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EVENTS: 2017 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 3:42 am on September 7, 2017

 

There are vintage races every month of the year, but few draw such amazing metal as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Now in its 44th year and commonly known as the Monterey Historics, the Reunion is a highlight of the famous Pebble Beach “car week” in August. This event features the best of every decade of racing history, all condensed into four days of qualifying and competition at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway.

 

 
 

The action on the track is only part of the story at the Reunion. The real fun is in the paddocks, where hundreds of cars stand ready to race, attended by their anxious owners, drivers and prep teams (sometimes all the same person).

 

We had a blast at the RMMR and I was once again fortunate to be on the pit crew for a significant Datsun race car. Read further for our report, illustrated by a 200+ shot gallery with videos. Enjoy!

The BRE Datsun 240z driven by John Morton

 

For this year’s Reunion, Z Car Garage prepared and supported the #46 BRE Datsun 240z piloted by our hero John Morton. Owner Randy Jaffe restored this Z over several years with fanatic attention to detail. Briefly, the original 1970 car was wrecked in 1977 and sat idle until Randy located it in 2016. The car was rebodied and reconstructed using all of the original surviving parts with help from Peter Brock, John Morton, John Knepp, and Jon Caldwell from the storied BRE team. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at the build.

 
 

A sampling of the original parts is shown below including the exhaust header with megaphones, SW gauges, and BRE remote oil filter/cooler. Original BRE heat shield and fuel block pictured above.  All assembled by the crew at ZCG prior to testing:

  
 

Randy approached us at the 2015 RMMR and expressed his vision to complete the car and have John Morton drive it at the Historics.  Randy made a fantastic, highly (the most accurate to date) correct BRE tribute Z, but it would need full race preparation to compete at the Historics. After taking the Z to several shops Randy shipped it to us from his hometown in Georgia and we began prepping the car. Here is the Z the day it arrived at the shop and in-progress:

  
 

On the dyno making some beautiful, triple-Mikuni carb’d, straight piped, L-series music. We were now ready to run the Historics:

 

 

The paddock life

 

 

It’s one thing to be at Laguna Seca’s famous Corkscrew to watch the cars wind down that 5-story twisting drop, but it can be just as much fun to walk through the paddock, getting a close look at the race cars and talking with their owners who are happy to answer questions. Before we look at #46 on the race track, let’s first take a trip through the paddock and visit our fellow racers:

 

Upon my arrival Thursday morning I was pleasantly surprised to see #46 pitted with several fellow Datsun Z racers from Group 4A: 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT,GTX,AAGT Cars.  All of these Z’s were tuned by Rob at ZCG! The camaraderie and good times spent with these folks was memorable. We shared pit space with our friends and fellow vintage racers Glenn Chiou, Dave Stone and Larry Oka. Dave Stone returned to the Historics in his ’73 260z built by Troy Ermish.  Lots of neat details of this one in the photo gallery:

 

Glenn Chiou’s RMMR debut in the Loren St. Lawrence 1971 240z:

 

David Martin’s crowd-favorite Frisselle 1972 240z:

 

The S30s looked awesome together out on the track!

 

A rare sight indeed, four Datsun roadsters were racing at ‘Seca! Michael Sweeney’s ’65 1500, our friend Ron Carter running his 2nd Reunion in his ’67 2000, Phil Mendelovitz’s ’67 2000 and Michael Chandler’s ’66 1600.

 

Rounding out the Datsun contingent were Jonathan Ornstein’s 1979 Datsun 280ZX, prepared by Les Cannaday and the Leitzinger IMSA GTU 240sx owned by Phil Mendelovitz:

 
 

We’ll visit more paddock candy later, now let’s take a look at these cars on that 2.238-mile, 11-corner wonder officially known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca!

Race Day: Keeping Up With John Morton

 

The RMMR was preceded by a “shakedown” event a week earlier called the “Pre-Reunion”.  We had a successful Pre-Reunion race week where John Morton finished 6th and 8th place in a sea of high-powered Porsche RSRs and 934/935s! The#46 BRE 240z ran flawlessly and John was turning faster lap times with each session clicking off 1:41s down to 1:40s:

 

With the Pre-Reunion completed and the Z dialed in it was time for our big race at the RMMR on Saturday in Group 4A.  John put on another stellar performance running consistent 1:40’s with a best of 1:39.6 during the practice/qualifying sessions.  Although the routine of running pit crew was familiar to me it never gets old. From fuel filling, engine warm-up to tire pressures and checklists I love sharing the sights and sounds from each session.

