Diesel Drag Cars Are The Strangest Thing

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When I saw this video, my initial response was, "Oh cool! A turbo diesel Grand National!" But when the thing started with a clattery growl, belching a cloud of thick black smoke, I reevaluated my first impression.

Maybe a Grand National is just supposed to be a Grand National, cranking the screaming turbocharged V6 that made the car famous.

When I was in high school, there was definitely a list of ultimate muscle cars I found on the fledgling internet that caught my attention. GM's LS6 Chevelle, Buick GSX and Olds 442 were among them, as were Ford's 428 Super Cobra Jet Mustang and Chrysler's 426 Hemi and 440 magnum equipped products. But the Grand National bucked the "no REplacement for DISplacement" model with its tiny 3.8 liter V6. In that analysis anyway, it was a faster straight-liner than all of those cars. But somehow it still managed to capture the spirit of their pre-Malaise cool.


Now, when I see a diesel powered muscle car roaring down the track next to a gas-guzzling pony, the feeling I get puzzles me. Maybe its the black cloud obscuring the blue of pure tire smoke. It could be the smell of low octane fuel (I mean, c'mon, the military uses it to burn vats of crap). Mostly, I think, it's the sound.

Some diesel drag cars are cool, but from where I stand, nothing beats the throaty roar of a gas engine. As far as what I want to drive on the street, I'll definitely take something that gets good gas mileage, and diesel engines tend to be great for that. If I want to see diesels drag race, I'll go to a tractor trailer race, or better yet a tractor pull.