Tuesday, March 25, 2014

15k: Giant Pez Dispenser: 1956 Powell Sport Wagon

From 1954 to 1957 a small enterprise in Compton, CA called Powell  Manufacturing Company built a vehicle called the Sport Wagon.  It used a 1941 Plymouth chassis...no really, each Powell was built on a used 1941 Plymouth chassis that had been reclaimed from a junkyard with a new steel body was plopped atop the used chassis.  You won't find many Powells just sitting around on your local craigslist, but when you do come across one they can be fairly affordable for the level or rarity and coolness.  Find this 1956 Powell Sport Wagon (and potentially a scooter as well) offered for $14,999 via craigslist located in Hoover, AL.

The Powell Sport Wagon is an interesting piece of El Camino history - since is was arguably the first pickup truck on a car chassis.  The construction materials used in the Powell are also novel, with a fiberglass nose piece and a varnished oak front bumper. It may look like someone randomly used a 2x4 for a bumper on this car, but that is a factory original piece.

This Powell is offered with a P-81 scooter, another Powell built classic from the 50s, but it is not clear if that is part of the package or a separate item.  The Powell brothers built scooters before branching into the truck market, and this would make a great addition for anyone looking to collect cars/bikes built in Compton. 

Under the hood is the original 1941 Plymouth inline-6 mated to a 3-speed manual transmission.  The 3.3 liter flathead six is good for 81 horsepower and 161 ft-lbs of torque. It is a basic engine but at over 70 years old it will require specialist help when it comes time to rebuild, but with some knowledge and a small machine shop you should be able to fix anything that breaks. 

The interior of this Sport Wagon has been reconditioned (recently?) and items like seat belts are welcome upgrades.  However, the strangest thing on the entire vehicle is the extendable storage box located in the passenger side rear fender.  You just need to find some giant Pez to build your own life-sized Pez dispenser. 

See a stranger or cooler old pickup? tips@dailyturismo.com

Click here for a great article on Powells, or click here for the Powell registry.


  1. I gotta get me a car with a storage drawer like that. I wonder if it has springs on the back side so that it pops out like a turkey timer when done. Would need to make a cash drawer sound. Ka-ching!

  2. Went on a Volvo club drive this weekend to the Campo (SoCal) truck museum. First I'd ever seen or heard of a Powell and now this. Waiting for third shoe to drop . . .

  3. These are cool. I heard somewhere that they quit making these when they could no longer find '41 Plymouths to build them from. The reason that they are so squared-off is that they did not have the ability to make complex curves out of the body panels, as they were not stamped, but rolled.

    1. Jim Wisniewski Powell ownerMarch 26, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      There are 4 molded parts on the Powells. The roof, windshield opening, the rear window molding. and on the 1955 and 1956 models the cap for the fishing rod holder. The super rare 1957 has torpedo tube fishing rod holder cap. The 1957 has a 1946 to 1948 frame and running gear.

  4. Those aren't storage drawers, at least not from the factory. They're for holding fishing rods. Which I suppose is storage, but they're not little cubbies like those pictured. Somebody added the dividers.


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint Eastwood...it don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="http://www.IMAGE_LINK.com" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.