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1954 Dodge Power Wagon - Power Trip

Posted in Project Vehicles on April 1, 2008
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When Tony Squier of Mena, Arkansas, purchased this '54 Dodge Power Wagon, it had been sitting under a tarp, half restored, for 15 years. As you can imagine, it wasn't in the best shape. That all changed over the next nine months as Squier transformed the old Wagon to better-than-new condition. Not only did he painstakingly restore every component of the truck, he went a step further and completed a radical modification by swapping in a fuel-injected 5.7L Hemi engine.

The result is a classic rig that oozes vintage Power Wagon style, while at the same time sports modern performance. You could say that Squier is on a power trip every time he drives it.

Aside from the 37x10.0-16 Super Swamper TSL tires and Hanson custom front and rear winch bumpers, Squier's Power Wagon looks bone-stock on the outside. That brilliant red paint is Fiesta Red, which was used on '91-'92 Hondas. It was supplied by Spurgin Southern Auto of Mena, and applied by Vinnie DelMastro. If it isn't painted red, chances are it's black spray-on bedliner that was applied by Rob Hall of Atomic 4x4 in Austin, Texas. Interesting story: When Squier purchased the Power Wagon it didn't have a cargo box. Fortunately for him, he met Bill Hargen of Tucson, Arizona, during a trip to Moab. Hargen had a utility trailer made from the exact bed that Squier needed. After procuring the box, it took five weeks to recondition and paint it.

Making the 5.7L Hemi V-8 fit and work took an incredible amount of engineering. Just to make room for the engine, Squier and Carl Ashmore had to fab a new firewall and recess it 6 inches, which resulted in much of the cab floor having to be removed. The engine sits on TeraFlex motor mounts that were initially designed for a Hemi-to-Wrangler TJ conversion. The steering box was moved 1.5 inches through the frame and then boxed. Dave's Radiator had to recore the factory radiator to work with the new pressurized cooling system. Surrounding the radiator is the factory shroud with a custom 18-inch electric fan tucked inside. The engine draws fuel from an '04 Wrangler TJ fuel tank and that fuel is pumped via the standard Hemi fuel pump. Behind the engine is a 545 RFE automatic transmission, and it too required some creative engineering to make it fit and work. It rests underneath a custom tunnel on custom mounts. It's shifted via a '90 Mustang shifter and cooled by a B&M cooler. It's a good thing that Tony Squier owns Squier Inc., which manufactures fuel-injection engine harnesses, because there's a lot of electronics on the 5.7L Hemi and 545 RFE transmission that had to be sorted out to make the combination work in the 'Wagon. The fuse block harness, under-dash harness, and gauge cluster harness are all highly modified units that began life as an '04 TJ harness. Ultimately, the computer was programmed to match the new components, and the truck has a fully functioning emissions system that doesn't throw "check engine" lights. Squier is proud to say that the system will even pass the strict California emissions requirements.

PhotosView Slideshow
The stock divorced two-speed transfer case was relocated 2.5 feet rearward to make room for the new transmission. This placed it under the Power Wagon's cargo box. Naturally this new position required new driveshafts, and all three were custommade by Universal Joint Specialists of Fort Smith.

Owner: Tony & Linda Squier
Vehicle/Model: '54 Dodge Power Wagon
Estimated Value: $65,000

Type: 5.7L Hemi V-8
Aspiration: Fuel injection, ceramic-coated factory headers,2.25-inch dual exhaust with custom catalytic converters
Output, hp/torque (estimated): 350/372

Transmission: 545 RFE
Transfer case: Stock two-speed

Front: Stock leaf springs and shocks
Rear: Stock leaf springs and shocks

Front: Dana 70, 95/8-inch ring gear/open
Rear: Dana 70, 95/8-inch ring gear/open
Ring-and-pinion: 3.90:1

Wheels: Stock 16-inch steel
Tires: 37x10.0-16 Super Swamper TSL

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