(Cover Photo Credit: Wayne Deslauriers)
Welcome back to our coverage of Project Power Laggin’! Follow along as we take a tired 1979 Dodge W150 Power Wagon we found in Central Maine and transform it from a derelict roadside attraction to a dependable, powerful weekend workhorse that lives up to its given name! In this installment, we check in with the truck and see how it’s doing after the engine swap, and spruce the rig up just enough to enter it into the annual Spindles Car Club Autofest show. Read on to see how we did, and for a twist you won’t see coming!
When we last reported on Project Power Laggin’, the Magnum 360 V8 was so fresh in the engine bay that the paint was still drying! It was running and driving, but there were still some tweaks to be made. So, we set a goal: there was an upcoming car show on the calendar that we liked to hit up every year. Could we get some of the quirks smoothed out before then and enter this rig into the show? And to further throw another wrench in the works, could we spruce the thing up a bit in the looks department along the way? Let’s find out!
So, what did we learn?
First, when you install an engine in a vehicle, make absolutely sure to double and triple check everything in the days following installation. We did go back and double check things like bellhousing bolts, the engine mounts, and more, but we should have made a list of things to check that included that fan clutch nut. They make it look so easy on TV, but when you’re rushing around trying to meet a deadline, take the time to check everything, or else you’ll end up taking the Ride of Shame just like we did.
We also learned that people still love these old Mopar trucks. While the Squarebody Chevys and OBS Fords get all the glory, we did get some warm comments at the car show from people waxing nostalgic about the Dodge they used to have or someone in their family used to have. Old vehicles can provide a tangible connection to the past, acting as a time machine for your mind, just like an old song or movie can do. It’s part of why we still hang onto old rides for years and years. For your author, even though we’ve had this truck for a short time, it reminds me of riding around in my uncle’s old Power Wagons and visiting my “car-guy” great uncle who had a removable top Tin Grille Ramcharger in his fleet when I was a kid. While those vehicles are long gone, this one is still putting in the work and making new memories. It really feels like a member of the family now.
What’s next for Project Power Laggin’? We’ll be addressing some long-overdue maintenance, as well as tackling the rusty floors and the rest of the interior. While the floors were “repaired” previously, they were done by the same guy who twisted bare wires together on the alternator wiring harness, so they really need to be re-addressed. Until next time!