Someone at DaimlerChrysler has a job that involves spelunking through the musty, bat-guano-stained archives looking for rich veins of heritage to mine. Names from the past seem to be showing up on new Chryslers and Dodges with increasing frequency. The 300C? Made in ’57, made now. HEMI? It was the classic Mopar muscle engine, now it’s reborn for the 21st century. Magnum, Charger, R/T… can the re-born Omni, Diplomat, Dynasty and Aries be too far off?The latest name to be de-mummified is Power Wagon, once the appellation Dodge hung on the most brutally capable, four-wheel-drive trucks it made. Now it’s back on, well, the most brutally capable, four-wheel-drive truck it has ever made.
The more things change, the more temptation there is go grave-robbing.
Aftermarket ideas, OEM execution
Pick up a copy of 4 Wheel & Off-Road or Four Wheeler and you’ll understand the genesis of this new Power Wagon: The vast off-road aftermarket. The Power Wagon is, to oversimplify only slightly, a 3/4-ton Dodge Ram 2500 powered by the outstanding, 345-horsepower, 5.7-liter, HEMI V-8 equipped with most of the aftermarket parts an off-road enthusiast wants and wouldn’t mind folding into his new truck financing package. They start with the Ram 2500 and not the 1/2-ton 1500 because it features the one thing all hardcore off-roaders crave: a solid front axle.
The 1500 4x4’s independent front suspension may be more supple and sophisticated, but suppleness and sophistication aren’t generally considered virtues among off-roaders.
So atop the familiar Dodge Ram Heavy Duty 4x4 structure (either regular or Quad Cab) the Power Wagon gets a whole dumpster full of classic off-road lust items. That includes good stuff like electrically operated locking front and rear differentials, a trick electric disconnecting front sway bar for those hairy times when more wheel travel is needed, 33-inch tall LT285/70R17 BFGoodrich all terrain tires, tow hooks, a 4.56:1 final gear ratio, transfer case and fuel tank skid plates, and a Warn 12,000-pound winch. Unfortunately it doesn’t include the indispensable tubular steel side rock rails that Dodge has bizarrely left in the Mopar accessories catalog and does include an ugly and unnecessary set of roof-mounted running lights.