Ultimate Fishing Rig: 1956 Powell Sport Wagon

1956-powell-sport-wagon

Every once in a while, one of our readers sends in something we have never seen before. We love it when that happens because we get to do some research and learn something new. Well, today Mark H tipped us off to a 1956 Powell Sport Wagon that is listed here on craigslist in Hoover, Alabama. The seller’s asking price might seem steep, but we believe that also includes P-81 Scooter. Either way, the story behind how the Sport Wagon came to be makes this one worth a look. Thanks for sending this in Mark!

powell-p-81-scooter

Powell was known for their scooters before the war, but with increasing competition, they looked for new ways to bring in revenue. Most cash strapped companies wouldn’t even think about developing a new vehicle, but that is exactly what Powell did. They wanted a truck that drove like a car and that could be used for hauling or hunting. But, most importantly it had to be cheap.

plymouth-six-cylinder

So instead of developing their own chassis and drive train, Powell scoured junkyards for 1941 Plymouths. They would pull the bodies off, refurbish the mechanicals, and fit their simple steel body and wooden bumpers. By keeping costs down they were able to pass the savings onto their customers. We love the concept, but we are not sure how successful it was in practice. They did sell quite a few though (around 2,000) and even offered a station wagon variant. Eventually the ’41 Plymouth supply dried up and production was halted.

fishing-pole-drawer

This photo is the one that really caught our attention when we first looked at this truck. Even though the Sport Wagon was meant to be simple and cheap, it also had a few innovations like these novel pull-out tubular drawers which allowed the owner to carry long items such as fishing poles. This one appears to have dividers to haul tools or parts. Options were few, but with the factory camper shell this could be the ultimate fishing rig! It is a shame that the Powell brothers were not able to find another donor to stick under their truck because the whole idea was a grand one.

Sources: Allpar, Powell Registry

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Comments

  1. Jimmy

    Very cool and I like the bike too. Wooden bumpers, what a great idea! I feel theres some Land Rover influence here although they were aluminium covered.

    • Dustin

      Not based on the Land Rover — this company didn’t have the funds to have fancy presses so they used simple presses.

  2. jim s

    very interesting. i wonder why they picked the 41 plymouth instead of some other chassis/drivetrain? i think this might be fun to own/drive. selling the bike would get the cost down some. great find

  3. lotus in olivenhain

    welp……………this is a new one on me……guess I don’t know everything. At first when I saw the name Powell I thought Powel Crosley…….wrong again…one ell.
    So, I can’t spell and I never heard of this cool little rig………

  4. Dave

    Nice looking truck. New one on me too. Never heard of it.

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    Totally functional. Not much in the looks department but will probably run forever. One thing’s for sure: you won’t likely find another one of these in your neighborhood.

  6. Brian

    When I was a kid, this was “the” truck I wanted! Yeah, it’s a steep price, but where ya gonna find another one! Even the color scheme looks good! Great score- good job!

  7. Dolphin Member

    Never heard of this, but I’m glad someone has—Brian, who even wanted one.

    I like the clean looks, and I’d really like to take one to my next Show ‘N Shine and let the puzzled looks and questions come rolling in.

  8. Kemosobe

    A couple of years ago the annual LeMay Open House featured 2 of the Powell trucks. That was the first I had heard of them.

  9. Julian

    Do I detect some Land Rover in the cab and bonnet?

  10. Wagoner

    @ Julian- pure coincidence, since the Powell predates the 1958 debut of the Land Rover Series II. But yes, the lines of the Powell top and LR removable pickup cab are similar, as are the door window frames, flat top fenders and the waistline radius.

  11. dave

    how is it in alabama and made in compton

  12. Don Andreina

    Never seen one of those before. Love this site.

  13. Michael J. Benardo

    They like ChryCo’s engineering, (Chrysler products were the best engineered), and they chose the 41 Plymouth because of cost, and availability, and, to have a standardized inventory of parts to sell off. Supposedly, when the supply of 41 Plymouths began to run out, there were thoughts of using 1940 and 46 – 48 chassis, (they were pretty much the same except for the front suspension, but styling was not), but they decided costs would be too high, so they called it quits.

  14. Dustin

    I saw one of these in the background of an American Pickers episode a couple years ago and thought why didn’t Mike and Frank feature it in the show?

  15. Buddy T

    It’s back up for sale!

    https://littlerock.craigslist.org/cto/d/1956-powell-sportwagon/6656526212.html

    A little more paint and touch-ups done.

  16. John Keith

    I’ve seen one in marginal condition in Central Texas near the town of Mason on 183… Just couldn’t figure it out although I vagely remember something like it in my past years…

    Just found it tonight on Pintrest…

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