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Solvang Datsun Show and Vintage Race Report…5/1/11

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 1:45 am on May 2, 2011


What a weekend! On Saturday we enjoyed a day in Solvang, Ca for the 24th Annual Datsun Roadster show and on Sunday drove back up to Laguna Seca to catch some vintage racing.

We always drive our Datsun roadster to the show but with a baby on the way we decided to play it safe and leave the Datsun at home.  Instead we drove the ZCG 370(still keeping it Nissan) down to Solvang where it was welcomed into the show! If you have never been to this small town just outside of Santa Barbara it is really worth visiting. There is something for everyone here: shopping, food, wine-tasting, outdoor activities, and the last weekend of every April a huge gathering of Datsuns 🙂

This year’s show brought Datsun owners from all over the country and even the Netherlands! There were 68 cars including roadsters, 510s, Zs and others from showroom-stock examples to wildly modified beasts. Here are a few show highlights from a roadster-owner’s point of view; it’s not hard to see that we love our cars and there is a dedicated following to keep them on the road!

Mike Young is known as a top Datsun restoration specialist and he won Best in Show with his fully restored and concourse-correct 1967.5 2000. This is the most coveted model of all Datsun roadsters with less than 1000 cars produced and even fewer still in existence. Mike has great attention to detail and it shows throughout the car even in the engine bay:


A gentleman from SoCal fabricated an entire roadster frame/chassis with custom front and rear suspension with the intent of selling to the masses. Check out the rack and pinion steering, tubular A-arms with coil-overs and linked rear end:


Engine swaps from modern vehicles are common into roadsters. Although Nissan drivetrains are popular leave it to Datsun roadster owners to buck the trend. Here is a beautiful ’67 1600 that has a full GM Eco-Tec drivetrain found in the Pontiac Solstice. I really liked the white faced aftermarket gauges:


Speaking of engine swaps and gauges…running the factory speedometer and tachometer (mechanical) with your late-model engine swap(electronic) of choice has been difficult/near impossible to do. Enter roadster owner and aviation gauge specialist John Frampton. Not only does he fully restore a 45 year old speedometer gauge to new, he takes it up a notch and modifies the gauge internals to work with late model engines. Brilliant. Here are 2 examples of his “electrified” gauges. A set of 67.5 gauges on the left, and ’66 on the right. Both are getting signals from the SR20 drivetrains underhood. Eagle eyes will notice the digital odometer in place of the mechanical one 🙂


Here is a small sampling of pretty cars with different paint jobs and wheels. Panasports and Libras are common but the new Rota “Rb” model has made it’s debut on a few cars:


People. It’s what makes the Roadster Show so much fun. Datsun folks in general are cool people. We help each other out. Tuning carburetors is a black art to most of us. Getting them to run smoothly and efficiently is not easy…unless you are this guy. Can’t tune your SUs properly? …[read more]