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RACING: Datsun Bluebird SSS racer has arrived!

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 1:21 am on December 19, 2017

 

The Bluebird racecar has arrived and it is safe and sound at Z Car Garage! Customer Alex M recently won this car at auction with our friends from Bring A Trailer. Jim Froula of Racecraft built and raced this Bluebird throughout the PNW with SOVREN and we have fond memories of watching it in action at Laguna Seca:

 

Unfortunately, the Bluebird was never driven or raced for several years under previous owner Adam Carolla’s ownership. We will change that. This Datsun deserves to be driven in anger! Alex will be campaigning the car in the B-sedan series with CSRG.  This is a ultra-competitive vintage racing group with talented drivers like our buddy Glenn Chiou, who will be running his B-sedan 510!

 
 

The Bluebird is already well-sorted coming from Jim Froula. You can see a few pics of the restoration here:
HERE.

 
 

We can’t stop staring at that paint scheme and sloping roofline:

 

 

The Rebello L18 sports twin 50mm Mikunis backed by a T5 transmission.

 

Listen to the L-series symphony in the video clip below!

 

We have more pictures in the gallery to enjoy. See you at the track!
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EVENTS: The 2017 SEMA Show!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 5:27 am on November 29, 2017

 

SEMA was a blur this year—but that’s really no different than any other year for the most intense sensory overload in car show form on the planet. This trade-only show features all of the latest and greatest builds, technology, and creativity in our industry. While the show has historically been populated by American marques and their aftermarket support, in recent years the influx of Japanese metal (Nissan included) is undeniable.

 
 

We only attended the show for one day and while the crowds were as appalling as ever in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the quality of cars made it all worth it. It wasn’t just “cars” that got us excited, it was the astonishing number of vintage Datsuns/Nissans! The variety was astounding. We counted 16 cars from a 1972 Datsun 510 to 1983 Skyline and everything in between.

 

Year of the Datsun!

Our Datsun-hunting at SEMA started with Datsun 510s. Pro-drifter Chris Forsberg built this hot-rod 510 wagon for his wife. The Mazworx-built SR20DET is backed by an automatic transmission and even sports air-conditioning. Deep-lipped SSR MKIII wheels fill out the box-flares that are part of the “Hakobird” kit from Carbonsignal. This might be the closest thing to Hakosuka Skyline wagon!

 

Our friend and fellow 510 racer Troy Ermish built this ultra-clean 510 2-door for actor Daniel Wu. We dig the bronze Watanabe wheels and subtle paint color. A built L-series breathing through dual-Mikuni’s and stock-ish interior also makes us happy. You can learn more about the build from our friends over at JNC.

 

Our final 510 sighting was the legendary Pete Brock’s personal car in Braille battery booth. Affectionately known as “Datzilla”, we remember first seeing this 450hp small-block V8 beast back in 2008 at the MotoringJ Style show.

 
 

Z Car Fever

A total of NINE S30 Z cars were at SEMA this year. That may not seem like many, but consider just 3 years ago only two Z cars were present. It was hard to pick a favorite but we were impressed with the Gas Monkey Garage 280z and the ChasingJs 240z built by Big Mike and Dominic Le, respectively.

The Gas Monkey Garage 280z

 

Big Mike was commissioned to design/build this 280Z 2+2 for the TV show Gas Monkey Garage. We loved how he took a often un-loved chassis and created a unique car that Datsun fans and American-iron alike can appreciate. Some quick details that caught our eye: the huge void found in front of the 4-cylinder SR20DET was filled with an OEM-like air filer box. The stock interior features vintage buckets with matching rears. The body color choice was perfect against bronze Volk TE37V wheels. Watch for two episodes covering the build airing on Fast n Loud TV on the Discovery channel!
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ZCG visits Spriso Motorsports and Oregon friends

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 2:24 am on August 16, 2017


We are lucky to be part of a great Datsun community that extends into the Pacific Northwest. About five years ago our friends from Oregon and Spriso Motorsports visited Z Car Garage, and I had always wanted to visit them. Last week my family rented an RV and drove up the Oregon coast from San Jose, CA. Part of the two-week trip in Oregon included a visit with Michael Spreadbury (Spriso Motorsports), Eric Straw and Anthony Schwisow.

 

Spriso Motorsports

When we arrived at Michael’s I was pleasantly surprised to see a car show in his front yard along with some local friends! He even arranged a BBQ. The evening was filled with cool cars, food and good times.

The Cars

Keri’s 1964 SPL310
Michael built this 3-seater 1500 for his wife! This was the first time I got to see it in person and it is amazing from the SR20 engine swap to the OEM interior and custom built steelies.

 

Michael’s 1966 SPL
His personal roadster with S15 NA SR20DE, 16″ Watanabe RS-8 wheels and brilliant beige grey paint.

