Engine swaps have always been a huge part of hot rodding. You’ve probably heard your forefathers speak of transplanting flat head V8’s into their hot rods or 327’s into their Tri-Fives. A decade ago a 350 could find its way into just about anything from Datsuns to Jeeps. In more modern times the LS motor has become a staple for swaps creeping into everything from Nissans to Mustangs.
So if a Chevy heart could motivate a Ford body could it work the other way around?
The students in the Western Wyoming Community College Automotive Technology Program (WWCC) certainly prove that it can be done with their 1967 Chevy C10.
1967 marked the debut of the second generation of the General Motors C/K line of trucks. These trucks featured updated styling as well as more creature comforts breaking away from the “work only” mentality lead by the 1960-66 models.
The 1967 model is very desirable because it came standard with a small factory rear window (as opposed to the larger window on 1969-72 models. Only two engines could be ordered: a 250 cubic inch straight six or a 283 cubic inch V8. A 7.3L Ford diesel certainly wasn’t on the dealer sheet!
As far as diesels go the Power Stroke is a household name (playfully called the Power Joke by Chevy fan) but the 7.3L that sits between this C10’s frame rails is more of a mystery.
Starting in 1983 Ford added diesel power to the F-Series pickup trucks through a partnership with International Harvester (later called Navistar). Originally they offered a 6.9L engine that competed with the 351 Windsor V8 for power but got the fuel economy of the 4.9L six cylinder. In 1987 displacement increased to 7.3L. This engine lived until 1994 when the Powerstroke replaced it.
So why would WWCC put one in their C10? Aside from reliability and decent fuel economy their program is all about having fun as they learn about automotive technology. Isn’t that what hot rodding is all about?