1956 Powell Sport Wagon

Powell Vehicles Through the Years

A Pictorial Glimpse of Powell Vehicles

Powell Manufacturing Company (PMC) was based in southern California, widely known for its line of motor scooters that peaked in popularity in the late 1940s. From September 1954 to March 1957, Powell manufactured "Sport Wagon" pickup trucks and station wagons. In the 1960s and 1970s, they manufactured the "Powell Challenger" trail bikes. The company originally began operations in 1926, and manufactured thousand of radios, then moving on to build approximately 1,200 pickup trucks, 300 station wagons, and three motor homes, and tens of thousands of scooters and trail bikes.

The Powells’ first prototype, made in 1952, used a Chevrolet chassis and six cylinder engine to keep costs down. While they reportedly thought about using a Ford chassis, when they had to make final decisions for production, they chose to use Plymouth chassis and six-cylinder flat head engines. The chassis had an open driveshaft, better braking system, and more economical engine; the Plymouth was easy to obtain, cheap, and had a parts interchangeability across all Chrysler lines. They chose the 117 inch wheelbase chassis and engines from 1941 Q series Plymouths. Their first Powell Sports Wagon was completed in 1954, weighing around 2700 pounds with a steel body (except the fiberglass front grille, varnished oak bumpers, and oak tailgate). The Powell stood 68" high with an overall length of 168". The Powells bought Plymouth chassis, without the bodies, from local wrecking yards for $45 and up, shipped them to their California factory, stripped down and reconditioned the chassis, and sent the engines to a Los Angeles firm for an exacting rebuild. The steel body was made in special jigs, with few complex curves that would have added expense. The fiberglass was molded by a boat shop; the chrome came from Fords in wrecking yards.

By late 1956 the Powell had ceased production. Not because of financial troubles, or stock embezzlement problems such as those that had killed so many of the post WWII car ventures; the company had simply run out of raw material from which to build their product ... the local supply of 1941 Plymouth chassis in rebuildable condition was rapidly depleting. The company closed its doors with many hundreds of orders still on hand.

Video - The Powell Sport Wagon

Powell Pickup & Sport Wagon (1954-1956)

1956 Powell Pickup
1956 Powell Pickup

1956 Powell Pickup
1956 Powell Pickup

1956 Powell Sport Wagon<
1956 Powell Sport Wagon

1956 Powell Sport Wagon<
1956 Powell Sport Wagon

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Acura Automobiles Through the Years Reviewed by Gene Wright on . Rating: 5