From the June 2023 concern of Automotive and Driver.
There is a 7.3-liter V-8 hidden beneath the doghouse, and at full whack, its snare-drum-tumbling-in-a-cement-mixer soundtrack calls up recollections of faculty buses. I am climbing a light grade by way of Arizona, not in a Blue Fowl or a Thomas, however in a Ford E-350 chassis-cab dually, and the engine making an attempt out for the drum line is Ford’s heavy-duty truck V-8. And the doghouse? That is what folks within the van world name the protruding engine cowl that doubles as a part of the dashboard.
One other cross-country drive, my third in 9 months, this time on the wheel of a rented 16-foot field truck ﬁlled with my Los Angeles life. Hanging off the again is a automotive provider with my soon-to-be spouse’s 2015 Ford Escape. At 65 mph, the E-series pack mule wants fixed minding to maintain it from wandering off to the appropriate, but I am forming a bond with this crude factor. 5 days with a car carrying on its again almost each invaluable you personal fosters appreciation and affection. That admiration results in overlooking the traditional E-series-based design’s many, many shortcomings. Complaints appear trite and inappropriate. Conestoga wagon riders did not whine in regards to the experience high quality, wind noise, cushion softness, brake-pedal really feel, dim headlights, and nonexistent sense of straight forward, and neither will I.
The present E-series dates to 1992. Although its life as a van led to 2014, it continues on as a chassis cab. What’s a chassis cab? Think about what’s left behind after you ﬁllet a ﬁsh—on this case, a coelacanth. As an alternative of a ﬁsh head, there’s the cab of a van, and rather than the backbone is an extended ladder body. It is the Lego of the automotive world. Construct an ambulance, a field truck, a camper, or perhaps a small bus. And whereas the chassis could also be a dwelling fossil, the 7.3-liter V-8 debuted just some years in the past. Dubbed Godzilla, it is a pushrod design with an iron block and aluminum heads. It makes as a lot as 430 horsepower within the F-series Tremendous Obligation and can take an F-350 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, however within the E-series, it is a low-stress 325-hp tune to fulfill federal emission guidelines for heavy-duty vans. In consequence, horsepower and torque peak collectively at 3750 rpm. Loaded up, it burned a gallon of 87 octane each 10 miles.
Engine tuners are embracing the Godzilla V-8 because it would not take a lot to wake it up. Guarantees of 600 and 700 or extra horsepower are widespread. Granted, these are tuner claims, however let an enormous engine rev, and it will make large energy. The pushrod setup is comparatively compact in comparison with overhead-cam engines, permitting crate variations to slide simply into Fox-body Mustangs.
Considered by way of a contemporary lens, it is a easy machine. Name the engine back-to-basics, however you’ll be able to’t say that in regards to the chassis as a result of it did not return; it merely by no means left. The entrance and rear suspensions could possibly be on show on the Henry Ford museum, but it will get the job achieved: a secure arrival and no valuables harmed. Any car that may try this deserves some love.
Tony Quiroga is an 18-year-veteran Automotive and Driver editor, author, and automotive reviewer and the nineteenth editor-in-chief for the journal since its founding in 1955. He has subscribed to Automotive and Driver since age six. “Rising up, I learn each concern of Automotive and Driver cowl to cowl, typically three or extra occasions. It is the place I needed to work since I might learn,” Quiroga says. He moved from Vehicle Journal to an affiliate editor place at Automotive and Driver in 2004. Through the years, he has held almost each editorial place in print and digital, edited a number of particular points, and in addition helped produce C/D’s early YouTube efforts. He’s additionally the longest-tenured take a look at driver for Lightning Lap, having lapped Virginia Worldwide Raceway’s Grand Course greater than 2000 occasions over 12 years.