, wood interior package, stainless steel tool box, retractable entry steps, an in-bed gooseneck towing hitch, on-board welder, a PTO driven snow blower, portable sawmill, cab mounted shooting rest and a gun rack?
For the automotive enthusiast who needs one of the baddest trucks available, a Legacy Power Wagon could be it. I’m sure Winslow would be happy to help.