Back in early May, we featured an interesting video from YouTuber ThunderHead289, AKA Luke Finley. He’s something of a wizard when it comes to engines, and he adapted a lawn mower carburetor to work on an old Ford 5.0-liter V8 engine in a 1970s Ford Maverick sedan. In short, the engine ran just fine, and the old car managed upwards of 40 mpg on the highway in a test run. But what about something a bit more ambitious?
It seems Finley decided to join the fleet of muscle machines embarking on the annual Hot Rod Power Tour. The week-long drive through the southern states concluded on June 17, and a recent post on his Instagram page confirms the old 302 cubic-inch V8 engine survived the trip. More importantly, it did the journey with the tiny lawn mower carburetor still in place.
That is, it did most of the journey with the carb contraption. The video at the top of this article chronicles the very beginning of the trip, which featured a normal car-sized carburetor in place. There was a problem with the throttle linkage on his modded setup that needed to be fixed, and Finley also wanted to install the carburetor with an audience of people on the trip watching it happen. With the linkage fixed, the normally thirsty V8 settled back into an average of between 35 and 45 mpg on the highway. Considering gasoline prices are at all-time highs, it’s not a bad way to roll for a week-long road trip in an old muscle car.
As our original article stated, this project involves far more than just bolting a small carburetor to a big engine. Aside from 3D printing special adapters to make it fit on the engine, there’s a litany of sub-assemblies and sensors that help balance the air-fuel ratio. Finley also has a special app on his phone to allow for fine-tuning, but the carb itself is unmodified. And, as Finley says in the video, this is an experiment in absurdity, not practicality. Still, it seems to be working amazingly well.
Of course, the trade-off for mileage is power. Exactly how much power is sacrificed is unknown, but we understand Finley may have made a dyno pull or two recently. He does say the car isn’t dangerously slow, so hopefully, there will be a new video coming soon showcasing more of this very strange but clever adventure in old V8 performance.