Swaps, Swaps, Swaps! - Diesel World

A few of our favorites from the last 15-years

Diesel Swaps tend to be on just about everyone’s list of “one day” projects. So, seeing an old Chevelle with a Duramax for example, makes every car person get excited, even more so for us diesel nuts. Over the last 15 years we’ve shared countless diesel swapped rides, from boats to trucks and even a gold cart. Given this months Diesel Swaps theme, we thought we’d share a few of our favorites from years past. For more on these rides, head to DieselWorldMag.com

Rusty Rose

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Rat Rods are a breed of their own. These rigs are rusty and rustic on purpose and their owners are often as unique as their rigs. Harvey Grant is one of these unique car fanatics, and his Rusty Rose is one of a kind. A 1951 Chevy truck cab, 1950 bed, 1947 grille are all blended into the body for this Rat Rod. The drive train is out of a 1993 Dodge pickup. The 12-valve Cummins 5.7L diesel has been modified with twin stock turbos and other upgrades. While not technically an engine swap, it’s more of a custom build; this diesel rig is unique and shows just how wild you can get with your truck, if you let your imagination run away first.

Black Beauty

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This Duramax-Powered street/strip truck is owned by Brett Deutsch. His grandfather gifted this 1969 Chevy C10 for his 15th birthday. Brett’s grandfather had swapped in a three-cylinder Detroit Diesel engine, but the power was underwhelming. To satisfy his need for power, a swap to a small block Chevy gasser was installed but proved to be lacking too. Today, this truck is a Duramax-powered daily driver that can burn down the strip in the mid to low 9-second slot.

Crown Vic – 6.0L

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For most of us, it’s natural to do a double-take when we spot an old cop car. But folks who come across Matthew Barnett’s retired police cruiser aren’t just momentarily preoccupied with its physical appearance—they’re perplexed by what they hear. “People definitely swivel-neck when you drive by,” he told us. “I’ve had some pretty good looks.” And rightfully so, it’s got a 6.0L Power Stroke under the hood, and runs 12’s!

The Cummins Cuda

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It’s not often you run across a diesel-powered vehicle that’s unlike any other, yet that’s exactly the case with Weaver Customs’ ’70s Cuda. Nicknamed “Torc” (for obvious reasons), the 6.7L-powered Cummins Cuda is a unique blend of a high-end show car, a muscle car, and a diesel drivetrain swap. When looking over the car, there are no spots where we could find any body errors, turbo oiling or exhaust issues, or diesel clearance problems. Randy Weaver clearly thought this one out from the ground up when he debuted his newest creation.

DMAX’d Sand Rail

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When it came time to build a new demo vehicle, Merchant Automotive owner Nick Beaudoin turned to his sand roots and commissioned a sand drag rail. But it wasn’t just any rail, the MA team wanted to build their own car and power it with the engine they’re well known to work on. Thus, the idea for a Duramax-powered sand rail drag car was hatched. About a year later, they’re shaking up the sand box at every opportunity.

A Tight Fit

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When Chris Ohl didn’t like the prices he was seeing while shopping for the family farm’s new service truck, he decided to take matters into his own hands with an old Chevy truck. He would build it himself—and it would be one of a kind. After all, his great grandpa’s ’51 old school Chevrolet 3800, a 30,000-mile 1-ton grain truck that’d been parked for a number of years, was practically begging to be transformed into a service rig. This is the end result. A 1951 Chevy 3800 with a service body, 94 Ram chassis, and a very healthy 12-valve Cummins.

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Rick Fletes loves power and is a real car enthusiast. He loves Detroit Iron and going fast on the track. Being a practical type, Rick knew that it would be more economical to swap a Duramax into his ride than purchasing a new one with a big-block Chevy gas engine inside.

Cummins-Powered Classic Wagon 

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Strength, reliability and simplicity—that’s the way pickups used to be made. Trucks were made for work, not comfort. Vintage pickups are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and Brian Wellman of Crandall, Indiana, is the enthusiastic owner of a very unique, classic Dodge. While it was acquired in the rough, this W200 Dodge Crew Cab was restored to a near-new condition. The major upgrade was the swap to a 1993 12-valve Cummins. The diesel is mated to a ’92 A518 overdrive automatic and a divorced mount 205 T-case splits the power to both axles on this 4×4.

1948 Ford F3 Pickup

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The 1948 Fat Fender F3 Ford pickup is a classic that is as cool today, as it was when it drove off the line. While unique in and of itself, owner Andrew Derdok wanted something extra special for his restoration. That special touch is the 5.9L 12-valve Cummins under the hood. The diesel is backed by a Dodge 727 automatic and 3.07 “road gears” let this truck cruise down the road at the posted highway speeds with ease. The original plan was to make this truck a daily driver and carry a dirt bike and other toys in the back. That plan changed when the finished rig transformed into a show quality ride. While driven routinely, the hauling of dirt bikes is strictly prohibited.

1967 Camaro Racer

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The owner of this red racer, Dustin Hamm from Sebastopol, California, acquired this 1967 Camaro when he was just 16 years old. It came to him with a 600-hp small-block Chevy gasser V-8. The trouble was, the power came at a cost. The cost of getting just 8 miles per gallon was seen at every fill-up. In 2009 Hamm decided to swap in a LBZ Duramax diesel. This was swapped into the Camaro, with a 47RH automatic from a Dodge diesel truck. The Camaro now gets 25-30 mph around town and turns in 13.0 ETs at around 110 mph on the track.

1929 Model A Oil Burner

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It has become an urban myth that when Henry Ford introduced the Model T, it was available in any color you wanted, as long as it was black. This isn’t true, but the fact that neither the Model T nor late Model A where available with a diesel engine is. Cirius Noble is the owner of this fine 1929 Model A, and it does have a diesel. A 2.1L (128 ci) I4 Renault diesel from a ’89 Jeep Cherokee was swapped into the Ford. This engine has an aluminum block and weighs only two-thirds of the original cast iron Ford gasser. It also has more than double the horsepower, and it get’s better mileage too.