TheDieselDartGuy

1974 Dodge Dart Diesel

Recommended Posts

New to the forum so I figured I should post about my Dart, as I have yet to physically see another. I have a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with a dealer-installed straight 6 Nissan diesel in it. The diesel option has been questioned many times so I have found ads proving its legitimacy. I bought it just before I got my license, and I have driven it ever since. It is mated to the 727 torqueflite and averages around 27 to 30 mpg. 

E7E2FA14-E960-4E43-8DA4-7EECE8AC575D.jpeg

70E78A91-FE9B-4BA8-BF61-7EC89BCAC54F.jpeg

55DC002D-14DE-443A-B29E-DD4B5B324AAD.jpeg

AFA2E92A-26A2-4606-B99B-0C923096E144.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have a very interesting part of automotive history!

It's good you have documentation to fend off querulous queries.

I had never heard of that.

 

But your scanned images are too small to be readable.

Can you educate us better by posting better scans?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was it really a Nissan diesel, or a Mitsubishi diesel?  Chrysler and Mitsubishi were in bed with each other as far back as 1971.

 

I have seen at least one full-size 1978 Dodge pickup with the Mitsubishi 6DR5 diesel engine under the hood which was a very rare option.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rare and interesting car. I have always liked the Darts and this one is rare indeed. Are there any figures on how many were produced?

 

I bought a new 83 Olds Cierra with a factory installed 6 cyl diesel engine in 84 at a huge discount because nobody else would buy it. Great road car for my sales territory. Lots of people today do not think it existed either but it was real. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very Interesting, I never knew about these either.

Bigger pics would be a HUGE help.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Dieseldart, some national car magazine

should write an article about your unusual car.

There was a gas shortage around that time,

so it clearly made sense to introduce a high-mileage

diesel engine into an American car.

 

Meanwhile, if you're an AACA member, take it

to Hershey and flabbergast the judges!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or a brand new Catalina for $3888.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, gpfarrell said:

If this was a dealer conversion though, it wouldn’t be “as it left the factory”.  But it’s really cool!

 

I agree, Mr. Farrell, that it's very interesting.

The fact that an unusual vehicle such as this

may be penalized at an AACA meet is a

shortcoming of AACA's current judging criteria.

 

I wonder what program put diesel engines in Darts.

Perhaps it was a group of dealers, with some

factory coordination;  or maybe even authorized

by the factory?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That car ad lists my old neighbor hood dealer where I used to buy parts from back then... S.L. Savidge... down town Seattle

Evidently it was a painfully slow  Nissan six.   oh well very rare!

I just read a bunch about your car ....Great story on your Dart.

Some info on it...http://u225.torque.net/cars/SL6/articles/Diesel_Dart.pdf

Edited by c49er (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, gpfarrell said:

If this was a dealer conversion though, it wouldn’t be “as it left the factory”.  But it’s really cool!

 

 Even if It is was delivered as new to the public through a dealer?  the newspaper ad should be enough documentation, regardless it is a piece of history 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, mike6024 said:

"* Order Yours Now! Delivery Time is Good!" as the advertisement says, is rather ambiguous. You buy it then it is made for you. I doubt the dealer removed a new 6 cylinder gasoline engine to replace it with a diesel. Could dealers buy vehicles without engines and install diesels? This had to be factory authorized, at a minimum.

 

 

Baldwin Motion Chevrolet took six cylinder engines out of new cars and installed big blocks in them, so it is possible, but I agree there had to be some sort of factory authorization

Edited by John348 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reminds me of a '67 Impala SS I bought & resold. It was a very clean (no rust) South Dakota car used by a travelling salesman. He took the small block out of it & put in a GM (Olds?) diesel. It bolted up to the Muncie 4 speed that was in it originally. Car had over 300,000 miles on it. Guy that bought it was a local. Gave it to his son who was in school for auto body. Put a small block back in it, redid the interior & the kid did the body & paint. They took kind of a sow's ear & made it into a silk purse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, mike6024 said:

"* Order Yours Now! Delivery Time is Good!" as the advertisement says, is rather ambiguous. You buy it then it is made for you. I doubt the dealer removed a new 6 cylinder gasoline engine to replace it with a diesel. Could dealers buy vehicles without engines and install diesels? This had to be factory authorized, at a minimum.

 

 

 

How could the factory have gotten the cars down the assembly line without engines? How could they drive them off the end of the line? What would have held the transmission in place? How could you get them on and off the transporters? No, dealers weren't able to get cars without engines in them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

 

How could the factory have gotten the cars down the assembly line without engines? How could they drive them off the end of the line? What would have held the transmission in place? How could you get them on and off the transporters? No, dealers weren't able to get cars without engines in them.

