ROTW: Frank Milleren shares the story of ‘Big Blue’… a 1955 DODGE POWERWAGON

Since PCH is basically one street, there’s always a high probability that when I head up into town, I’ll discover cool rides. And if I missed one going up, I’ll always see one coming back. And for today’s Ride of the Week, it was no different.

Welcome Frank Milleren, proud owner of a very unusual, rare and blue 1955 Dodge Powerwagon — or, in his own words, “my baby.” It is originally a ’55 Dodge M43 Military Ambulance, virtually identical to the ones used in the TV show “M*A*S*H.” Just take the 5-mile hike out to where they filmed in Malibu Creek and you’ll see what I mean. There’s still one there!

“My ambulance, aka ‘Big Blue,’ is one of 400 produced with a flat head six 251 or T249 of the hundreds of thousands of M37 series equipped with 230 flathead six engines,” Milleren explains. “I can cruise at an earthshaking 50-55 mph vs. 45 mph. Big Blue weighs in at 7,500 pounds. 3/4 ton. All military parts to date.”

So basically, the car can fit just about anything Milleren wants, including his super friendly pooch. I mean, this dog will head slam and body check his love all over you. So be careful of the thunderous kisses.

“I found my M43 Dodge ambulance in a 2009 online auction,” Milleren continues. “I won … then set out to drive it from Old Town [in] Northern Florida to NYC. Made it to South Carolina. Spent every vacation visiting Big Blue and working on it. Rode a bicycle 2,400 miles to work on it in 2016.”

Wow, that’s commitment.

“I knew the first time I saw it, it was made for me,” he said. “It is the amalgamation of every recreational and extreme vehicle I had fantasized about as a man in New York planning an escape. A little Land Rover, frequently mistook as a Willys across the south, Jeep appeal, Citroen HY imposing scale. International toughness. All rolled into one.”

And it’s blue. Did I mention it is BLUE? I mean you can’t miss this truck when it rolls down PCH, and there’s a good chance you saw it at my Wheels and Waves show last week at the Country Mart. Beastly.

But there are so many great things about this truck that you can literally just sit on the curb and dream about the possibilities. According to Milleren, it’s setting his sights on the hood and headlights while driving, which is the best feeling he’s ever had behind the wheel.

“‘Big Blue’ is my cross country hero and now my daily, very local driver,” he said.

But Milleren’s best story begins like this: “During my trip from Manning, South Carolina, to Malibu, I was constantly adding new parts. Soldering wires and anything to keep it running. During the first half of the journey, I was often in need of a pull start. One of my final pull starts was done by the coolest couple and they would not give up until it was finally running.

“As they were leaving, he handed me his awesome tow-chain. I tried to give him [money], but he was not having it. I was almost in tears. The chain is now wrapped around my bumper as a reminder of pure kindness.”

And that, my friends, is a story was can all relate to. Car people know no boundaries.

Now, for Milleren’s final words about out our lil’ town.

“Malibu has the prime roadways for ‘Big Blue,’” he said. “Ocean on one side or twisting up a canyon with speed limits below its max!”

“Big Blue” rolling alongside the big, blue ocean. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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