Convert a vintage truck into a dream machine with Legacy Classic Trucks.
I haven’t always understood boys and their toys. But then I saw my first Legacy Power Wagon, and I could swear my biceps flexed.
I. Want. One.
From where I idle in my sad subcompact, it’s the dream machine. It’s got power, craftsmanship, history, romance, vintage good looks, and luxury — a $250,000 testosterone-fueled work of art that also happens to be the ultimate ranch truck. But are you going to trust a woman who doesn’t know a head gasket from a crankshaft? Seemed like a better idea to talk directly with Legacy Classic Trucks founder Winslow Bent about building the extreme truck that bucket lists are made of.
Cowboys & Indians: How did you start resurrecting old trucks?
Winslow Bent: When I was growing up, my dad restored old military vehicles as a hobby. I was his helper. Everything about those trucks spoke to me. I found memories of these experiences working together quite formative for me. My own passion for automotive restoration grew from that through high school and college. As a young man in college, I’d get through the coursework, but my real passion was for trucks. After class, I used to take night school in engine rebuilding and fabrication. It wasn’t until 2008, when I lost my job in the restaurant business, that I realized I had an opportunity to turn my passion into a career. It’s funny how difficult times can be a catalyst for change.
C&I: Why did you decide to base your headquarters in Jackson, Wyoming?
Bent: I grew up in Chicago and went to college in Colorado. After graduating, I absolutely knew I wanted to stay in the West. Jackson Hole was incredibly appealing because of its unique blend of cowboy heritage and skiing. The late 1990s were an exciting time of growth in Jackson Hole, and within 30 days of moving here, I knew I was home.
C&I: And it’s truck country! What sets Legacy apart from the rest?
Bent: Refurbishing an old truck the way we do at Legacy is designed to represent a perfect pairing of heritage and modern performance. We build the truck specifically to the customer’s needs, whatever that may be. A vehicle made for towing horse trailers is set up differently than a people-mover built for an African safari park. At Legacy, we listen to the client and adapt the truck around them.
C&I: What’s the top selling point, besides 620 horsepower and custom bison leather?
Bent: The single greatest thing about a Legacy truck is the feeling people get driving down an old country road — shifting the gears, arm out the window. There’s never any need to worry about breaking down or if you will get stuck driving out in the country. Everything works seamlessly, so drivers can focus on having fun, whether that’s time with the family, hunting, fishing, or just exploring. Ferraris are made for blasting down freeways; for everything else, there is a Legacy truck.
C&I: Part of the glory is the story behind each particular truck. You’ve found some that were in duty in World War II and some that were used to help expand the American West. ...
Bent: I’ve restored trucks that were used in uranium mining, log home building, oilfield rigs, and firetrucks. If you had a big nasty job, the Dodge Power Wagon was the only choice. Based on the fact that the design was largely unchanged from World War II until 1971 speaks volumes to how well-suited these vehicles were for their intended purpose.
C&I: Care to share one particularly great story?
Bent: In 2009, Legacy began restoration of a 1942 Dodge WC-53 Carryall. It was in shambles when we started. This old truck had been painted over with a brush about 10 times. As we sanded the doors and hood down, we discovered old Army lettering that indicated it had been used in Tunisia in World War II. The most likely use for a Power Wagon back then would have been as a radio truck against Rommel. When we disassembled the truck, we found an old German harmonica stuck in the A-pillar. It was very humbling.
C&I: What’s your idea of the perfect day with a Power Wagon?
Bent: I like four-wheeling in Moab, Utah. There is no place that puts human and machine to the test quite like Moab. I love taking our Power Wagons through the hardest, nastiest trails. Popping out at the top of Pritchett Canyon in an old Power Wagon really makes the Jeep guys scratch their heads. They don’t know what to think.
From the May/June 2016 issue.