Good morning! Today is a celebration of cast-iron excess as we look at two good ol’ V8s installed in very different vehicles: one incrediby useful, and one utterly frivolous. But before we do, let’s just take a quick peek at Friday’s results:
Two clear front-runners, and the winner is a surprise to me. I didn’t realize there was still so much love for the X1/9 out there. It’s definitely a cool little car, and I’m glad you all think so, too.
By the way, what do we think of the Friday runoff? Do we want to stick with that, or go back to weirder/more expensive Friday choices? And if we stick with the roundup/recap, do you want a poll? Or just an open discussion about the four? Please let me know what you think in the comments.
“I don’t know what the world may need,” sings David Lowery of Cracker in the song Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now), “but a V8 engine’s a good start for me.” I agree; there really is nothing like the heady throb of a good V8. We may not have invented the V8 engine (that was the French), or been the first to stick one between the frame rails of a car (that was Rolls-Royce), but once we started mass-producing the things (starting with Cadillac, in 1914), we were hooked. And the rest, as they say, is history. So for today’s Shitbox Showdown, to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, both our contenders are V8-powered. Let’s check them out.
Engine/drivetrain: 7.5 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, part-time 4WD
Location: Oakley, CA
Odometer reading: 113,000 miles
Runs/drives? Just fine
Based on sheer numbers alone, one could argue that the Ford F-series trucks are the most American vehicles there are. Ford sells hundreds of thousands of these things every year, in all its various configurations, and shows no signs of slowing down. Add to that the fact that they’re built like tanks, and it’s no wonder there is a Ford truck on damn near every street corner in America (even Winslow, Arizona).
Back in the early 1990s, this was one of the biggest, burliest Ford trucks you could get: the heavy-duty F250, in extended-cab long-bed format. It’s the XLT trim, with four-wheel-drive, and a gigantic seven-and-a-half liter V8 under the hood. That’s 460 cubic inches to you and me. Or three and three-quarter Ford Mavericks, if you prefer. It’s a big engine. It doesn’t put out a ton of horsepower – only 230 – but it produces almost 400 pound-feet of torque. Need to pull a gigantic boat out of the water? Have a big-ass trailer? Gotta pick up and deliver the entire contents of a Home Depot to a job site? This is your truck.
The seller says this big Ford runs and drives well. It has a bunch of new parts, good tires, working air conditioning, and it just passed smog. It’s ready to go. The interior looks pretty nice, and the outside isn’t too bad either, except for a little peeling clear coat. You wouldn’t want to commute in it – it probably gets ten miles per gallon on a good day, and parallel-parking is a pipe dream – but it can handle anything else you can throw at it.
Trucks with more capability than any sane person will ever use are common these days, and they do get used for such mundane purposes as commuting. Back when this truck was built, you didn’t buy the heavy duty big block unless you needed the heavy duty big block. But when it comes to thirty-year-old used trucks, you can only choose from what’s available, and it makes sense to shop on condition rather than spec, and this truck is in nice condition.
Engine/drivetrain: 5.7 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, RWD
Location: Seattle, WA
Odometer reading: 118,000 miles
Runs/drives? “Strong,” says the seller
The Chevy Corvette is, use-wise, just about as far away from a pickup truck as you can get. It’s not practical, it’s not efficient, it has zero cargo space, and it can’t really do anything except look cool and go fast. And this one isn’t even all that fast, and the degree to which it looks cool is highly subjective.
Personally, I like this look on a C4. The spoiler and the ground effects are a little silly, but at least they have some provenance – they’re genuine Greenwood pieces, a company that knows a thing or two about Corvette tuning. The black BBS wheels look pretty sharp on there too, though the stock wheels are included as well if you’d prefer.
C4 Corvette engines came in one displacement and one displacement only – 350 cubic inches. This one features tuned-port fuel injection instead of the previous year’s “Cross Fire” dual throttle body injection. It’s good for a reasonably healthy (for 1985) 230 horsepower, and spins the fat rear tires through a 700R4 overdrive automatic. Corvettes of this era did offer a manual, a four-speed with overdrive on the top three gears commonly known as the “4+3,” but personally, having driven early C4s with both transmissions, I prefer the automatic. It just suits the car better, and the 4+3 is kind of a pain in the ass to deal with.
The seller says this car runs and drives “strong,” but needs “a little TLC.” They’re including new power window switches and a new stereo in the sale, so I guess those are included in the needed repairs. But overall, this is about the nicest C4 I’ve seen for this price. You can find them cheaper – if you don’t mind trashed interiors, blown transmissions, or faded paint. This one actually seems useable from the get-go.
So there they are, two good old fashioned V8s, in very different vehicles, with very different purposes. Both of them are ready to drive off, both are low mileage, and neither one looks abused. Which one fits better in your life?
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)