4k: I Can’t Drive 55 MPG: 1974 Chevrolet Corvette TDI

The intersection of hair metal and eco-geekdom is a lonely one, marked by the paradoxical symbiosis of Birkenstocks and acid-washed jackets in the same closet. Do you wear a mullet not because it is stylish, but because you want to reduce the amount of toxic sunscreen runoff in our rivers, but still protect your neck from the damaging effects of sunshine coming through a ozone depleted stratosphere?  If your idea of a rad night out is wearing gold-chain necklaces to a Sierra Club meeting, set down your tofu burger, take the syringe out of your arm, and check out this 55 MPG Corvette. Find this 1974 Chevrolet Corvette with Volkswagen 1.9L TDI swap in New London, CT for $4,000 via craigslist.

Emerging from a hand-made fiberglass orifice like Thom Yorke from a pool hall is a 1.9-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder, most likely from a 2002 Golf. It made 109 horsepower and 173 ft-lb or torque from the factory – lower than even the 165 horses in the worst C3 Corvette engine. Fortunately, performance can be uncorked from the little VW unit as easily as it can be released from whatever emissions-choked V8 once chugged away under this Vette’s hood. Although going faster shouldn’t be your priority until you’ve sorted out, say, every other component.

Save this picture for the next person who wants to trade in their 15-year-old economy box for something “with a nicer interior.” Somebody drove this car every day for the past three years. It was probably worse than this at some point – it might not have had that wooden cupholder, for instance, or what seems to be the gauge cluster of a TDI-equipped Volkswagen dangling near the glove box.

Shift action comes from a Toyota truck-sourced 5-speed, and an ACME Adapters plate (Wile E. Coyote need not apply) hooks them together. It’s said to run and drive well, and just needs cosmetic attention to be a great car. Shyeah, and monkeys might fly out of my vegan, fair-trade, non-GMO butt.

See a stranger high-efficiency build? Email us at tips@dailyturismo.com. 

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.