 
 

John was happy with the Z’s performance. Sylvia Wilkinson, John’s lifelong partner also told us good things by giving us a breakdown between sessions complete with lap times and feedback from John. After qualifying 16th place Saturday morning the only change we made was a fresh set of spark plugs.:

 
 

After the Z was ready for the big race, John got strapped in and he motored away to the starting grid. John Morton was driving #46 again.

  
 
 

We anxiously followed John on foot to the starting grid. A wave of colors from vibrant livery was displayed as the cars staged. I was in heaven because all of the rad machinery in one place…with #46 in the middle of it:

 
 
The signal was announced and group 4A rolled out to the starting grid.

 
 

This video coverage of the group 4A race from Motor Trend and Travis Baraki gives you a sense of the staging, rolling start and a few turns, watch for #46!

 

Want to know what it’s like behind the wheel of the BRE Datsun 240z? Take a few laps with John Morton in #46 in this video we compiled from in-car GoPro footage. Lots of multi-camera angle action highlighted here from dicing it up with Porsches to passing BMW M1s 🙂  Turn up the volume and enjoy!

 

Great on-track shots of #46:

 

 
  
 

John’s fastest lap (1:39.6) with telemetry from Harry’s Lap Timer:

 

The race was exhilarating and both nerve-wracking to watch. John was driving insanely well yet again, even battling an M1 and 934 for several laps! With only 4-laps to go and in 12th position the halfshaft failed exiting turn 3 and John (thankfully safe) waited to be towed back into the pits. It was heartbreaking but that is racing. We will be back! With help from our friend Glenn a new halfshaft was installed Sunday so we could load up the Z. Thanks Glenn!

 

 
 

We were thoroughly impressed by John’s skills (at 75 years old!) and how the Z battled big-dog cars running full aero with massive rubber.

 

John said on several occasions, “This is the best prepped race car I’ve driven”. We couldn’t have been happier to hear this. Worth toasting to!

 
 

Of course none of this would be possible without a great team so we give a huge thank you to family, friends and the crew at Z Car Garage.

 

The Z was a success off-track as well. Randy drove the BRE car along with other racers via police escort to the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue Show. Icing on the cake: he even won an award with John Morton riding along:

 

Enjoy this video from the event including the police escort, nice revving amongst expensive show cars and some good times with Pete Brock and John Morton:

Paddock Highlights

 

 

This year’s RMMR was the most enjoyable because of the wonderful people that we pitted with and folks that stopped by to visit. Randy Jaffe really put in a tremendous effort creating a Datsun-lover-friendly atmosphere. In addition to commemorative stickers he placed posters up for friends to sign in memory of John Knepp:

 

John Morton spent time signing memorabilia and taking photos, a true class-act.

 
 

Another aspect of the fun is family. Randy invited his sisters to be part of the race weekends and Josh’s father Keith Corwin was an integral part of our team:

 

We were humbled by the number of people that stopped by including Pete and Gayle Brock and Mike Joy. I caught Pete Brock taking iphone pics of our engine bay!

 

Here is Mike’s interview with John for Motor Trend’s race coverage:

 

 

Our pit-buddy Glenn Chiou was great to be with. The vintage Datsun race world had better keep an eye out for this rising star!

 
 

Rob and crew always willing to lend a hand, even if it’s for the competition!

 
 

It was great to see our friends from Bring A Trailer who had a tent with several cars on display including a Lancia Delta Integrale:

 

Epic Racers

 

At every corner there is wicked metal with history begging to be told. Please visit our photo gallery for more! Here is a Shelby Cobra factory team car CSX2136:

 

One of several gorgeous Porsche 934s. This one mixed it up with John for many sessions:

Mazda’s incredible collection of racer cars from the 767B to MX-6:

 

From highly collectible and expensive to downright zany you never know what to find in the paddock. Check out this Deathmobile from the movie Animal House:

 

Extravagant and impressive rigs:

 

We are huge fans of Canepa and this 935 and 959 were a treat to see:

 

Street Standouts

Throughout the weekend, open areas around Laguna Seca are filled with a selection of vintage and exotic cars that would put most stand-alone car shows to shame. This year we held another Datsun/Nissan Corral but attendance was relatively low. We did spot a few gems like three S30s, a Datsun 510 and ’69 Datsun 2000:

 

 

Lovely E34 M5 and 356:

 

The Vintage Wheels of RMMR

I am a wheel addict and I love vintage wheels. Once again the paddock did not dissappoint. BBS, Volk, Minilite, American Racing…all shod with meaty slicks of sometimes incredible proportions:

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Thank you!

