Legacy Trucks now restoring Chevy’s first 4×4

Quimby Mug Bayou Florida Headshot
Legacy Trucks is now restoring the first four-wheel-drive trucks that Chevrolet began marketing in the 1950s.

Legacy Trucks in Wyoming continues to attract attention for its restored and customized classic American pickups.

Though it’s best known for restoring early Dodge Power Wagons, the company continues to take on new projects, including more recently General Motor’s first commercially produced 4×4 pickups.

Not long after Dodge Power Wagons blazed a successful path in the 1940s by offering the first OEM-stamped 4×4 pickup in the U.S., GM followed in the 1950s with a NAPCO 4×4 package that was made available for some Chevy and GMC half-ton trucks. (See video below.)

Legacy now transforms a 1955-1959 Chevy or GMC 3100 series truck into a NAPCO 4×4, according to foxnews.com, with modern upgrades that make the truck safer, more comfortable and more powerful while paying tribute to its vintage roots. In fact, Legacy dubs their builds “tribute trucks.”

The Legacy Chevy NAPCO 4×4 gets a new frame, suspension from Alcan Spring and Offroad Design and Dynatrac ProRock axles with disc brakes. Vintage-style 16-inch wheels are paired up with Toyo Open Country R/T all-terrain tires.

Powertrain options include your choice of two V8s: a 350-hp 5.3-liter engine or a more stout 430-hp 6.2-liter matched with either a four-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual.

Legacy’s NAPCO 4×4 sells for around $135,000, but price varies depending on customer preferences.

If that price is a little too steep, keep in mind that Legacy offers three stages of restoration. Stage I ensures that a classic pickup runs reliably and meets local road safety requirements. Stage II is a body on frame restoration that includes a powertrain rebuild or replacement, disc brakes and a paint job. Stage III is a show quality restoration which includes a rotisserie paint job, complete interior restoration with the finest leathers and Ralph Lauren fabrics and meticulous treatment of “every nut, bolt and wire.”

Legacy also specializes in customized builds, as is the case for a 1942 Dodge 6×6 WC63 troop transport truck that it transformed into a beefed up Power Wagon with a 3.9-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine.

“The sense of power and torque is phenomenal,” Legacy’s founder and owner Winslow Bent tells Jay Leno during an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage which featured the off-road beast.

Leno’s interview with Bent also includes an off-road trip during which Leno praises the 6×6 for its impressive hill climbing.

Bent says the 6×6 was used overseas during World War II, then went to Norway and made its way back to the U.S. where it went to work for the Air Force and was eventually decommissioned. Bent said when he found the truck, it was stripped down to its chassis, but he still realized what it was and what he wanted to do with it—that is, convert the WC63 into a Power Wagon.

“We love Power Wagons,” Bent tells Leno in the 30-minute video. “You know when you’re driving down a country road and you see an old abandoned truck sitting in the field, I’m the guy that stops and tries to buy the thing.”

Other brands that have undergone restoration at Legacy include Diamond T Trucks, Studebaker, White, Fargo, International, Jeep Willys and Toyota Land Cruiser.