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Dodge Power Wagon With a Blown Hemi

Lee A. Sturtevant’s 400-cube mill made even the dragsters jealous.

Lee A. Sturtevant built a 1960s Dodge Power Wagon Town Wagon with 400 cubic inches of Hemi power under the hood and watched as other sports car enthusiasts disappeared behind him.

Power Wagon Town Wagon From the 1960s

We took a trip though the Four Wheeler archives to July of 1966 where Lee A. Sturtevant convinced us why it was necessary for his Dodge Power Wagon to run around with a blown 1957 392 Hemi. To many at the time, it seemed like overkill for the tool vendor to use dragstrip-worthy amounts of horsepower for city driving and highway commutes. Others simply wondered how Lee even kept the engine cool. He began by explaining that "he just wanted a high-power truck that would go anywhere he wished with little or no trouble."

Hemi Power for the Power Wagon

Lee's wanting turned right into having as soon as he dropped the big engine between the Power Wagon's framerails, and he used the machine to draw attention to his tool firm, P.A. Sturtevant Company. The truck hauled his trailer to motorcycle events, car shows, and sports car races across the United States. After the workday was complete, he took great pleasure in jumping on the accelerator to the utter amazement of race fans in his midst. As he described it, "When the 400-inch Chrysler opens up, the 5,760-pound Dodge just eats up the road!" Onlookers would only catch a glimpse of the Power Wagon's rear end as it ripped into the distance. As far as Lee was aware, his Hemi was one of the first (if not the first ever) to use a pair of Weber DCOE carburetors on a streetable vehicle. He claimed the engine started without issue on cold Chicago mornings, had no problems idling, and reached speeds of 90 mph in a smooth manner with no fuss or bucking. Lee even told a story of sitting in line waiting to enter a car show where his engine idled happily and cool for the better part of an hour while other custom-built race cars and roadsters around him had to power down their steaming engines.

High Speed and Off-Road

Downstream of the dragster engine sat a Chrysler heavy-duty, four-speed, synchromesh transmission that was modified so the Power Wagon's transfer case could be retained. The truck gulped from its 43-gallon fuel tank and got its horses to the ground, whether it was tarmac or far from the beaten path, via "big Firestone boots" or 12x16.5-inch, eight-ply tubeless tires. This trip back to the 1960s was all about putting big power into a place where it wasn't expected.

Tell us about your favorite engine transplants. Was there an iconic 4x4 with an unforgettable mill from your formative years? Did you perform a swap yourself? Either way, let us know, and please include a high-resolution image when you send your note to editor@fourwheeler.com, we look forward to hearing about it!