We hope you have enjoyed our recap of the 2017 Monterey Historics! Please browse our mega-gallery of pictures from race weekend below. Big thanks to our friends and family members that helped us make this possible including the Keith Corwin, Dave Stone, Tim Arnett, Ron Carter, Michael Anderson, Josh Corwin, Andy Vargas, Larry Oka and Meghan Fuller.  We certainly enjoyed the company of friends and visitors in our paddock, here’s to another 60 years of vintage racing in Monterey, California.

 

Special thanks to the following contributors to our photo gallery:

Ricky Silverio, Josh Corwin, Naveed Abed, Mark Hutchinson, Matt Dockery, Kurt Hafer, Chris Brewer, Alex McDowell

Huge thanks to Randy Jaffe,  John Morton and Sylvia Wilkinson!
Long Live The Z!

 

More pictures in our gallery below: …[read more]




EVENTS: The 2016 SEMA Show!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 3:23 am on December 5, 2016

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What Happens in SEMA . . .

2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.  Every year, people from around the world arrive in Las Vegas to look at the astonishing display of automotive tuning and customization.

 

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Within the 1 million+ square foot, 4-building Las Vegas Convention center there are hundreds of lowered imports, resto-modded muscle cars and those crazy lifted trucks.  There’s far more to the show than that including celebrities, extreme demos, parties and general excess.  Unfortunately, SEMA isn’t open to the public, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience what it’s like to attend the craziest show on the automotive calendar. Enjoy the following highlights from our visit to SEMA in Novemeber. We will start with our display car, the OEMs, Datsuns and move on to the wild stuff!

 

The OS Giken TC24B1Z Skyline

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Last year at SEMA we debuted the legendary OS Giken TC24B1Z engine inside our ZCG-restored Datsun 240z:

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The Z was well-received but very subtle (by SEMA standards) so this year we stepped out of our comfort zone and helped build a “flashier” vehicle for display…a 1971 Nissan “Hakosuka” Skyline!

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This time the TC24 was treated to different induction: Jenvey individual throttle bodies and EFI. Aesthetics were livened up with a red valve cover and white coated exhaust headers. The entire car was wrapped in a metallic red replete with sponsor graphics and 17″ Volk TE37V wheels on Nitto tires. Our “show hood” mod was utilized again to highlight the glorious TC24.

We were flattered by all of the fan pictures and even received a miniature scale replica of the Hako from Shingo!

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The Hako garnered attention from many social media outlets and drew significantly more traffic than last year’s display. Later in November it went on to be displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show!
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Huge thanks to the crew from OS Giken and Alex M. Stay tuned we will have a full feature on the build soon!

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The Big Manufacturers at SEMA

As always, there’s a big presence from US manufacturers, but this year Honda and Toyota (among others) made an impact on the show floors. Here’s our round up of the big displays.

Ford

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Ford had the largest display in the main hall with an extensive showing of their hottest cars and trucks. My favorite was the new GT supercar complete with battle-scars from a LeMans race. It even sat across from an original Ford GT40. Ken Block’s “Gymkhana 9” Focus and other tricked-out Foci below:

 

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Honda

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Honda announced its return to the Pirelli World Challenge series in 2017 with this NSX GT3…being towed by Acura MDX!  Below, the new NSX looks great in white, the new Civic showed as body-in-white tuning platform and the new (for the US) Civic Type R:

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Toyota

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Toyota had a neat throwback-style displaying paying tribute to its heritage vehicles. They even brought out the entire generation of Corollas in celebration of its 50th anniversary! Below: 1951 Land Cruiser, 80’s Van and the “World’s Fastest SUV”: a 2,000hp twin-turbo’d v8 Sequoia

 

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Datsun Domination at SEMA!

