The 1999 Dodge Power Wagon Concept: A Retro, Diesel 4x4 That Should Have Happened
When you think of Chrysler's retro-inspired vehicles from the late 1990s and early 2000s, the two big ones that come to mind are the popular PT Cruiser and the rarer but more interesting Plymouth Prowler.
But there was another retro-themed project that had it reached production, may have been the most impressive of all—The 1999 Dodge Power Wagon Concept.
Style & Toughness
Like the Willys Jeep, the original 4x4 Dodge Power Wagon of the 1940s was initially designed for the military before becoming available for civilian use in the years after World War Two. The name was also used on various heavy duty Dodge pickups in the decades that followed.
While the original Power Wagon may not be quite as iconic as a classic Jeep, it earned plenty of adoring fans over the years and its design was special enough to inspire Dodge to build a modern concept based on it more than 50 years later.
The 1999 Power Wagon Concept was built on a half-ton Ram pickup chassis but with a body heavily influenced by the original '40s version.
By modern standards its cab was rather small, with a small backseat accessed via half doors. But what it lacked in massive space it made up for with lots of cool retro character.
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Beneath the retro body sat a powertrain that was equally impressive. It had four-wheel drive of course with a Dana 44 front axle and a Chrysler 9.25" rear axle.
In 1999 the revival of the Hemi V8 was still a few years off, but the Power Wagon Concept was powered by an equally impressive Caterpillar inline-six turbodiesel engine that made 300 horsepower and 800 pound feet of torque.
What Could Have Been...
Needless to say, its cool styling and macho powerplant ensured the Power Wagon Concept was well received by the press and the public, but ultimately its high cost and niche appeal never allowed it to reach production.
Dodge did, however, bring back the Power Wagon name in 2005 for certain versions of its Ram 2500 pickups, and the nameplate has continued to be used in the Ram brand era.
While most concept cars from the '90s and 2000's have a tendency to look dated now, the Power Wagon's retro styling still holds up extremely well.
How cool would it be to see an updated version of the Power Wagon Concept being offered today, perhaps with an electric powertrain? Never say never...
More From Driving Line
- How about a retro-themed pickup that did make it to production. Here's our look back at the Chevy SSR.