A couple weeks ago my employer had a three-day meeting about an hour south of where I live. Instead of staying at the hotel, I opted to commute. The gentleman I rooked into driving me is Jim.
I’ve worked with Jim for five years and we talk about everything. One of our subjects during these commutes was cars.
It seems Jim’s first car was a 1972 Dodge Dart. Upon my inquiry of it possessing a slant six or a 318, he twisted his face and said, “318. Sort of.”
From what Jim remembers (he’s roughly my age, so this wasn’t that long ago) the prior owner of the Dart became quite fanatical about fuel mileage in the early 1980s. Rather than trading for a different car, the owner opted to exercise some backyard engineering. We all know the pitfalls with that.
When the Dart came into Jim’s possession in the late 1980s, the LA block was still intact. What differed was the 318 V8 was, for all intents and purposes, a V4. The previous owner had removed the spark plugs and drilled holes into four of the pistons thus eliminating all compression for those four cylinders. The rotating mass and timing were unchanged. He had driven it that way for several years before Jim acquired it.
While such a conversion creates umpteen questions in my mind, primarily metal shavings floating around the innards of the engine, it all worked as well as could be expected.
When I asked Jim about fuel mileage, he had no clue as “Jason, I was sixteen; my foot was always on the floorboard as it had no power and I wanted to blow it up and get a complete engine. Do you know how impossible it is to kill a 318?”
Jim sold the Dart shortly before entering the Marine Corps and it ran for several more years.
Thus, my question: What is the weirdest automotive modification you’ve seen or heard about?