We begin our coverage of all the Datsuns/Nissans at SEMA, and there were plenty! Let’s start with our OS Giken booth neighbor, ENEOS. Their display car was none other than Ginash George’s C10 Skyline. Ginash is the founder of the successful JDM Chicago and also owns a beautiful NSX.

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Ginash enlisted the expertise of JDM Legends to build this stunning Hako. All the right choices on this one! And he’s a wheel aficionado to boot as well. Super Street gave it a SEMA award!

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FOUR S30 Z cars were at SEMA. If we had to pick a favorite it was the ChasingJs 280z built by Dominic Le. You might be familiar with his last SEMA creation, the Hakotora that was featured on Jay Leno’s Garage.

 

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The build was based on a rendering from talented artist Jon Sibal…and built in Dom’s garage!

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The clever John Player Special striping was hand-applied by Dom himself. Note the rare G-Nose headlamp covers. Power comes from a single-turbo 2JZ-GTE with 1,000hp as the goal. We love it!

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The Liberty Walk Fairlady Z turned heads with its unmistakenable bosozoku style. Sporting their fender flare kit, “notchback” rear hatch, smoothed rear panel and small-ish 15″ wheels it seemed a bit out of place in the DUB nation booth, but still cool.

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Chris Forsberg’s 280z underwent a total makeover for SEMA.  The single turbo RB26 revieved a custom billet valve cover and the body showed off a new kit from Carbon Signal.  The kit really flows well with the G-nose and front spolier. The interior was also finished by Amir and his team in the UAE.

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The legendary Pete Brock displayed his personal BRE Tribute 240z in the Braille booth:

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A lone Datsun 510 slammed via AirLift suspension and 13B rotary power. The BBS wheels were mint!

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This Datsun Bluebird L320 pickup was a pleasant sight amongs the wild bodykits. You see those chunky rear tires on widened steelies? They’re probably necessary to reign in all the instant torque from the electric motor conversion!

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Late Model Nissans

Steve Pham’s unorthodox turbocharged BMW N54 turbo. This Rocketbunny “Boss” kitted Nissan 240sx (S14) had new BRE-inspired livery for the show. Below, a JDM model S15 Silvia with a widebody kit:

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…[read more]




EVENTS: The SEMA Show!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 6:55 pm on November 13, 2015

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What Happens in SEMA . . .
Every year the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) takes over the 3,000,000 square feet of floor space at the Las Vegas Convention Center for a weeklong trade show that covers everything automotive. Exhibitors feature cars, trucks or SUVs in their displays to showcase their products or simply to attract attention. In a town where weird is normal, the masses of over-the-top and extremely modified cars seem at home inside the multi-building center.

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Tens of thousands attend the SEMA Show each year, and while a trade show and not open to the public, it’s the one auto show every enthusiast wants to attend. Despite the propensity for depravity that comes with a no-last-call town, SEMA is never anything short of a legendary gathering and we had a blast during our 2-day visit.

 

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SEMA 2015 marked a special milestone for the crew at Z Car Garage as we prepared a special 1971 Datsun 240z for display at the show.  Through an exclusive collaboration with OS Giken we unveiled the world’s first North American (LHD) S30 to be powered by the legendary TC24-B1Z engine. This mythical twincam cylinder head bolts onto an L-series block giving it crossflow breathing and high revving operation.

 

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The Z was well received by show goers stopping by the OS Giken booth which featured video displays of the engine being assembled and tested at ZCG. Jaws dropped at the sight of the TC24 and we also heard admirable reviews from fellow Datsun/restorers for the build. Our friends at Japanese Nostalgic Car (JNC) and Speedhunters featured the car in their SEMA reviews:
JNC
Speedhunters

 

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The lucky owner of this OS Giken-equipped Z is our friend and customer Gary Stephenson. In short, his build highlights our restorative powers and sports full suspension (allowing 255/40/17 tires under stock flairs), our ZCG Big Brake Kit, nos OEM glass, integrated roll cage,  KA24 transmission, Recaro Competition seats and more.

 

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In current tune/configuration the TC24 produced 376hp/281tq to the wheels on 91 octane, proudly displayed by the car at SEMA. This Z will be driven on the street and track so stay tuned for videos!