 

Dave Joliff’s 1966 SPL
I remember Dave from Shasta 2004. His Daytona Blue S13-powered roadster has been driven hard over the last 13 years! Still looks fantastic.

 

Diamond Dave’s SR20-powered Miata
That’s right! With Michael and Eric’s help they installed an Autech SR20DE/6-speed drivetrain into his NA Miata. It’s a perfect match and I got brisk ride in it (thanks Diamond!). In the video, you’ll see Michael zooming past us in the opposite direction!


Eric Straw’s 1984 DR30 Skyline
Eric drove down from Salem with his RB26DETT-powered R30 Skyline. If you haven’t already read about this incredibly built rarity, check out my write-up on it HERE

 
 

More cars showed up throughout the evening, including Neil’s pristine 1988 Mazda RX-7. 30k miles and original paint!

 
 

The 80’s were alive!


Dave Lum, a long-time 510 owner (Z32TT engine swap!) brought his son’s 410 wagon:

 

The Shop

Home of Spriso Motorsports and where those magical SR-powered roadsters are built!


Michael’s Bluebird project!


During the shop tour I noticed this door with signatures on it. Michael asked me to sign it but a requirement was that you list what vehicle you drove. I need to replace the “RV” with “roadster” soon.

 
Around this time I was surprised when Michael told me that Brian from Berkeley, CA was coming in his freshly restored 1967 Datsun 2000 #427!  A little context…Brian and I are both from the Bay Area with only ~40miles separating us. We have corresponded by social media and tried to meet up locally but never met in person out side of one Solvang Show. And here we were, some 600+ miles from home! We will dyno his roadster soon as it has a hopped up Hasslegren-built U20!

 
 

Sadly our good friend Anthony broke down in his 510 coming from Portland. Good news is that he mended his radiator, made it home safely and completed a track day at PIR with zero issues! His 2JZ-powered Datsun 510 wagon:

 

And eventually we hooked up for after-work cocktails in the RV in Lake Oswego 😀

Thank you Michael for organizing the get together, it was memorable!

 

The next morning we visited Silver Falls and headed to Salem where Eric’s family welcomed us to stay for the night.

Eric’s Shop

Eric is an extremely talented fabricator. His 510, roadster and Skyline showcase his skills, style and ingenuity but I was really impressed by the kitchen table he fabricated for his home. Sunset Magazine stuff. His shop is actually next to the house with enormous roll-up doors. This is where the magic happens:

 
 

That epic DR30 Skyline.
So. Much. Goodness.

 
 

I could easily spend hours in his shop, but it was getting late. We enjoyed a nice sunset picking blackberries with the kids and the next morning we headed north to Multnomah Falls.

 

Thank you Eric for your graciousness and it was nice to meet your family!
More pictures in the gallery, enjoy!

*Special Note to all magazine feature writers/photographers*

There is an absolute treasure trove of cars that deserve features in the Oregon area. Broaden your scope and check these guys out. The talent is impressive and the owners are humble.
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RACING: Hakosuka Runs The Spring Classic!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 12:32 am on June 12, 2017

 

We had fun participating in the inaugural Spring Classic event held on May 19-21 at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. The weekend was filled with vintage races celebrating cars from the 70s, 80s, 90s and the Datsun/Nissan presence was impressive!

Racing the Hakosuka

Our duty was race support for Driver/Owner Alex McDowell and his 1971 Nissan Skyline.  This Hakosuka was originally built and raced by Jim Froula who successfully raced it at the famous ROLEX Motorsports Reunion in 2014 and 2015:

IMG_4558 DSC01432
 

This was our first time running the Hako at a road course, and a first time for Alex at the helm. One of the goals of this event was to familiarize ourselves with this machine. Alex, however, is familiar with the Laguna Seca road course having run Spec Miata and his own R32 Skyline GT-R on several occasions:

 

The Hako had fueling issues early on but with some sorting we finished the final race on Sunday, an accomplishment we are proud of.

 

Here is a short video showing the sights and sounds of the Hako on the racetrack, turn the volume up and enjoy!

 

Datsuns Galore in Trans-Am 2.5 liter

My favorite part of the Spring Classic was its “mini” Rolex event-like feel.  All the excitement of wheel-to-wheel battles with your favorite vintage race cars…in a relaxed atmosphere without the huge crowds. One of the most anticipated and action-packed races was the 2.5 Trans Am Liter group including almost a dozen Datsun 510s!

 

 

Our friends Jim Froula, Dave Stone, Steve Link and Troy Ermish put on a show in their B-sedan Datsun 510s. Heated battles can be seen in the nice video below assembled by Steve and Mary Walker:

 

Troy in his Blue/Black (38) 510 won both Trans-Am 2.5 Liter races on Sunday, dueling with a 911 and eventually passing him for the win.

