4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS -

Vin­tage 1947 sheet­metal sur­vives to crawl.

AARON AND NATALIE PENNELL have built a few unique of­froad rigs in the past, so it’s no sur­prise that they have once again put to­gether a truck that turns heads. This time they stepped up the chal­lenge level by start­ing with a donor that was seven decades old.

This 1947 WDX Power Wagon was used by an oil rig­ging com­pany long ago. As you’d ex­pect, the old work truck got pretty beaten up in the field. It was left sit­ting in a sal­vage yard for years. Un­for­tu­nately, none of the com­mer­cial lo­gos were still vis­i­ble, so lit­tle nos­tal­gic char­ac­ter re­mained. En­vi­sion­ing what they could make from the rust­ing car­cass, the Pen­nells pre­ceded to pur­chase the cab, front clip, and frame.

Once their prize was trail­ered home, they re­al­ized more thor­oughly that the orig­i­nal frame had seen a lot of time un­der a welder’s arc. Dur­ing its work life the truck had ob­vi­ously been mod­i­fied into var­i­ous con­fig­u­ra­tions. It was at that point they de­cided to source a 1997 Dodge Ram frame and start from there. Af­ter many mod­i­fi­ca­tions, a cus­tom sus­pen­sion, and the trans­plant of a mod­ern pow­er­train, they had saved the sheet­metal from this old truck and had it out on the trail crawl­ing.

1 To keep the ride smooth and flexy, the own­ers went with linked sus­pen­sion at both ends. Up front is a three-link setup; a tri­an­gu­lated four-link sits un­der the rear. Lower links are

2x0.250-wall and the up­pers are 1.5x0.120-wall DOM tub­ing with Johnny Joints. All four coilover shocks have 12 inches of travel. The fronts are

21⁄2-inch-di­am­e­ter King shocks while the rears are 2-inch-di­am­e­ter Fox shocks.

2 A trussed Ford E-350 Dana 60 axle sits in the rear. The 35-spline shafts spin with 5.38 gear­ing on an­other Griz­zly locker. Race­line bead­locks and 42-inch Pit Bull Rock­ers help this rig roll over ob­sta­cles with ease.

3 Fit­ting the 1995 Dodge 5.9L Mag­num V-8 in the 1997 Ram 1500 frame was a sim­ple bolt-in process. It’s been warmed over with a mild camshaft, EngineQuest heads, and Edel­brock 7577 in­take, and has been topped with a Hol­ley Sniper EFI unit. Space is tight un­der the vin­tage hood, so a Ford Su­per Duty hy­dro­boost master cylin­der is used. A Grif­fin alu­minum ra­di­a­tor up front keeps coolant tem­per­a­ture un­der con­trol. A 46RH four-speed au­to­matic and four-speed At­las trans­fer case com­plete the pow­er­train.

4 A 1995 Ford high-pin­ion, ball-joint Dana 60 was hung un­der the front of the truck. It was built with Dodge knuck­les and Lost In­dus­tries high-steer arms that are pushed side-to-side with a PSC full-hy­dro steer­ing sys­tem. A Yukon Griz­zly locker and 5.38:1 gears ride inside. Aaron and Natalie Pennell built a stubby tube bumper on the front of the Ram frame and added a Warn XD9000 winch with syn­thetic rope.

5 The in­te­rior was up­dated with Auto Me­ter Amer­i­can Mus­cle gauges and an Ididit steer­ing col­umn The Pen­nells can­ni­bal­ized an auto trans­mis­sion shifter from a Mit­subishi Mon­tero Sport, mod­i­fied it to work with the Chrysler

46RH, and mounted it in the cen­ter of the dash. The At­las four-speed levers can be seen be­low. Note the sim­ple but highly use­ful cuphold­ers.

6 A cus­tom rollcage built from 13⁄4-inch DOM tub­ing fits snug­gly in the cab in­te­rior. Hisand-hers Cor­beau seats pro­vide a com­fort­able ride in the old cab—his is a Moab and hers a Baja XRS. A pair of CNC cut­ting brake levers re­sides be­tween the seats and helps when do­ing front dig steer­ing ma­neu­vers.

7 The Ram 1500 frame was chopped in the rear to make way for the rear-linked sus­pen­sion. Af­ter all the cus­tom mods were com­pleted on the frame, it was com­pletely pow­der­coated in tex­tured black. Now a cus­tom tire car­rier sits in the rear. Gas struts as­sist with rais­ing it, al­low­ing ac­cess to the fuel cell, tool­box, and cooler.

“The Pen­nells en­vi­sioned what they could make from the rust­ing car­cass ”







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