Legacy Power Wagon: First Drive

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If you're noticing that a growing number of small companies are targeting those who love classic pickup trucks but not their punishing ride quality, you are not alone. Remember the ICON D200 and Thriftmaster?

The latest entry in this evolving "resto-mod" landscape is Legacy Classic Trucks, a small company in Driggs, Idaho (just outside Jackson Hole, Wyo.), that fully restores old Dodge Power Wagons to better-than-new specifications without losing a single ounce of the old-school work-truck personality.

The most popular and impressive pickup in the company's growing stable is the Legacy Power Wagon, which is essentially a fully restored, brand-new vehicle with classic Power Wagon looks and strength, yet modern underpinnings.

'Improving' a Classic

The brainchild of Winslow Bent, who started the company in 2007, each Legacy Power Wagon begins with the parts of an original donor chassis, body or frame, and is assembled to the exact specifications of the customer buying it. The Power Wagons can weigh more than 7,000 pounds, depending on how they're outfitted. Although the standard features list includes heavy-duty suspension, cooling and driveline components, there is an even longer list of optional equipment that includes upgraded engine choices, high-tech electronics, all sorts of off-road and recovery gear, and even a power-take-off snow blower.

Legacy seems to be doing a pretty brisk business.

"We have a special type of truck guy that gets in touch with us," Bent said. "Not everyone understands, wants or can afford a custom-built truck like this, but once they see what we can do, that usually seals the deal."

So far the number of Legacy Power Wagons sold is split between businesses that want these impressive rigs for marketing purposes and private customers who want something formidable and unique.

Interestingly, Bent said, about half of his customers bring in their own mid-century unrestored Power Wagon (sometimes in boxes). And there's usually a family story or lineage tied to the truck that directly connects the customer to those rusted parts and pieces.

"In a lot of cases, we're dealing with a family heirloom or a piece of their family history," Bent said. "We know we have to be very careful with the truck they bring to us - that's why we take our time."

The trucks are fully reconditioned, meaning every part is brought up to like-new standards or better, from the frame all the way to the bolts used in the bed. Many of the trucks that serve as the foundation for a Legacy restoration have been ignored for several decades, in some cases sitting in a field for even longer.

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How It Drives

We had the chance to drive a custom extended cab, and it took us more than a few days to wipe the smile off our face. Not to overstate it, the rig is impressive. Our Flame Red Power Wagon had a GM 6.2-liter LSA supercharged V-8 with almost 600 horsepower and a heavy-duty four-speed automatic transmission. Throttle response was strong and progressive, without a hint of hesitation, and the noise the engine made, given the side-opening engine hood, was pronounced but not obnoxious. In fact, the engine noise was one of the top reasons we couldn't help grinning.

Our Power Wagon also had optional 40-inch Toyo Open Country tires that were perfectly matched to the size of the truck, and did not produce much tread noise at all when cruising at highway speeds despite having a fairly aggressive tread pattern. Yes, these are huge and heavy tires, but they felt smooth and well-matched. Every Legacy Power Wagon uses heavy-duty Dynatrac axles (Dana 80 in back, Dana 60 in front) with 4.56:1 gears, but they can be equipped with lockers or steeper gears if you need that kind of off-road ability.

During our short test drive, the only quibble we had was that it took a little bit of time to get used the small amount of play in the steering wheel, which is likely due to the massive tires and the amount of torque generated by the engine. Still, the truck was remarkably composed when driven on city streets or major highways. Be prepared to draw a crowd when slowing down or attract stares when traveling at speed.

We had the chance to do some low-range crawling on some local trails and found the truck felt more like a tank than a normal pickup with its huge, gripping tires and ultralow twin-stick transfer case. There's plenty of military DNA here. It's when the Power Wagon is in low range that its true heritage really shines, crawling and navigating over every obstacle and dominating its surroundings.

Although the air is pretty thin in this part of the resto-mod atmosphere, if you can afford to scale the heights, the Legacy Power Wagon is extraordinary and you'll never see another just like yours.

What It Costs

Legacy Classic Trucks builds about 12 trucks per year right now, but it's likely to ramp up production if these Legacy Power Wagons become more popular. And that wouldn't surprise us at all. The only caveat we'd add to this prediction is that these vehicles are not cheap. According to Legacy's current price list, the starting price for a regular-cab Legacy Power Wagon (with a 9-foot bed) is $185,000; extended-cab models (with a 7-foot bed) are $225,000; and the uniquely customized four-door crew-cab models (with a 5-foot bed) are $250,000. SUV enthusiasts can have a full-size Dodge Carryall model starting at $235,000.

If that price range is too steep for your bank account, be patient. Bent told us Legacy's next project will be more reasonably priced and based off the classic early 1950s Chevrolet Napco prototype. We'll have more on that project later.

It wouldn't surprise us if more companies like Legacy start popping up as more businesses discover the trucks' promotional value and the U.S. economy continues to slowly grow.

