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Thursday, July 16, 2015

A ’49 Dodge with a Corvette Heart Makes for One Tough Truck


 Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.

When this Dodge Power Wagon rolled off the production line in 1949, its life would have been fairly predictable. A slice of towing, a bit of hauling…work, work,work…and a side order of more work. 
But life is unpredictable, and today this 66-year-old truck lives a much more leisurely existence. It ditched the ancient straight-six for a modern Corvette V8, fitted some wild and crazy suspension bits, underwent a nip tuck, and today it’s verifiably one tough, rock-crawling machine. It’s also currently up for grabs on eBay, though it won’t come cheap.


The hardy rig was built in 2012 by Wyoming’s Legacy Classic Trucks, purveyors of many classic, heavy duty Power Wagons, though somehow this looks a bit more “heavy duty” than most. Underneath its two-foot chopped chassis lies a custom 12-inch King coilover suspension, which supports military-spec Dana 60 axles, ARB air-locking differentials, and massive 39.5 inch Super Swamper tires. With a three-link setup articulating in the front, and a four-link setup in the rear, it’s safe to say this Power Wagon can crawl some rocks. And it sure has the power to do so.
Underneath that Dodge bonnet is a 6.2-liter Chevrolet LS3—the same you might find in a C6 Corvette. That may be sacrilege to Mopar and Bowtie fans alike, but the punchy mill churns out a feisty 480 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Despite rather tall 4.56 gears, it’s allegedly enough to shuttle this Power Wagon brute across a dirt trail at over 100 miles per hour. Uh, yikes.


Inside, it’s what you might expect from a lightly updated and restored Power Wagon, apart from the addition of the go-fast Corbeau Racing seats and harnesses–a good indication you’re not sitting in some old-timey parade vehicle. Shift work is taken care of thanks to a TH400 automatic transmission and transfer case, which is controlled by a B&M competition shifter and twin transfer-case levers.

The cost? Drumroll please. $79,000…though when you factor in the parts and hours of dedication to build this rig, perhaps that’s not such a big number at all.