The Powell Brothers started off manufacturing radios before moving into scooter production in the 1930s. The Powell manufacturing 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 (393 cc) 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.
The struggling company lasted from the mid-1930s to the late-1960s. During its life-span it produced 1,020 pickup trucks, 300 station wagons, 3 motor homes, and tens of thousands of scooters and industrial/delivery vehicles.