For more details and specifications about the Legacy Power Wagon, click here.

Manufacturer images

 

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Comments

Well what do ya know. At least someone still makes a Power Wagon with some kind of payload.

Nice truck. Expensive, but nice.

Huh. No stickers. No lockers. Raptor is better. And much cheaper. You can buy 4 Raptors for this price. Raptor will have 10 speed in 2019 . Maybe for sure.

Couldn't stick a Hemi in there? Had to go to a GM engine. That sucks for the Dodge boys!

I'll take a '55 Chevy second series NAPCO style please! You can even keep the supercharger and just go with a LS 1 motor for me!

@Bill
I agree. It sucks for Dodge boys and it's win for Ford. Raptor will mop the floor with this pos with 4 speed transmission. Just wait for 10 speed and more powerful Ecoboost. Just 2 more years people. Maybe three. Max.For sure . We are working on it.


@Ford engineer--Do you seriously think that someone who spends 185k for a Power Wagon is going to race or off road it? What flavor of Kool Aid are you drinking? I like these trucks but I would never spend that kind of money. I wouldn't spend the amount they want for a Raptor. Are you really a Ford engineer or is that what you call yourself on this site for an Ego Boost?

I have seen many of these old Power Wagons in fields and most could probably be restored. They are nice trucks and so are the early 50's Chevy trucks. That would be a nice project to restore these into early 1950's Chevrolet Napco prototypes.

A gm motor? Oh the humanity. Was a good article until I got to that part. Blasphemy

@Jeff S, Why are you take that guy serious? smh. This may have gone over your head but he is trying to mock Ford by saying the Raptor is many years away when it isn't. You are being trolled. He also goes by the name zveria.

@Jason
You are wrong about me. I've never used nick name zveria and Raptor is not many years away, but just 2. I don't like this Dodge. The front sign is too small compare to Ford at Raptor. Bigger is better, except leafs, shorter is more sexy. Dodge lost again.

This truck would be great for where I live. But would not use a GM engine. I'd use a Mopar crate engine or something else. I'd love to see the 4 door crew cab model.

Nice truck but ouch 185k. They did say they build to customer specs so a SBC in this truck is not surprising.

Maybe when HemiV8 finally wins a settlement he might buy a real Power Wagon like this one.

Ford engineer, AKA Tom#3.

185k and not even an air bag. Why spend 4 times as much for old technology?

@Lou BC, I did look into it. Called legacy Power Wagon spoke to Winslow Bent Super nice guy. He is a perfectionist. These trucks are awesome. I would love to own one however the tow rating was lower than I wanted @ 8,000 lbs. So I couldn't justify buying two Power Wagons. They come with MOPAR power or Cummins power too. I asked about a 6.4 apache Hemi @470 horse. The price has gone up too since I spoke to Winslow. I also like the Jeep Scrambler and Napco Chevy they just started doing.

" The Dodge Power Wagon holds a unique place in 4x4 lore. Other than the various iterations of Jeeps used quite successfully around the world during World War II that catapulted the still rising popularity of Jeeps today, the classic Power Wagon may just be the most hallowed of four-wheel-drive vehicles ever built. Although production of the Power Wagon didn’t begin until 1945 (introduced in 1946), it was a direct descendent of the Dodge 3/4-ton WC series military trucks used by GIs in combat theatres all over the world."

@Filoe
I am not a Tom and not a #3.
I am Ford engineer #1.

Betcha that Cummins v8 would make a sweet combination. I see the turbo briggs&stratton ford is betting the farm on ain't included. Dang

This is a really nice truck. My great uncle had a fleet of these building roads through the jungles of Thailand after WWII for the Army Corp of Engineers. He told me these trucks could go through the jungle where other American trucks would get stuck. He said his crew pulled out many Fords and Chevys that the other teams drove. I still see a few of these on the roads where I live and many in farm fields that could be restored. I wouldn't take too much stock in what Ford Engineer says because if he knew anything about trucks he would appreciate the history of these trucks and how good they were. True they did not have touch screens or 400 hp motors but they were great trucks and were break through trucks.

I am not a Ram fan but I have a great appreciation of these old Power Wagons. This particular model was produced from 1946 thru the mid 60's. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Power_Wagon

@Tom#3, good try but you are not a Ford engineer. We all got you figured out!

I used to have one of these trucks and I loved that thing. It had a flathead 6 in it and was overall pretty gutless. I used it as a gin-pole truck with the gin-poles off the front bumper. I poured concrete to the top of the box in the back for counter weight.
You could not kill it and it was almost impossible to get stuck with the 10,000 lb. PTO winch unless the motor drowned. I still know where it is parked, maybe...............

@Filoe
Good try, but I am not Tom#3.
I am Ford engineer.

Legacy? My brother's 1972 half ton pulled one of these Power Wagons backwards after hooking up with a chain butt to butt.

Those are some nice seats!



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