We were tipped off to this video of a 3-53 Detroit Diesel Powered 1970 Road Runner by longtime BangShifter Erich Von Dussen who forwarded us the link. What you are about to see is a walk around and driving video narrated by the owner/builder of this Road Runner.
Originally a big block four speed car it retains the four speed but not much else ahead of that. The 159ci two stroke diesel engine produces 101hp and just over 200 lb-ft of torque. Hooked to what we think is the factory Chrysler four speed, we’re guessing it’ll run down the highway at about 65mph before the thing runs out of steam. Peak power comes at about 2,800rpm with these engines. Don’t let the displacement fool you though. A Detroit Diesel 3-53 weighs 965lbs! That’s more than 300lbs more than the 383 weighed that lived in this car when it rolled out of the factory.
You will see owner Jon Shaw start the car, show you the engine bay, and then drive the car down the road. He accelerates through the gears and cruises along like any normal car would. Being that the engine is so tall there’s no way to get a hood on the sucker unless you run a massive cowl or cut a hole for the top of the mill (Which we would be in favor of). It runs like a top and sounds pretty mean with the engine growling away in the nose of the car.
Interestingly, Shaw says that he drives the machine on a mixture of 50/50 diesel fuel and used fry oil . Being that 25 mpg is what he is getting for mileage, he figures it for about 50mpg being that half of the fuel in the tank is all but free! In looking at the comments on the video he has driven this car some 12,000 miles since the engine was installed and that more than lots of muscle cars see in their lifetime. He plans on upgrading the injectors and adding a turbo to the program to move the power numbers to perhaps double what they are currently.
We realize LOTS of you will hate this but what has he done that cannot be put back if someone wanted to? We’d prefer this car and its owner to be out and on the rods rather than rotting under a tree, wouldn’t you? The people who should be really mad are those that have some sort of a freaky muscle car engine swap in progress because you officially lose. We’re not sure ANYONE is topping a 3-53 Detroit Diesel powered 1970 Road Runner.
If you are planning to, please let us know!