Since the original 600-6TDE would have been much too old for this, I’ve built its direct descendant - and it looks like I might have one of the newest vehicles here (and the first one on the '09 3.1-meter F-segment body).
But first, a bit of history on the car’s predecessor (which might affect its standings, but whatever)…
1978-1989 Gatz Valerian Mk4 600-6TDE (VSX40/D) (1986 second facelift shown)
The first Gatz Valerian to ever be run turbocharged and on diesel power, called the 600-6TDE, was a slap-dash hackjob made to beat the EPA and by stuffing the now-legendary KZNG-truck-source KR-60-O/TDE. This massive 6-liter overhead-valve turbodiesel straight-six - the left half of KZNG’s monstrous ZR-120-O/TDE, used in semis, high-end pickup tricks, and the Valerian’s Euro-market platform sibling, the ultraluxe KZNG Statesman - turned an otherwise emissions-strangled personal luxury/sports/muscle coupe into one of the fastest and most efficient cars on the American market.
Almost 300 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of tire-churning torque from the big six - the first time any Gatz had had one bank of cylinders since 1924 - was no joke in a time when even Corvettes were barely capable of 200, and it not only could seat two more people than the Corvette, but it could do it in typical Gatz comfort and still get 17 mpg as it cracked 140 miles per hour and hit 60 in under 8 seconds.
It was a sensation with drivers who didn’t mind the complex mechanical fuel injection or a manual transmission, and wanted all the typical features of a personal-luxury coupe - comfort, space, power, prestige - with the added benefit of higher mileage and better reliability. It also was a hit with those who wanted to have fun in a more-expensive muscle car, but without most of the muscle-car problems.
Admittedly, the four-speed manual that was the trim’s only option - as well as the fact that it was the only six-cylinder Valerian in history - meant that it wasn’t all that popular with purists or wealthy commuters who didn’t want to put up with the fuel injection, the turbo, the manual, the massive boat-anchor six, and the somewhat off-putting image that a diesel car gives. Although it has somewhat become a drifter’s-favorite and county-mile-eating cruiser for those in the know, the 600-6TDE and its more-pedestrian 600-6PTE (introduced in 1980) were confined to the history books in 1989.
As quick stopgaps, the inline-six Vals were great; as actual trim lines, they were quickly outrun as Gatz’s V8s and V12s began to gain twin cams, four valves, VVT, turbochargers, multi-point injection, and all sorts of other fancy tech that put the truck-engined monsters out for good…
2012-present Gatz Valerian Mk6 600-6TDE Coupe (VSX60/D) (2014 first facelift shown)
…or were they?
To keep up with the times in the pickup-truck and ultra-luxe markets, KZNG replaced the 30-year-old KR-Series with the much-more-modern (and much-lighter) KS-60-TDE/4. The S, in this case, stands for Silicone. The entire block and the new DOHC head of the KS-Series were cast entirely out of aluminum silicone - shaving off half the weight, dropping emissions, and allowing it to be used reasonably in passenger cars without wrecking the balance too harshly. Not only that, but the somewhat-dated Mk5 Valerian/Statesman’s V8s and V12s were proving once again to be a bit too uneconomical and expensive for the EU and US markets, despite all the advancements that they had gained in the '80s and '90s. So, what does Gatz do when they need to beat the EPA and maintain the Valerian’s performance image while maintaining reliability and
s m o o t h n e s s once more?
Well, this is what happens.
That’s right. The madmen from Marion, Michigan did it again. They stuck the KS-Series - a 450-horsepower, 600-pound-feet torque monster - and stuffed it under the hood of their new Mk6 Valerian with all-wheel-drive and a 7-speed automatic to help make the beast easier to control.
It proved to be a bigger sensation than Gatz had hoped for, especially in sedan form, as the idea of a massive six getting 36-40 mpg average and still cracking 190 miles per hour turned out to be popular with the upper-middle-class folk - and they didn’t have to worry about shifting. At least, not if they didn’t want to. The TDE still was offered with a 6- or 7-speed manual as options for those who wanted even more fuel economy and didn’t mind rowing their own gears.
However, unlike the original, the new TDE wasn’t as shouty about its performance or its diesel engine. The only differences between it and a normal Valerian coupe are the small ducts on the front of the hood and the badge on the rear. And the diesel image that it gives off, especially after its sales got a bit oofed in the wake of Dieselgate.
Yes, I probably have the most meme-worthy car here, but I just couldn’t resist posting such an awesome machine after I missed my chance to post the original in CoP Part 1.