 
 

Troy is an amazing guy and phenomenal driver.  See video below:

 

Adding to the Datsun Domination were several Z cars running alongside us in the 1967-1972 Formula B group.  John Wilkins 240z and Less Cannaday’s 280zx:

 
 

Glenn Chiou and his beautifully prepped 240z.

 

Trans-Am Muscle

I love muscle cars. The Trans Am group is my personal favorite and the Spring Classic did not disappoint. Despite the laid-back atmosphere these heart-pounding machines still got adrenaline flowing and ears blazing.

 

The line-up from pit lane for Trans-Am…HEAVEN!

 

Epic Paddock Finds

Another highlight of vintage racing events at Laguna Seca is finding eye candy in the paddock. Top of my list had to be this street-converted 1979 BMW M1 Procar, restored by Canepa. Look at those wheels!

 

 

Air-cooled magnificence. 356, 993-4S and race:

 

Radical race cars from wayback:

 
 

Lastly, how can we forget our very own Ms. ButterZ that Rob commuted in, followed by Alex’s Kenmeri Skyline. This is how you arrive and drive at ‘Seca!

 

Thank you for all the friends that stopped by to say hello and Michelle Schall for the track photos. We hope the Spring Classic becomes a yearly staple to keep historic racing fans happy!

Please visit our photo gallery for more pictures!


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EVENTS: 2017 Solvang Datsun Roadster Show!

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 1:23 am on May 4, 2017

 

The 2017 Solvang Datsun Roadster show took place on April 22. Now in its 30th year, this event continues a tradition of uniting owners from all parts of the world in a little town just outside of Santa Barbara. There is something for everyone here: shopping, food, wine-tasting, outdoor activities, and in the last weekend of April an epic gathering of Datsuns!

  
 

This year I was fortunate to bring my roadster and family to enjoy the weekend…

 
 

…and it was a fantastic show with perfect weather and close to 100 Datsuns on First Street in downtown Solvang:


Photo: Michael Anderson

On to the cars! Here are some highlights from the day…there were only a handful of 1967 2000 roadsters this year. Some of these cars are considered the “cream of the crop” with full restorations or OEM levels of detail like Mike Young’s SRL #266:

 

Winning best of show was this SR311 #0086, frame-off restored by Steve Pettersen:


This Right-Hand-Drive model had neat details like Enkei Compe-8 wheels, rear parcel shelf bracing and a km/h speedometer:

 
 

Roadsters were arranged by year and class, either stock or modified. The organizers did a phenomenal job of staging everyone!

 

Going the Distance

The Solvang Show draws roadster owners from all over the US, and world! We can always count on Jim and Susan to make the trek from Sonora, Mexico in their ’68 SRL with matching trailer.  Richard and Erika visited from the Netherlands and drove from Bellvue, Washington with their host, Ted Heaton. Catch their Roadster road-trip over on 311s.org.

   
 

Stock is Good

Solvang showcases everything from pristine to highly modified examples of roadsters. These two early 1600s were very sharp with requisite whitewall tires, chrome-ringed gauges and classy red interiors:

 

Sitting perfectly as a bookend to the low-windshield 1600s was Mike’s 67.5 SPL.  With a Solex carb’d R16 stroker, factory (high) roll bar, red interior and Watanabe wheels this car is very tasty:

 

 

Engine Swaps

Like the 510 and Z cars, the Datsun Roadster chassis accept many engine swaps and several caught my eye this year.  It is worth mentioning that this year’s show had the most SR20 swaps to date. I parked in a row of about 8!

 

I first saw this VG30-powered ’67 last year:

   
 

The S2000-powered ’69 SRL made a return appearance and it still blew my mind. Such a clean, OEM-level install:

   
 

Two SR20-swapped roadsters deserved some further inspection. John Daly’s ’67 sported a neatly integrated A/C unit on the NA S15 and a factory-like hardtop. What I thought were SSR MKii wheels were actually “Migu” units. Note split front bumpers:

      
 

Kevin Desirello’s ’69 had a simple, clean aesthetic. S14 SR20,  Z32 brakes, RS-8 wheels and clever “SR20” badging were all nice touches:


   

It is always good to see show favorites returning year after year with constant evolvement. Ted Heaton drove his Spriso Motorsports-built ’66 all the way from Washington.

 

The Plymouth Prowler Orange beauty has an S15 SR20DET with 6-speed and Ford rear end. Other nice details include wide RS-8 wheels and Mercedes G-Wagen headlights! Ted was very proud of his power-adding badges :

  
 

Trends?

If you think engine swaps are gaining popularity what other trends are developing? Hardtops are slowly showing up. With factory-like options from aftermarket companies you too can have a body-color (or any finish) hardtop for your roadster:
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