There’s a lot more going on in these photos than you probably think.
At first glance, you’ve got a pretty funky school bus. Not only is a 1948 Dodge Power Wagon an interesting choice for a restomod, but it’s clear that this project wanted to merely nod at ancestral tradition. Going to school — heck, going anywhere– in a bus this cool would be a lot more fun than any stinky diesel box employed by most school districts.
But then, if you ask the polite and completely normal question, “What kind of engine do you have in there?” you’ll get a very surprising answer. That’s because this particular bus is powered by the same engine that propels the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
That’s right: It’s a muscle car bus. Muscle bus? Buscle car? There’s got to be a term for this.
The Hellcat engine, which is available as a crate engine through Mopar, has the tendency to pop up in a variety of places that the average driver may deem strange or downright inappropriate. But, looking back at the overall experience of the commute to and from school, perhaps a 6.2L V8 capable of 717 horsepower and 650 lb/ft of torque is exactly what most school buses need.
The bus was created by Alan Vanevenhoven for the 2019 SEMA show, and took just 10 months to turn around from a backlot rust bucket to a Hollywood superstar. It was featured in the filming of the upcoming film Mayberry Man, and was slated for sale at the Mecum Indy 2021 auction. The build was sponsored by KBS Coatings and SWG Motorsports.
In addition to the 6.2L HEMI Hellcat engine, the 1948 Power Wagon has been graced with a power steering system, power disc brakes, ceramic headers, and a three-inch stainless steel exhaust system. The engine is supported by a staff that includes a 46RH overdrive automatic transmission and an NP208 transfer case connected to a 4.30-ratio axle, which likely means that this bus can haul in every sense of the word.
While specs on speed and performance haven’t been released, one thing is clear: The wheels on this bus go round and round very quickly.