Friday, October 24, 2014

4k: I Can't Drive 55 MPG: 1974 Chevrolet Corvette TDI

The intersection of hair metal and eco-geekdom is a lonely one, marked by the paradoxical symbiosis of Birkenstocks and acid-washed jackets in the same closet. Do you wear a mullet not because it is stylish, but because you want to reduce the amount of toxic sunscreen runoff in our rivers, but still protect your neck from the damaging effects of sunshine coming through a ozone depleted stratosphere?  If your idea of a rad night out is wearing gold-chain necklaces to a Sierra Club meeting, set down your tofu burger, take the syringe out of your arm, and check out this 55 MPG Corvette. Find this 1974 Chevrolet Corvette with Volkswagen 1.9L TDI swap in New London, CT for $4,000 via craigslist.


Emerging from a hand-made fiberglass orifice like Thom Yorke from a pool hall is a 1.9-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder, most likely from a 2002 Golf. It made 109 horsepower and 173 ft-lb or torque from the factory - lower than even the 165 horses in the worst C3 Corvette engine. Fortunately, performance can be uncorked from the little VW unit as easily as it can be released from whatever emissions-choked V8 once chugged away under this Vette's hood. Although going faster shouldn't be your priority until you've sorted out, say, every other component.


Save this picture for the next person who wants to trade in their 15-year-old economy box for something "with a nicer interior." Somebody drove this car every day for the past three years. It was probably worse than this at some point - it might not have had that wooden cupholder, for instance, or what seems to be the gauge cluster of a TDI-equipped Volkswagen dangling near the glove box.


Shift action comes from a Toyota truck-sourced 5-speed, and an ACME Adapters plate (Wile E. Coyote need not apply) hooks them together. It's said to run and drive well, and just needs cosmetic attention to be a great car. Shyeah, and monkeys might fly out of my vegan, fair-trade, non-GMO butt.

See a stranger high-efficiency build? Email us at tips@dailyturismo.com. 

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.

17 comments:

  1. This is your brain on drugs.....

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  2. It has finally happened... The end is near.

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  3. Good news, Californians! This one is a pre-smog example, so it's totally legal to drive here in its current configuration! Feel free to park it in the "alternative fuel vehicles" spots out in front of your local Whole Foods.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonus points for running it on Algaeic B100 or transesterifying your own bio in your garage made from WVO from your local ethical co-op soybeanery. Bonus bonus points for using the waste glycerin to make rough-hewn artisan soap.

      Delete
  4. The tie-wrapped speedometer on the right side really enhances the driving experience and shows the high level of workmanship. Acme adapters seal the deal, beep! beep!

    I nominate this as the worse engine swap of 2014 and the best 2014 Lemons candidate. (Offer $500 after 4 weeks)

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  5. New London has the highest per-capita meth-lab production/industry in Connecticut,
    apparently.

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  6. This is the mechanical doppleganger of a baby Alien bursting out of John Hurt's chest....awesome, dood.
    I like how he's cleaned up the stodgy old Corvette dash ascetics, too !

    cheers....JeffH

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  7. Not sure what's worse... that somebody drove this for three years or that somebody (allegedly) spent $12k on making it happen.

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  8. You've been looking up power figures on Wikipedia again, haven't you? Got your euro-spec motors mixed up with US-spec again, didn't you? It's actually MUCH worse than you indicated in your write-up. In 2002 the NA market ALH TDI engine produced 90 hp and 155 lb/ft of torque.

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  9. In a country with a population of 315 million, is there one other person out there who might be a potential buyer for this thing?

    How much is a Corvette shell worth?
    To be fair, you could remove the random parts in under a day, and probably make a couple hundred bucks selling them.

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  10. I wrote a big long engine rebuildy comment about what I would do if I owns this rig but someone ate it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. William,
      I've had this problem many times myself, but DT uses the blogger platform that is owned by google. Regrettably, we are but a small voice in the millions of blogger hosted blogs and there is no direct support available. I have made a few suggestions via the standard feedback channels about this issue, but haven't seen any solutions. My work around solution is to always copy (ctrl-a and then ctrl-c) my comment before hitting the publish button. If it doesn't appear, I hit reply again and the paste (ctrl-v). It isn't perfect, but neither is a V8 powered Citation...
      Vince DT E-i-C.

      Delete
    2. same here - when i start out to write a short comment, but find it getting wordy and/or interesting, i copy over to notepad to finish the thought

      one thing to notice, if using a google account for example, is whether the pulldown shows your ID or just "google account" - if the latter, it will drop your comment when it prompts you to sign in :( - you'd think they would have that worked out on their own dang system

      Delete
    3. I'm on a phone 90% of the time and I can't really say that I know if that's possible. Usually I just rethink it and smash it out in fewer words...

      Delete
  11. Something like make engine lower in car so hood fit and get a new hood. Rebuild and bore engine to 2.0 , fire ring head and add head studs (if possible). Add holset turbo from Cummins 24 valve. See how long it lasted. And source a new 2.0 TDI.

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  12. If you swapped an LT1 in there it'd be hella boring. 90 hp is enough for that car. I wonder what kind of mileage it gets, since no one swaps in a diesel for speed.

    ReplyDelete

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