General Motors had started making a 6.2 liter Diesel engine for their pickups. It was advertised to be the greatest advance in power that had ever been. I had to have one. I found one. I didn’t care what color it was or where I had to go to get it. I just needed to hear the roar of that big diesel engine and feel the power when I stepped down on it.
There was one other thing. It had to have all the features available, but had to have rubber floor mats instead of carpet. That was a pretty tall order, as most trucks were then coming with carpet. I finally located one in San Antonio. I remember like it was yesterday. I drove that baby off the lot from Ancira Winton Chevrolet on I-10 west.
My love affair ended almost instantly. It just about got me killed getting back to Austin. You could punch it and it just wouldn’t go. It was loud, you could barely talk to your passenger while driving down the road.
In order to start it, I had to be sure and plug the engine heater in every night with an extension cord (I just left it strung out from the garage) to keep the block warm or it wouldn’t start in the mornings. Whether it was winter or summer, it didn’t matter. I always left out really early every morning and when I’d fire that baby off I could just watch all the neighbors lights start coming on. I never was around a threshing machine, but from what I’ve been told, that’s what it sounded like.
General Motors took their gas engine and modified it instead of building one from scratch. They used that engine in some their cars too. I don’t think I ever met anyone that bought a vehicle with that engine that was very proud of it. That was at a time that diesel was relatively cheap and the government was pushing to wean people off of gasoline. Sure rings of what’s happening nowadays, except it’s all about electric cars. That experiment nearly put GM out of business.
I didn’t end up driving that pickup all that long before I handled it off to one of my superintendents. He lived in a little garage apartment at the back of our office. Since I got to the office in the very early hours of the morning, I still got to listen to that heep startup each day.
We finally parked it and it set for a long time. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. One of my mechanics at the time knew a fellow that had a gasoline engine sitting around so I sold to the fellow. On credit. You guessed it, I signed the title over to him and to date 35 or more years and I’ve never received a dime out of it. I ran around haranguing that guy for a couple of years, listening to one sad story after another. I finally gave up and called it another lesson learned.