Jump to content

1974 Dodge Dart Diesel


TheDieselDartGuy
 Share

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

Link to comment
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

Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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
Link to comment
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)
Link to comment
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 1
Link to comment
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)
Link to comment
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.

Link to comment
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.

Link to comment
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

Link to comment
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

Link to comment
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

Link to comment
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.

 

 

Link to comment
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)
Link to comment
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

Link to comment
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.

Link to comment
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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours 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

 

When we moved out to Long Island from the Bronx we lived about 5 or 6 miles away from Motion. When I started my apprenticeship I was commuting to NYC from my parents house and went past it every day on the Long Island Rail Road. The building is still there now and it is some sort of auto repair shop. I seldom go down to that part of the Island now but I did drive past it last week. I have to go back down that way in a few weeks when the cap arrives for my Sierra and I will try to take a picture of it  and post it just for laughs. I remember hearing that they started out doing dune buggies and speed boats, and everything just evolved after that. At the time I never realized that I was looking at piece of automotive history

 

We had a 63 Nova wagon in 1969. The six cylinder developed an engine knock so my father was going to replace the engine. There was always ad's in the local newspaper by Baldwin Chevrolet (which was the parent company of Baldwin Motion) advertising new Chevrolet 6 cylinder engines for sale. I remember it as if it were a few weeks ago. There were a few new engines sitting on skids and they were pulling an 6 Cylinder engine out on a new car (I don't remember what the car was) while we were there. My father assumed that something was wrong with the engines and did not buy it. When he asked the shop manager why they were pulling them out and replacing them his answer was not really assuring "i do what I am told, and don't bother asking questions and go home", he even agreed with my father that it really did not make any sense to him either.  I myself would probably think the same if I saw that going on at a dealership today. It did not make any sense to him that someone would remove an engine out of a brand new car for no real reason. In this day and age research is much easier, back then no so much....  My Dad was into cars, but not new ones he had a Model A,  a 490 Chevy Touring car, new cars for him were just a way to get to point B from point A. Our surf rods fit inside the wagon so  it was what we used to go to the beach to fish 

 

So he bought an engine from the local junk yard that ended up burning oil and lasted maybe another 3 years 

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, Dave Fields said:

Was it The Antique Automobile magazine that recently had an article on the Perkins Diesel put in Plymouths in the mid 1950's? Seemed the only drawback was they smelled like pancakes cooking.

 

 

I could think of worse things to smell like

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first Tesla was a sports car made by Lotus and supplied to Tesla as a 'glider'. Tesla had them shipped from England to California and installed the motors, controls and batteries there. Carol Shelby did the same thing with the Cobra, buying unfinished AC sports cars and installing Ford engine and trans in California. I notice these were both low production sports cars and agree, a major manufacturer probably would not sell a car sans engine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, padgett said:

 It had some commonality with an Olds 350 gas engine so not surprised a Muncie would bolt up.

 

It has exactly the same BOP bellhousing bolt pattern as every other 1960s-80s Olds, Buick, Pontiac, and Cadillac motor, so any BOP bellhousing bolts up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By 1981, the 350 diesel teething problems were gone, but the reputation was too. I have two 81s here, off road due to rust issues, not drivetrain. The Eldorado had 270K and the Seville just over 300K. Not trouble free miles, but very cheap transportation at the time. 

 

A diesel Dart! Great!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/17/2018 at 10:20 PM, gpfarrell said:

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

I could be wrong on this, and please advise me if so.  I believe the newer rules for AACA are not "as it left the factory" but "as it left the dealership", meaning factory options were acceptable.

If this option was truly available and supported Dodge I believe it would be totally acceptable and the AACA rules in fact do cover it.  We need a bit more information, but it seems that this is a Dodge option, thus no penalty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it was an authorized accessory by the factory and this is provable by factory literature then it would be accepted in AACA judging. My guess and it is just a guess is that it was an option provided by a non-factory authorized aftermarket supplier. Will be interesting to see how this shakes out. The ad provided certainly doesn't look like a factory supplied ad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Restorer32 said:

If it was an authorized accessory by the factory and this is provable by factory literature then it would be accepted in AACA judging. My guess and it is just a guess is that it was an option provided by a non-factory authorized aftermarket supplier. 

 

I see this as a tremendous shortcoming in 

current AACA judging criteria.  Such criteria would

mean that fascinating period-correct after-market accessories

would be removed;  and a rare diesel engine that

speaks of the energy crisis may be a detraction!

 

Surely there must be a way to keep these parts of

automotive history within AACA, and even appreciate them.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Consider this: a 1966 GTO with correct Delco radio and under dash 8-track player with FM-radio. 8-track was available in 1966 just not from Pontiac. That would be a period-correct accessory & would cost how many points if present ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, padgett said:

Consider this: a 1966 GTO with correct Delco radio and under dash 8-track player with FM-radio. 8-track was available in 1966 just not from Pontiac. That would be a period-correct accessory & would cost how many points if present ?

 

There are many examples like this. RH outside mirrors were not a factory available option from Oldsmobile in the 1960s, however there was a package available from the parts department for dealer installation. The package even has an Oldsmobile part number and is listed in the factory parts book in addition to the factory accessories booklet. On the other hand, if we're talking about aftermarket accessories NOT authorized from the factory, then where do you draw the line?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Problem is it's a slippery slope. If we start allowing period correct but not factory authorized accessories where does it stop? I guess it depends on whether AACA is an organization that hopes to preserve automobiles as they left the factory or as they were often seen on the streets. I have no answer.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr P 

I would think that you would have to have some sort of documentation that it was delivered new with the 8 track player from the dealer, to even attempt to justify the claim, similar to the ad by the Dodge dealer of the diesel engine shown above. I thought 8 tracks were more of a late 60's early 70's thing?

That Dart had to have some sort of warranty 

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, John348 said:

Mr P 

I would think that you would have to have some sort of documentation that it was delivered new with the 8 track player from the dealer like the diesel engine shown above. I thought 8 tracks were more of a late 60's early 70's thing?

 

Not just documentation that it was delivered with a diesel but also documentation that the engine was factory authorized. Even a factory list of accessories showing the diesel would be perfect documentation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

 

Not just documentation that it was delivered with a diesel but also documentation that the engine was factory authorized. Even a factory list of accessories showing the diesel would be perfect documentation.

 

I agree but..... we accept Baldwin Motion cars and they were subbed out to put in an engine that was not authorized or offered by the factory and sold as a new car! Granted a four door Dodge Dart diesel is not as "sexy" as a Camaro with a 427, but there really is no difference other than the alterations were done for different purposes

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...