Few engines can truly claim the status of legend, but the Slant Six, used in Dodge vehicles from 1960 to 1987, is one of them. Some old garage hands say that if it was properly cared for, a good old Slant Six might just run forever.
A clean-sheet-of-paper design, the Slant Six originally took its name from its innovative cylinder layout—the block was laid over on its side 30 degrees to the right to allow a low center of gravity and a low, sleek hood profile to accommodate the futuristic body styling of the era. Many of the features of the Slant Six were equally unique and advanced: chromium piston rings, ram-tuned manifolds, and even a die-cast aluminum block on some models. Engineers reported 20 percent more power for the Slant Six compared to the previous six-cylinder engine, with a 15 percent gain in fuel economy as well.
Over the years, the Slant Six was produced in 170-, 198-, and 225-cubic-inch versions for use in both Dodge and Plymouth vehicles. Due to the engine’s almost indestructible nature, it was also a popular choice for agricultural, marine, and industrial applications. Introduced on the 1960 Dodge car line, the Slant Six remained in production for passenger car use until 1983, and in trucks until 1987—an amazing 27 years, more than a quarter of a century.
In fact, the Slant Six proved to be so durable and reliable that even as the 21st century began, replacement engines and parts were still being manufactured in Mexico for heavy-duty use in emerging markets around the world. Few mass-produced goods can claim such amazing longevity. Many Dodge owners still look back fondly today at their first cars powered by Slant Six engines that just wouldn’t quit. It’s part of the Dodge brand’s reputation for quality that stands to this day.