RK Nation: David’s Turbodiesel-Swapped ‘Valcedes’ 1974 Plymouth Valiant

David Brooks has built a bit of a sleeper with this four-door 1974 Plymouth Valiant, though it’s perhaps not quite what you’d expect. There’s no turbocharged 360 or Big-Block 440 lurking under the hood. Instead, he’s ditched the original Slant Six engine for something a bit more offbeat. Meet the Valcedes, a ‘74 Valiant with the turbodiesel engine from a 1983 Mercedes 300D.


When we asked what the members of RK Nation were working on, David sent us a response that included the line “I’m not sure if this is something you’d be into or not seeing as how Mopar guys usually like their rides a little more original.” Pfffft…Of course, we’re into this. David had a car and an engine, so he put them together. What else more do you need? We think this kind of outside-the-box thinking is great and what makes tinkering with cars so great. If you can make it work and you like it, do it and have fun with it.


We’ll let David fill in the details.

“It’s pretty much your standard Valiant with the only notable factory installed feature being the original air conditioning. The 225 slant six that it came with was worn out and wouldn’t push the car over 10mph when I got it. Obviously this just wouldn’t cut it.”


“Rather than follow in everyone else’s footsteps and drop a 360 or 440 in and make all kinds of power, my goal was for more of a highway cruiser with AC.”


“In comes the donor motor: a Mercedes OM617 turbodiesel from an ’83 300D. After a friend showed me one running while hanging on his motor stand, I knew the Valiant would have to have one.”


“I used factory Mercedes everything other than motor mounts, including Mercedes AC and power steering. After a few long nights and a lot of cut-and-trimmed factory steel, the Valcedes was born.”


“It’s not a speed demon, but it’s definitely no slouch with a little extra boost. Being raised in a Mopar family, I figured I’d stray from keeping it original and go for originality instead.”


That’s a pretty original take, we’ll grant him. And how good are David’s photos? Check out more of them in the gallery below. You can also share your unique builds like David’s on our RK Nation section or by emailing TheGuys@Roadkill.com with the subject line “RK Nation.”

Something to Say?

5 thoughts on “RK Nation: David’s Turbodiesel-Swapped ‘Valcedes’ 1974 Plymouth Valiant

  1. This is a great build. The OM617 has been an alternative motor with some of the Jeep guys, mostly for the XJ platform. They’re not powerhouses, but they are efficient and reliable as a hammer. It’s refreshing to see a build that doesn’t follow “the norm.” Built to enjoy driving, there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

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