Powell Scooter Logo

Powell Manufacturing Company

The Powell Registry

Chuck Elderton, elderton@comcast.net

408 270-7206 http://clubs.hemmings.com/powellregistry/

For the Sport Wagon Only

 

 

  Powell Sports Wagon Powell Sports Wagon Powell Sports Wagon

 

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Powell Sport Wagon road test

Motor Trend February 1956

 

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A package Deal

By Dick DeBuse

 

My name is Brad Powell, and it was my father, Hayward Powell, and uncle, Channing Powell, that made the Powell scooters and trucks.  Last week, I saw there was a page about the company on Wikipedia about the Powell company, but it incorrectly listed the company name as "Powell Motor Company." The company name was actually "Powell Manufacturing Company."  (The Wikipedia article is now corrected.)
My mom, Dorothy Powell (wife of Hayward), is still doing well at age 87--she started working for the company in the late 1930's as the bookkeeper, married Hayward in 1945, and has always been closely involved.  She was even CEO after Hayward and Channing retired. Dorothy has confirmed that the company never operated as "Powell Motor Company."   (However, from the mid-1960s until it dissolved in April 1979, it did operate as Powell Brothers, Inc.)
During this process that past week, I contacted Chuck Elderton (of the Powell Registry), and we've had some great emails back and forth sharing info. (Chuck will be correcting the Powell company name on his website.)
THANK YOU! With best regards,

Brad Powell

 

 

Powell Motor Scooter

Powell Manufacturing Company (PMC), of southern California, had reasonable success as a manufacturer for over 30 years. Best known for their line of motor scooters that peaked in popularity between WW II and the Korean War, they also produced pickup trucks and station wagons in the mid 1950s, returning to scooter/mini-bike production in the 1960s.

 

The Powell Brothers started off manufacturing radios before moving into scooter production in the 1930s. The PMC facility in Compton, California switched to war production in 1942. After World War II Powell again returned to scooter production with the C-47, P-48, P-49 step through models. Additionally, a pre-war era Powell Streamliner model is said to have been copied and served as the basis for the original Fuji Rabbit scooter in post-war Japan. In approximately 1950, the Powell company moved into the lightweight motorcycle market with the introduction of the P-81 model, which was a direct competitor of the Mustang (motorcycle) produced in nearby Glendale, California. All four of these post-war Powell models used the same single-cylinder four stroke 24 cubic-inch (393cc) engine which was developed in-house. Powell again switched to war production for the Korean War in the early 1950s and never returned to scooter production.

 

PMC was also an early innovator in pickup and SUV design with several models produced in the 1950s using modified Plymouth (automobile) chassis. Powell's designs were later echoed in the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino models which appeared a few years later.

 

There are no known remaining business records from PMC. The company struggled sporadically, and ceased to exist sometime in the 1960s. The most widely accepted production numbers for Powell vehicles are 1,020 pickup trucks, 300 station wagons, 3 motor homes, and tens of thousands of scooters and industrial/delivery vehicles. 

 

Chuck Elderton's Pick Up

Powell Pick Up Truck Fishing pole Tray Powell Pick Up Truck

Did you know the Powell brothers built radios

 before Scooters & Trucks?

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Thanks to Tom Rockwell