The big rig manufacturers offer 'Glider Kits' for trucks, so the same could have been applied to cars.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, John348 said:

 

Baldwin Motion Chevrolet took six cylinder engines out of new cars and installed big blocks in them, so it is possible, but I agree there had to be some sort of factory authorization

John:  Baldwin built some impressive Camaros back in the day as there were two around here! Both 427 cars but I never knew or cared what they left the factory with.  Also remember the famous Yenko conversions out in Chamberburg.  I believe I showed against one of them or a COPO in 36B out at the Tennessee Grand National a few years ago.  The values of them are unreal today.  A fellow 409 guy actually worked on the building the 427's at Yenko back in the day and has built a 427 clone Yenko that he nostalgia races.

Robert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Robert Street said:

John:  Baldwin built some impressive Camaros back in the day as there were two around here! Both 427 cars but I never knew or cared what they left the factory with.  Also remember the famous Yenko conversions out in Chamberburg.  I believe I showed against one of them or a COPO in 36B out at the Tennessee Grand National a few years ago.  The values of them are unreal today.  A fellow 409 guy actually worked on the building the 427's at Yenko back in the day and has built a 427 clone Yenko that he nostalgia races.

Robert

They are called "Day-2" cars.  https://www.musclecarlife.com/day-2-muscle-cars/

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, 8E45E said:

The big rig manufacturers offer 'Glider Kits' for trucks, so the same could have been applied to cars.

 

Craig

They were not applied to cars.  Again, tell me how the car could even be run down the assembly line without an engine to hold the transmission in place?  That would require a costly retooling of the drivetrain installation part of the line, at a minimum - which would far outweigh the value of the handful of cars built with the diesel. There is a HUUUUGE difference in a big rig manufacturer who builds hundreds or low thousands of vehicles and a mass production automaker with an assembly line that cranks out hundreds of thousands of vehicles.  The disruption to the line would be cost prohibitive. This is like the myth that Hurst installed the 455 engines on the 68-69 Hurst/Olds cars.  Oldsmobile had no way to get the cars to Hurst without an engine, and factory engineering documents now prove that the 455s were installed by Oldsmobile on the assembly line.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, 8E45E said:

They are called "Day-2" cars.  https://www.musclecarlife.com/day-2-muscle-cars/

 

Craig

 

The term "Day 2" cars is a BS fabrication made up by sellers trying to inflate the value of modified cars that they are trying to sell. It's no different than using the terms "clone" or "tribute" to inflate the value instead of the real terms "fake" or "counterfeit".

Edited by joe_padavano (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

They were not applied to cars.  Again, tell me how the car could even be run down the assembly line without an engine to hold the transmission in place?  That would require a costly retooling of the drivetrain installation part of the line, at a minimum - which would far outweigh the value of the handful of cars built with the diesel. There is a HUUUUGE difference in a big rig manufacturer who builds hundreds or low thousands of vehicles and a mass production automaker with an assembly line that cranks out hundreds of thousands of vehicles.  The disruption to the line would be cost prohibitive. This is like the myth that Hurst installed the 455 engines on the 68-69 Hurst/Olds cars.  Oldsmobile had no way to get the cars to Hurst without an engine, and factory engineering documents now prove that the 455s were installed by Oldsmobile on the assembly line.

 

 

One could be packaged like CKD cars that were to be shipped for final assembly overseas.  'CKD' cars usually had their own assembly line.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting to mention the GM diesel, am sure they wish you wouldn't. That was the engine that destroyed the diesel passenger market in the US when it was just getting started. Ford (Thunderbird) and BMW (524d) both had diesel cars on sale and MB planned to be 90% diesel by 1990. It had some commonality with an Olds 350 gas engine so not surprised a Muncie would bolt up.

 

For a while more Caddys and Buicks were littering the Interstates than Armadillos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, c49er said:

That car ad lists my old neighbor hood dealer where I used to buy parts from back then... S.L. Savidge... down town Seattle

Evidently it was a painfully slow  Nissan six.   oh well very rare!

I just read a bunch about your car ....Great story on your Dart.

Some info on it...http://u225.torque.net/cars/SL6/articles/Diesel_Dart.pdf

 

The cost of Wilcaps conversion more than doubled the price.

In fact 232% of the base Dart.

That in itself could explain why they are rare.

The article also says they were minimum performance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...