Last minute Christmas shopping in your…

Old Ford Falcon in Uruguay

Your classic car that is approximately the opposite of restored, proclaiming it’s retrofitted with a Mercedes 220 diesel engine (cool for me, actually; I drove a gas 1960 Mercedes 220 when I was 17 in 1971—aah, we won’t got there for now). I don’t understand the details of engine mounts and such, but it strikes me as typical Uruguayo to pull off such a feat.

Windows left open; apparently not concerned about spontaneous theft.

Really, the more I look at this snapshot the more I wish I had hung around to interview the owner: what mods did you do to marry a Mercedes engine block to a Ford Falcon transmission?

And what signifies the “USA?”

Instead, I plodded inside Tienda Inglesa to film a mechanical dinosaur.

We all have our priorities.

4 comments

  1. ufn says:

    This has a simple-complicated explanation: Diesel fuel was for many years heavily subsidized: after all, is the fuel of choice for buses, trucks, in heavy machinery (harvesters,seeder machines, tractors,etc). So Diesel fuel was cheap, and diesel powered cars were very expensive. In that time it was legal to import used engines, so many mecánicos did the fitting: old cars with a “new” diesel engine. So you could save lots of money in fuel. BUT…it seems that for a certain quantity of petroleum you can refine MUCH MORE gasoline THAN diesel fuel. In a few words: ANCAP started to sell outside the country lots of excedent gasoline,cheaper than in Uruguay!!! WHY? Because all the people drove Diesel fuel powered cars, vans, SUVs,4×4 pick-ups; remember, diesel was 50% cheaper to help industry and work…in ANCAP they did not what to do with all the gasoline they did not sell so after some time of thinking and brainstorming somebody decided to stop subsidized diesel fuel, ban importing used engines. But the skills needed to do the change of engine still are there…some ten years ago gasoline powreed cars were slowly becoming a rarity
    The USA may mean that the car is made in USA; here “made in USA” is seen as a proof of good quality…may be is true, the Falcon is 53 yrs old and is still running

    Fuel is expensive here because a) petroleum is imported and b) is heavily taxed
    For the same two reasons cars are also expensive here (new and used alike)
    Nowadays diesel powered personal cars are hard to see (and sell…)
    Lots of taxis are gasoline (nafta) powered now
    Sorry for my broken english

  2. Doug DuBosque says:

    Thanks for the explanation! I heard in 2010 that new diesel personal cars had been prohibited (from a car dealer).

    I hadn't thought of the USA that way, of course. There's a guy near us who refurbishes and sells “Made in USA” refrigerators. Thinking Bosch a good brand, we bought a Bosch refrigerator, made in Brazil, when we first arrived. Noisy, cheaply made: all the door trays have broken.

  3. Darío says:

    And there's a reason why the seller points out that it is made in the USA. Most Ford Falcons here (they used to be very popular) where manufactured in Argentina, but most people considered the american version superior. That's why they were sold at a premium.

    PS: Congrats for the blog; it´s very infomative.

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