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This Ford Mustang Has a 12-Valve Cummins Diesel Under the Hood

Road & Track logo Road & Track 9/8/2020 Mack Hogan
a car parked on the side of a dirt road: It's not the first American muscle car with a pickup truck motor, but it's one of the weirder swaps we've seen. © Westen Champlin on YouTube It's not the first American muscle car with a pickup truck motor, but it's one of the weirder swaps we've seen.

A lot of muscle car critics say Mustangs are nothing more than big-tired coupes with truck motors. That hasn't been true of the new pony cars in quite some time, but even if it were, truck motors aren't always a bad thing. At least, that's the reasoning behind Westen Champlin's "Smokestang" project.

As he's detailed on his YouTube channel, Champlin bought a crashed 2016 Ford Mustang and decided to give it a heart transplant. Rather than going for a GT500 or 3.5 EcoBoost swap, he opted to drop in a 12-valve Cummins diesel. The 12-valve is an iconic engine, originally used in farm equipment before its debut in the original 1989 heavy duty Ram.

Replay Video

That 5.9-liter straight-six, called the 6BT, is among the most revered diesel engines of all time. It was hugely popular in the truck community, earning a reputation for strong power and excellent durability. Its low-end torque made it great for hauling, but with a redline of 3000 rpm it's not exactly the ideal sports car engine. Peak power was also between 160-215 horsepower depending on the year and application, a notable step down from any modern Mustang powerplant.

Of course, none of that matters if the thing can't hold onto its fluids long enough to get to the drag strip. Champlin's has been a mess so far, understandable given that this isn't exactly a plug-and-play swap. In fact, he hasn't even tried to get the Mustang's electronics to play along; he doesn't have a key for the donor car, so he can't even roll down the windows while driving or turn on the stereo. All of the videos are entertaining, but the "first big tear" vlog is the one I'd start with.

Via CarScoops.


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