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SickX6: Is this Cummins 1942 Dodge Power Wagon the coolest six-wheeler ever?

Posted in Features on September 15, 2015 Comment (0)
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Winslow Bent and the team at Legacy Classic Trucks in Wilson, Wyoming, have been kicking out some incredible restored and customized vintage Dodge Power Wagons over the years, and one of the latest and greatest is this 1942 Dodge WC-63 Power Wagon 6x6.

The rig was built for a customer, who "wanted something a little different," says Winslow, the founder of Legacy Classic Trucks. A little different is what the customer got. This isn't just a faux 6x6 with only one rear axle driving—this is the real deal. "We wanted a true 6x6, not a dummy axle in the rear," says Winslow. To accomplish that end, the team at Legacy Classic Trucks procured a World War II-era '42 Dodge 6x6 chassis and quite simply civilianized it with a '46 Power Wagon cab and cargo bed.

So was it hard to fit the '46 cab and bed? No and yes, in that order. "Putting the Power Wagon Cab on the military Dodge chassis could not have been easier. It was fitting the bed that was tough," Winslow says. To complete the task of fitting the cargo bed, the team had to undertake some creative engineering. And when the bed was mounted, it's not like Winslow and his team could saunter over to their local Dodge dealer and grab a pair of rear 6x6 fenders. They had to use more creative engineering in that area, too. There was a lot of creativity utilized in this rig.

But wait, there's more—like the Cummins 4BT turbodiesel engine. We'll get to that in a minute.

We had a chance to see the Power Wagon in action in Moab, Utah, and it was a sight to behold. From the sweet sound of the Cummins to the slinky rear suspension as it crawled over rocks, the truck worked as well as it looked.

Read on to learn more about this cool machine. Oh, and Winslow says, "We have enough parts to make three more of these trucks." So if you want one, you'd better act fast. And bring $150,000. Yeah, sometimes cool isn't inexpensive.

Dodge never produced a civilian 6x6 that we know of, but we think that if they did, it may have looked like this. The crew at Legacy Classic Trucks did a great job with the flow and fitment of the body in relation to the 6x6 chassis. The gorgeous paint was applied by Straight Edge Auto Restoration in St. Anthony, Idaho.

The front axle is the stock 8 3/4-inch ring gear unit and uses 5.83 gears. The factory drum brakes were retained but the brake system was re-plumbed with a dual-circuit system and a GM hydroboost was added. The steering system uses a '50 Power Wagon pitman arm (due to space) and Saginaw reverse-swing power steering (due to the fact that the steering system is behind the axle).

The front suspension utilizes the stock leaf springs from 1942 and a pair of modern Monroe shocks.

That's a lot of driveshafts! The NP200 dual-output T-case is divorced from the '98 Dodge truck-sourced NV4500 five-speed manual transmission. This T-case has a 1.98:1 low-range ratio, and of course, it's manually shifted. The team at Legacy Classic Trucks wanted to use a four-speed transmission, but with the 5.83 axle gears and the rpm range of the Cummins turbodiesel, top speed would've been limited without overdrive.

Here you can see how the rear driveshafts travel from the T-case to the axles. The axles are the stock units with a 8 3/4-inch ring gear diameter, drum brakes, and 5.83 gears. All total, the truck has five driveshafts.

The rear suspension consists of a single leaf-spring assembly on each side of the rear of the truck and the axles are fastened to each end of the leaf-spring assembly. This assembly "bobbles" on a center axis. This is original to the WC-63. "After 70 years, of sitting, the suspension got right back to work," Winslow says. He goes on to say that the benefits of this suspension is that "the rear axles can bobble and walk to match terrain."

"Spinning five driveshafts and three axles is no easy task," Winslow says, but the Cummins 3.9L 4BT turbodiesel engine gets it done. "The little Cummins has the perfect amount of torque [and] the torque and turbo whine is sublime," he notes. The engine sits on custom motor mounts that include vibration isolators from a forklift application. The team also installed a 2-inch body lift not only to aid in fitment of the body to the frame, but also to isolate the cab from engine vibration. The Cummins exhales through a mufflerless 3-inch-diameter exhaust and the 'plant is cooled by the original Power Wagon radiator, along with a single electric 18-inch-diameter Spal fan. The NV4500 transmission bolted right to the engine without the need for an adapter.

Inside, the cabin has been modernized, to a degree, and includes a pair of Corbeau Sport seats, carpeting, a Nardi steering wheel, and custom Classic Instruments Moal Bomber gauges that include EGT and turbo boost. There's also an Alpine head unit feeding Alpine speakers and a '98 Dodge shifter to row through the gears.

The rig rolls on 36x12.50R16LT Interco Super Swamper TSL Radial tires that are mounted on Budd split-rim wheels. Winslow and his team fabbed the stock-looking rear fenders from a set of triple-axle trailer fenders. The fenders underwent a lot of work including shortening and narrowing to match the style of the factory front fenders. The cargo box bedsides also had to be modified to accept the fenders.

In case six wheels won't get the truck through something, there's a Warn 16.5ti winch.

Mounting the wood-floored '46 Power Wagon cargo bed to the '42 WC-63 chassis turned out to be one of the biggest challenges, but it was overcome by creative engineering. Among other things, the team had to remove 24 inches of frame from the rear of the truck. The end result looks like it could've rolled off the assembly line. Located in the front of the 9-foot-long, 50-inch-wide bed is a custom 38-gallon fuel tank.

At A Glance

Vehicle: '42 Dodge WC-63 Power Wagon
Owner: Wishes to remain anonymous
Stomping grounds: N/A
Build time: 9 months

Engine: 3.9L Cummins 4BT turbodiesel I-4
Transmission: NV4500
Transfer case(s): NP200 two-spd
Low range ratio(s): 1.98:1
Crawl ratio(s): 64.8:1
Front axle/differential: Chrysler/8¾-inch ring gear, 5.83 gears
Rear axle/differential: Dual Chrysler/8¾-inch ring gear, 5.83 gears

Front: Leaf spring, Monroe shocks
Rear: "Bobble" leaf springs, no shocks
Steering: Saginaw reverse-rotation power steering

Tires: 36x12.50R16LT Interco Super Swamper TSL Radial
Wheels: 16-inch Budd split-rim

Lighting: 7-inch halogen, 2-inch cowl lamps
Armor: Factory front bumperettes
Cool stuff: Warn 16.5ti winch, custom Classic Instruments gauges, Nardi steering wheel, Corbeau Sport seats

PhotosView Slideshow


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