Tam was reminiscing fondly of cars, garages and mechanics she has known, describing a very common, taking a British sports car otherwise destined to rust away or end up as well-used spare parts, and giving it an American Engine Transplant. This is especially popular to apply to the years when the Brits were struggling to meet U.S. emissions standards and sacrificing engine performance on the the altar of being able to sell cars in the States. It's popular, too, for some of the engines that don't fare well when neglected (Jag's straight 6, for example; you can kill 'em dead if you treat them like Toyotas).
And she's right -- the cars usually have good suspensions, they look nice, why shouldn't J. Random Car-d00d have a peppy, low-maintenance engine in 'em, instead of the whole thing being a hanger queen?
Hey, it's not my car.
...However, the practice grates on me. It smacks of vandalism. Why not keep the darn engine the designer stuffed under the hood? I was sad when the original ignition system of my MGB had to be replaced by electronics -- the vacuum advance in the original distributor had a cam matched to profiles of the needles in the carburettors, you see, and when the distributor died, there was no replacement with that profile to be had.
Still, I tried to keep it original. The idea of pulling out the British Leyeland 1798 cc, "siamesed" 4-cylinder and dropping in, say, a Toyota 1800 (very nearly the same engine, with most of the bugs hunted down and tamed to harness) makes my skin crawl.
So while I appreciate her relishing a Jag-with-Detroit-inside, the machine itself, not so much; to me, it's a monster.
...To the driver, I suspect, it's a "monster," too, but in a good way.
And if the choice is that or a pile of rust? Rust isn't any fun! I still don't like it -- but the owner who does that is keeping one more oddball car on the road, and helping keep the parts suppliers going. So there's a benefit from it even for refeeeeened purist esthetics.
Still kinda makes me itchy. I can live with that.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago