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Rare 1956 Powell Pickup


This 1956 Powell is one of approximately 1,200 units built in Compton, California. These pickups were assembled starting in 1954 on a stripped/rebuilt 1940 or ’41 Ply­mouth sedan chassis with an inline 201 cubic inch six-cylinder. Some models used Plymouth engines, others used Dodge, and some had a Chrysler industrial engine. The Powell featured an all-steel body with a fiberglass nose (this one’s is missing). Oak bumpers and tailgates were stock. Later they were deemed unsafe and replaced with metal pieces. Find it here on craiglist for $3,000 out of Mishawaka, Indiana.


The present owner saved this truck from a junkyard so that it wouldn’t be crushed. It was on ebay in May and bidding ended at $913.56.  The owner says that this truck is a “basket case”.  The grill is missing, but the owner has a diagram with dimensions and feels some fiberglass shops could make this piece?  The windows slide but half of each side is missing, as are the door panels and some interior pieces.  There may be only 150 of these left though so surely this one is worth saving!

Here’s you chance to have a truly rare and unique American made truck. Take a look at the Powell Registry for more photos of these trucks in various conditions.



  1. Mark E

    These are rare and I’m glad this one was saved from crushing but I’ve seen them restored for around $15k. After you finished the grille, tailgate, windows and other unobtainium pieces you wouldn’t have lots left to restore & paint the body and do the interior…

    On the other hand, those fishing rod drawers were an option and the last one I saw had only one.

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    • Mark E

      After looking at the ebay pics I would say the final bid price is about right for this vehicle. For a Chevy, Ford or Dodge pickup it would definitely be a parts vehicle. I hope some Powell enthusiast gets it who can either restore it themselves or at least put the parts to good use restoring another one!

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  2. jimbosidecar

    I’d never heard of them before today. The glass nose looks a little like an old Dodge pickup. Maybe a metal beater could make one fit.

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  3. randy

    Slide out toolboxes, new trucks should have these.

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    • Mark E

      Dodge and Nissan have/had built-in ones though.

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      • randy

        The Ford Courier as well. where have they gone? I like the hidden ones, that box in your post looks like an easy target.
        Thanks for the reply

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  4. Mike D

    I also have never heard of them.. would probably keep a 6 in it, ( Chrysler slant 6?) 3 or 4 speed tranny I’d be tempted to go with a wild Chrysler early 70s color, bench seat.. good to go

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  5. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I was imagining when the framing hammer handle sticks up about a foot from the tail light, and you are trying to pull that sliding tool box out of there. It could happen.

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  6. hhaleblian

    I’m half tempted to have this vehicle just for the James Bond ram bars. A little hydraulic and electric work and just think of the surprise coming to Jesus party I could have with that tailgating texter.

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  7. joeinthousandoaks

    Wow something I have never seen before.

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  8. fred wilharm

    If you’ve been around here long enough you’ve seen it…

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  9. Leon

    I believe there also is a station wagon. More rare ???

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  10. Leon

    The original Straight outta Compton

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  11. HoA Howard A Member

    This is an unbelievable find and kudos to the owner for having the insight to save this. I’m sure someone, somewhere has some parts for this, or can be made, and if there ever was a vehicle that should be restored, this is it. I mean, it even looks like a Powell truck, unlike some of the units that come through here. I’ve seen these, but never saw those slide out drawers. Looks like kind of a shady idea, but clearly unique use of wasted space. I can only hope it gets restored to original.

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  12. Vince Habel

    It has been a long time since I have seen one.

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  13. dj

    One sold here in Birmingham last year with a complete restoration for 15k. I’m like the other poster, you’d have more than that in this one.

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  14. Howard

    I believe there is one of these in the museum in Hershey, Pa.

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  15. Sukey

    Never seen of of these before
    It’s ugly but those slide out tubes are neat

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  16. Michael J. Benardo

    I am familiar with these. Most had 1 slide out tube, but a second one was optional, and they did indeed start with 41 Plymouths, but later also used 40s, as they were the same except for minor styling differences. The 42, and 46 – 48 Plymouth had a revised front suspension, which might be why they didn’t use those. I always thought it was a pretty sharp looking truck.

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  17. Michael J. Benardo

    Forgot one item the 41 ChryCo cars had that the 40 did not: Safety bead rims. All rims today are made this way, but Chrysler pioneered it in 41.

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