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1980 International Scout Turbodiesel - Diesel Alternatives

Lasting Impressions

Photography by Jason Thompson

To mainstream America the diesel engine is often misunderstood. For one thing, diesels aren't built for the present-obsessed. Instead they're prepared for what's on the horizon and answer a confident "yes" to the question; will it last? Take Donald Riepe's Nissan diesel-powered International Scout for example.

Before he retired, Donald installed and repaired diesel generators for a telephone company. This is what gave him his special knowledge to buy a diesel. Back in 1980 Don bought this International Scout II 4x4 turbodiesel. As he told Diesel Power, "Some of my friends thought I was crazy to pay $11,000 for it-most of them are dead now, but my Scout still lives and runs perfectly." The engine has steel cylinder sleeves, five-ring pistons, piston cooling oil jets, and a block-mounted oil cooler. Plus, everything on this engine is gear driven, so according to Don, "It will run for eternity."

So far, the Scout and its 198ci Nissan straight-six has traveled 212,681 miles, while getting 20-25 mpg. Donald believes diesel engines come from the factory optimally dialed-in for longevity, and has left well enough alone. A quick look underneath the Scout reveals an astonishing find. This 28-year-old engine doesn't leak a drop of oil! All the factory stickers are intact and the body is nearly rust-free.

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