Good morning! It’s Friday, it’s springtime, nobody gives a damn about rules on a day like this, so today, I just picked two cars I liked. No rhyme or reason, just stuff I’ve always thought was cool. I suppose we should finish up with yesterday’s gas-misers before we move on, though:
Ooh, that Smarts. Japanese technology laying the smack down on the little European go-kart. As it happens, I agree; I’ve always liked the first-generation Insight, and I like its successor the CR-Z even better.
But clearly, judging by my typical taste in cars, I’m not meant to drive little fuel-sipping runabouts. Because when I let my mind go where it wants, where do I end up? V8 town. Today we have a big slab-sided sedan and a rough-and-tumble 4×4 pickup, both built deep into last century, both with big pushrod V8s that suck down fuel like it’s going out of style. (Which, I suppose, it is.) These two, to me, would make an epic two-car garage, but if you had to settle for one, which would it be? Let’s take a look.
Engine/drivetrain: 318 cubic inch overhead valve V8, three-speed automatic, RWD
Location: Hillsboro, OR
Odometer reading: 168,000 miles
Runs/drives? “A true daily driver,” the ad says
You may have noticed that I’m a bit of a Mopar fan. It runs in the family: my dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa all loved their Chryslers. They had their favorites, and I have mine, and the 1966 Plymouth Fury is one of them. Just look at this majestic slab-sided beast: the stacked headlights, the clean crisp angles, the dog-dish hubcaps, that long low profile. I just love it.
The Fury was available with a wide variety of engines beneath that long flat hood, from the 225 cubic inch Slant Six all the way up to a 440 cubic inch big block. This one is powered by the smallest V8 offered, a 318, backed by a Torqueflite automatic. It’s no muscle car, but it will get the job done.
The seller claims this was a daily driver and family hauler throughout the winter, driving all over the state. Mechanically, it’s said to be in great shape, and cosmetically it isn’t too bad either. There’s no rust, only one small wrinkle in the left front corner, and some wear and tear on the interior, but nothing you couldn’t live with. And the wool blanket on the seat looks like it belongs there anyway.
I can’t see this as a family vehicle in this day and age, with essentially no safety features, but kudos to the seller for using it as one for a time. I can, however, see it pulling our old Aristocrat Land Commander trailer. It’s even the right year. I’d rather have a two-door hardtop, of course, but I’m sure that wouldn’t be as affordable as this.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention – this car has a name. It’s Frank.
Engine/drivetrain: 304 or 345 cubic inch overhead valve V8, three- or four-speed manual, part-time 4WD
Location: Monterey, CA
Odometer reading: unknown
Runs/drives? Nope, has been sitting for years
And who doesn’t love a Scout? The legendary four-wheel-drive utility vehicle, which may be coming back at least in name, managed to out-cool Jeeps, Broncos, and Blazers, despite being descended from farm equipment. There’s just something about International Harvester’s signature sport-utility that oozes cool. And this one, the long-wheelbase pickup model, is set up just about perfectly: chunky tires, a brush guard, and a big rollbar with lights on top. It’s like a Stomper toy come to life.
Unfortunately, this Scout isn’t currently roadworthy. It has been sitting for many years, and the seller (a dealership, I believe) has no idea of its mechanical condition. It’s all there, including the big International V8, a manual gearbox, a low-range transfer case, and solid axles on leaf springs at both ends. It’s no luxury ride, but then, it isn’t meant to be.
Maybe the rough ride is the reason for the non-original seats, which look like they came out of a Chrysler Cordoba or something. The steering wheel and tilt column are also not original, and might be Jeep or Chrysler parts. Also, this truck was originally yellow. Clearly, it has some stories to tell.
International’s V8, which was available in the Scout in either 304 or 345 cubic inch displacements, has a reputation for durability, but also thirst. Gas mileage on this truck probably barely breaks into the double digits. But it’s a lazy, low-revving stump-puller of an engine that probably won’t be hard to bring back to life. International also sold the Scout with a four-cylinder engine that’s basically just half of this V8; ironically, its fuel economy isn’t a hell of a lot better.
’70s SUVs are hot right now, and while it’s the Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer that have really seen big price increases, Scouts aren’t far behind. This rough pickup wouldn’t have carried a $7500 price tag even a few years ago, but that’s where we are now. I just hope the prices don’t get so crazy that these vehicles can’t be used as intended; if you can’t drive a 4×4 for fear of scratching it, what’s the point?
So that’s it for another week. Let me know your thoughts on these two long-time favorites of mine, and be sure to vote for your choice. We’ll be back bext week with more clunkers. Thanks for reading!
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)