Bryan Clarke has built a number of Jeeps, so he knows the formula for success on the trail. Gearing, lockers, big axles. He owns Tire World in Salt Lake City, so he knows all about big tires too. This time he wanted something unique, so he built this 1952 Dodge Power Wagon. Long before we saw Clarke pull up to our agreed meeting spot, we heard him coming. The 6.0L under the hood of his Power Wagon makes four times as much horsepower as the original 230ci flathead six-cylinder.
Bryan Clarke combined a modern, proven drivetrain with classic styling to make a vehicle that works as good as it looks. The V-8 engine, overdrive transmission, Atlas transfer case, and 1-ton axles make for an excellent trail machine.
The engine bay in the Power Wagon doesn’t have a lot of space, so Clarke had to get creative with the exhaust when he shoehorned the 6.0L Gen III Chevy engine under the hood. The headers are from Kartek, and they are mated to a custom exhaust from Main Street Muffler with V-band clamps.
A Mishimoto electric pushes air through the original radiator tanks, which were reworked by J-Mac Radiator in Salt Lake to keep the V-8 engine running cool whether at a crawl on the trail or at freeway speeds. No fenders are used on the Power Wagon to maximize visibility and limit the sheetmetal damage.
Clarke used a variety of hot rod parts on his Power Wagon since they are readily available and fit the theme for the vehicle. The headlights are from the Early Ford Store in San Dimas, California, and have integrated turn signals.
Dual Wilwood master cylinders are mounted on the firewall, one for the front brakes and one for the rear. Clarke reports that they work OK but if space allowed he would have run a vacuum booster and 1-ton master cylinder to move more fluid.
The engine breathes through a Spectre intake, which was mounted on the hood since it didn’t really fit under it. Inside the spun aluminum canister is an oiled cotton gauze air filter.
The front suspension consists of YJ Wrangler leaf springs mounted on Blue Torch Fabrication hangers to sit outboard of the frame. Tubular shock mounts hold Pro Comp shocks. Keep it simple!
The front axle is a full-width Dana 60 from Boyce Equipment that came with kingpin knuckles, 5.13 gears, and an ARB Air Locker. The low ride height was not conducive to putting the tie rod above the knuckles, since it wanted to share space with the leaf springs.
The Power Wagon use a Saginaw steering box that PSC reversed to allow the pitman arm to point backwards instead of forward. A Currie Enterprises brace holds the steering box firmly in place and distributes the load to both framerails.
Much like the rings of a tree, the Power Wagon has layers of paint to indicate the years it has lived in different vocations. It was originally a Roy County fire truck, before being put to work at Alta Ski Resort. Clarke found the truck in a field just waiting for the next chapter of its life.
The interior is a mix of old and new, with Honda bucket seats and custom door panels made to pay homage to Clarke’s homeland, Australia. The ididit tilt-steering column holds a Grant steering wheel, and a Lokar shifter rows the 4L80E transmission.
Stewart-Warner Wings gauges are period correct for the Power Wagon and fit the overall theme. They are fitted in custom aluminum panels that add to the cockpit feel inside the old Dodge cab.
Midnight 4x4 built a custom skidplate from 1 1/2-inch DOM tubing and 1/4-inch dimple-died plate to protect the 4L80E transmission and Atlas II transfer case. It ties into the framerails using leaf spring bushings that allow it to flex as the engine transmits torque to the chassis.
After owning short-wheelbase Jeeps, Clarke enjoys the ample storage space provided by the Ford truck bed on the back of his Power Wagon. Note how the wheelwell is pushed towards the back for an increase in wheelbase and departure angle.
An RCI fuel cell holds 19 gallons of gasoline for the 6.0L engine. Clarke learned quickly that the cell would slosh fuel out of the breather during extreme rockcrawling, so he built his own extension from copper pipe to keep the fuel in the cell where it belongs.
The taillights are from DCM Classics in Michigan and complete the vintage look of the truck.
The rear suspension uses YJ Wrangler leaf springs on top of the axles. The combination of torque and 40-inch-tall Goodyears meant that an antiwrap bar from Blue Torch Fab was required to limit axlewrap.
The rear axle is a venerable 14-bolt. It is a later-model axle that came from the Boyce Equipment with disc brakes and has been upgraded with a Detroit Locker and 5.13 gears. With the fuel cell and the battery in the bed, there is space under the truck for a transmission cooler and air tank where they are protected and out of the way.
1952 Dodge Power Wagon
Engine: Chevrolet 6.0L V-8
Transfer Case: Advance Adapters Atlas II
Front Axle: Dana 60 with 5.13 gears and ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: 14-bolt with 5.13 gears and Detroit Locker
Springs & Such: Wrangler YJ leaf springs and Pro Comp shocks (front); factory leaf springs and Pro Comp shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 40x13.5R17 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R on 17x9 MRW steel
Steering: PSC steering box, ididit steering column, Grant steering wheel
Lighting: Headlights from Early Ford Store, DCM Classics taillights
Wilwood dual master cylinders, Painless wiring harness, Stewart-Warner Wings gauges, Ford truck bed, RCI fuel cell, MagnaFlow mufflers, Optima YellowTop battery, Derale transmission cooler