The good old Chrysler 318 engine has been around since, oh, around the start of the Iron Age. From about 1,000 BC to 2002 AD, the 318 and its LA engine relatives were installed in Chrysler products, and they did a fine job. If it hadn’t been for the cockroach-grade immortality of the Chrysler Slant Six, in fact, we’d probably be talking about the 318 as the most unkillable engine Detroit ever made. In 1992, Chrysler updated the 318 (which had gone to a roller cam a few years before) with high-pressure multi-point fuel injection and more emission-friendly heads… and they called it the 5.2 Magnum, no doubt because the original Dodge Magnum hadn’t been good enough to justify such a cool name. As I discovered in a Denver wrecking yard last week, at least one Dakota owner was proud enough of his Magnum to apply a full-body vinyl wrap to his truck.
This is one of my favorite music knock offs, the Hindi version of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. My point? If the folks at Mahindra Planet are right, it’s only a matter of time before the Bollywood Music types rip off Skynyrd’s classic, “Sweet Home Alabama.” Which will be pretty awesome, I assure you!
Until Ford started building Rangers in the early 1980s, their only small pickup was a rebadged Mazda B Series called the Courier. Like so many utilitarian Malaise Era vehicles, Couriers were everywhere… until one day in the early 1990s when just about all of them disappeared. Here’s one of the few that managed to hang on for another couple of decades.
Working in the 24 Hours of LeMons Penalty Box, the constant refrain of “Four wheels off” over the radio from the corner workers reporting miscreant drivers gets a little tedious. Hearing “Six wheels off,” however, really livens things up for us. That’s just one of the many benefits of having the Team Apex Vinyl Texas six-wheeled Toyota Hilux in a race.
In his New York Times comparison of heavy-duty pickup trucks, Ezra Dyer opens with a provocative comparison:
Heavy-Duty pickup trucks are the supercars of the truck world. They have more power than drivers are likely ever to exploit, and bragging rights depend on statistics that are, in practical terms, theoretical.
How does he figure?
While you can’t buy a diesel engine in a mainstream light-duty pickup, heavy-duty pickups now offer propulsion suitable for a tandem-axle dump truck.
I’m not exaggerating. Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8 packs 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque; the base engine in a Peterbilt 348 dump truck offers a mere 260 horsepower and 660 pound-feet. Does your pickup really need more power than a Peterbilt?
I’m guessing most HD truck owners won’t take kindly to the question, especially coming from a scolding Gray Lady. But if you read the full review, you’ll find that Dyer was able to locate at least one contractor willing to admit that he realized he just didn’t need his HD’s overabundance of ability. It goes against the grain of the “bigger, faster, tougher, more” marketing message that has helped make trucks such a huge part of the American market, but is it possible that the tide is turning? Have pickups improved too much? The huge sales of Ecoboost V6-powered F-Series certainly suggests the we may just be moving towards a more pragmatic truck-buying market…
The street-parked old cars I photograph in my Denver neighborhood live at one mile elevation, give or take a few feet. Drive about 100 miles southwest from here, however, and you’ll end up in Leadville, which stands at two miles above sea level. Last weekend, I ventured out to Leadville and found this painfully original 1947 Dodge brush fire truck parked downtown.
This truck has been parked a block from my house since I moved to Denver in June, but early-1950s GMC and Chevy trucks are sort of like fire hydrants or street signs to me— they’ve been around so long that they just seem like standard street accessories, and I tend to overlook them. Finally, I went over and got some shots of this great-looking survivor.
The pickup-truck version of the Volkswagen Rabbit might seem like a terrible idea nowadays, but these things actually turned out to be pretty useful in the real world. You couldn’t haul 1,500 pounds of hog entrails in one, but you couldn’t do that in a Luv, Courier, or 620 either.
You’d think that the zilch-o-torque characteristics of a Wankel engine wouldn’t be so great for hauling heavy loads, and you’d be right! Adding an automatic transmission to the mix, as is the case with this ’75 Mazda pickup, no doubt made for some interesting driving experiences when hauling, say, a dozen sacks of concrete mix in the back.
I’ve been seeing quite a few junked Datsun pickups in recent years, and most of them have featured the King Cab option. To those of you accustomed to 21st-century pickups with four doors and luxurious back seats, the few additional cubic centimeters of the Datsun 720’s King Cab must seem a cruel joke.
Schadenfreude recently brought the elder Niedermeyer out of his summer semi-retirement, and for the most part, it’s a consistent inspiration for much of our content here at TTAC. But as natural and healthy as it is to laugh and learn from the mistakes of others, for some reason I’m just not feeling it today. Blame it, if you must, on a certain mellowness that settles in over the glorious course of an Oregon Summer. One Robert Farago always said that hate must come from a place of love, so in the interests of getting TTAC back in lean, mean fighting form, I’m going to indulge in the worst kind of of auto-writing love-fest: I’m going to tell you about how much I love my car. Except that it’s not a car, and it’s not actually mine…
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Sgeffe It still boggles my pea brain that something that was pretty much standard on most cars two decades ago was left off of cars in the early teens! BUT if I understand things correctly, Canadian models had the immobilizers! (Along with heated steering wheels and other bits that would never be found on a car bound for, say, Minneapolis!)
- CEastwood Yep this is the bolt screwers last chance at the big money before all their jobs become extinct to robots and outsourcing to low wage countries . Prediction - they will get some compromise between what they want and what real world economics dictate . Then the car companies will gradually move their operations to other countries or southern states without unions . They are hastening the loss of their jobs and don't seem to care or even be aware of it .
- Jeff I am going to guess Stellantis because they have not yet invested as much in EVs than Ford and GM and they have been slow and very reluctant to enter the EV market. Stellantis is developing EVs for the European market but I don't believe they want to mess with Ram and Jeep their money makers in the US.
- Sgeffe Any PR position seems to require a Marketing degree (which I hope is a Bachelor of Science degree, but I digress! ;-) )And as I've opined before, all a Marketing degree really consists of is a degree in shoveling bovine excrement!
- Dwford Ford. They have over committed to EVs with the cancellation of all sedans as well as the recent cancellations of most of their gas crossovers. Too soon. GM has a whole new lineup of gas crossovers coming, while also introducing new EVs: the correct strategy.