Real Wheels - Feature Trucks

By Bill Cooke 5/00

Balance of Design

Ken Crowell's 76 Dodge Power Wagon

The poor old 70's Dodge trucks just get no respect. If you pick up a catalog from most of the aftermarket manufactures you would think that the old Dodges never existed. That's starting to change as more and more people are starting to see the true potential of these trucks. Ken Crowell is one of those guys. His '76 Dodge is a great example of how to build the perfect truck. It's not flashy or anything like that. Heck, it's down right stealthy compared to most trail trucks. It's not until you climb underneath that you begin to appreciate the hard work and thoughtful planning that went into building this truck. All that hard work pays big when Ken hits the trails. This truck will go where most would think impossible and do it with ease. It's the perfect balance of beef, flex and power that makes this truck so cool.

Ken chose to go with ultimate beef in his build up. That means a GM 10.5" full-floating 14 bolt rear. With the 4.11 gears and Detroit Locker it is ready to handle the 33" Dunlop Mud Rovers and 4" lift. Up front he's running the 3/4 ton Dana 44 with 8 lugs and a Trac-Loc.

The other great trick that Ken used to build his truck was this little baby. It's hard to see because of the great job he did installing it up and out of the way but that's an Offroad Design 203/205 Doubler in there. The second box allows Ken to pick the right gear for the terrain, no matter how tough the trails are.

One of the toughest things about using the twin box setup is what to do about the extra shifter. Here's Ken's answer to that question. This is so clean it look factory! A few clever linkage mods, a few heim joints and a Dana 300 twin stick boot and viola`. For anyone thinking about installing a doubler, this is the perfect example of the right way to do it.

If there is one thing that all older Dodge owners are aware of it's that crappy dash. This '76 has a very clean, straight forward approach and that applies to the dash. Autometer gauges replace the originals and really add the the beauty of the whole truck.

The truck is motivated by a 360 motor that has been bored .030 over with early style flat top pistons. A Comp Cams 260H cam (440 lift 260 duration) tickles the valves on the 4 barrel heads.
The Performer manifold  is where you'll find the custom built Holley 600 with off road kit installed and MSD ignition. Dual 2 1/4 exhaust with 3 chamber Flow Masters vent the whole thing before power is sent to the TF/727 tranny with shift kit. This is more than enough to move this truck and the chrome valve covers and air cleaner add just a touch of show to an otherwise un assuming truck

In the end Ken has quite a truck on his hands here. It's built strong and with enough goodies to get him through the toughest of trails. It's not the flashiest truck out there, it's not the trickiest truck out there. But this one has all the right parts, power and beef to give it true Balance of Design. 


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