You Can't Save Them All

Lo, a pale horse.

I have a voracious ’78 Terra. Whereas most of my projects can subsist on a regular diet of morsels from the local parts store, this truck has had me sacrifice at least three others just like it to keep it on the road. My garage is my own Little Shop of Horrors, so when this ’74 Travelall popped up on Craigslist for a mere $700, I thought I had found my next victim. Turns out the truth was a bit more twisted.

Death Proof -- the truck, not me.

No matter how many times I called or emailed, I couldn’t get the owner to give me the time of day, and eventually I stopped pestering the owner. Then I stumbled on the exact same rig in the local Pull-A-Part, sans instrument cluster and radio. Whoever had snagged the truck did so just for the gauges and left the rest to be picked apart by buzzards like myself. On opening the hood I found exactly what I was terrified to find in the first place – a complete 392, carb to oil pan.

It gets angry when you call it heavy.

Now, this presented something of a conundrum for the Bowman household. For one, I have a perfectly good 345 sitting on the engine stand at home. For two, the 304 that’s in Death Proof currently soldiers on without giving me too much grief, and lastly I have neither the space nor the inclination to store another massive IH engine in the shop. So what to do? Laden with environmental controls (which this engine isn’t) the 392 is good for 194 horsepower and 308 lb-ft of torque – a full 31 more ponies and 42 more twists than the 345. It’s also a shit-ton heavier and never came in the Scout chassis from the factory.

Big-block weight, small-block power.

I don’t ever really plan on doing any insane towing with DP, just regular runs to and from the hardware store, parts pulling and maybe a little project towing thrown in, so I didn’t feel I really needed those extra cubes. But at the same time, this was a 392 – a rare enough engine even when International was still churning them out. What’s more, this one was a mere $150 tip to tail. This is the crap that keeps me up at night. Save the lump from certain doom or leave it to its fate?

Let's go home, killer.

In the end, I choose a third route – I pulled the massive Carter and the rare four-barrel intake and went home. After doing a little digging, I found the parts will bolt right up to the 345 without a hiccup and allow for a little extra torque in the process. By the time I was out, the yard had bled me for close to $80, which made the pain of leaving the engine behind even worse, but sometimes you just have to face the fact that you can’t save — or keep — them all.

By |2010-03-20T12:01:02+00:00March 20th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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