 

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Huge thanks to the crew at OS Giken for a killer booth and memorable experience. Look for an in-depth story about our collaboration with OS Giken and TC24-B1Z build on the blog soon.  Long Live the Z. Here comes the TC!

 

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Datsuns Everywhere at SEMA!

Our favorite vintage cars were in great numbers this year. One of the most prominent of course
was Sung Kang’s 1973 Datsun 240z affectionately called “FuguZ”.

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Sung ( “Han” of Fast and Furious movie fame) chronicled the build through social media, enlisting parts from around the world with final assembly by Kenji at Greddy. Sporting the latest Rocket Bunny body kit, Volk TE37s and an ITB’d RB26 drivetrain this was a crowd favorite and inspiration to all. Congrats to Sung and the Greddy team for an epic build!

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For the first time in SEMA history a Datsun roadster was on display courtesy of Socal specialist Kevin Desirello.

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This fully restored 1967 SPL311 was treated to a complete S15 SR20DET drivetrain swap but Kevin and his team didn’t stop there. By adding a VVL head and punching the displacement out to 2.2L, they essentially made an SR22VE-T with power levels of 450whp anticipated!

 

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Garret wanted the car for its SEMA booth and it was placed alongside the famous Mad Mike Whiddett’s insane twin-turbo FOUR-rotor powered Formula-drift Miata. We are especially proud of Kevin and his roadster for making it to the Top 21 in The Battle of the Builders competition!

 

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This Datsun 520 pickup was actually a contender in the Optima Batteries challenge with a Mazda Miata drivetrain and double A-arm suspension F/R!

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Hakotora! Take one Sunny ute and graft a Hakosuka front end on for a mean little pickup. This build had some great details and a built SR20DET under the vented hood.

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This BRE 510 was on display in the Tokico booth. A celebrity driver car, this is now owned by Datsun-freak Adam Carolla. Our hero Pete Brock was not too far from the dime!

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Eric and Josh from JDM Legends made the trek from Utah and displayed their superbly restored Ken and Mary Skyline. The C110 had all the choice parts from the triple-carb’d L-series, Comp seats and Watanabe wheels.

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There’s a New Boss in Town . . .

Not Datsun per se, but the following Nissan 240sx (S14) sports cars all have one thing in common: The “Boss” aero kit from RocketBunny/TRA Kyoto. The kit transforms the front end of an S14 into a B110/Challenger looking vehicle… it takes some time getting used to, but we dig it.

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…[read more]




EVENTS: Cars and Coffee at Canepa Motorsports

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 11:26 am on October 18, 2015

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The final Canepa Cars & Coffee of the year was held on 10/11. To celebrate our good friend Lou S’ birthday we joined him for a morning drive to Canepa. Instead of taking the direct route via HWY 17 we Enjoyed the Ride though HWY9/Big Basin Way and Skyline.

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A Skyline mountain blast wouldn’t be complete without a Skyline! Lou naturally chose to drive his classic R32 Skyline GT-R:

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Adding to the fun our group also included Andy in the Mazda RX-4 wagon, Rob J’s beautiful S30, Henry’s R35 GT-R, my ’67 Datsun Roadster and Rob Fuller in a Porsche 911 Turbo (for sale soon):

 

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When we arrived, Canepa’s parking lot was already full and our group was relegated to overflow parking, which was a car show in itself! Mandatory Datsun content: I found two S30s,  stock and with massive flares/Chevy V8 power

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Canepa as usual were gracious enough to open their entire facility to the public. Touring the showrooms and shop areas with soft pretzels and strudels in hand was a great way to start the morning!

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Looking pretty in red, a recently restored Ferrari 288 GTo and Testarossa:

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Turbo Fan madness! Love these BBS icons on the several Porsche’s. The Rennsport prep was strong inside Canepa!

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This ’32 fordor hot rod caught my eye with old-school tricks mixed with modern touches. Halibrand wheels, 6-piston AP calipers, 427ci small block with Gurney Weslake heads…

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Back in the parking lot, more interesting cars show up. A crowd pleaser was this La Ferrari, parked next to Mclaren:

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Lots of bathub and 911 Porsche’s:

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Great Muscle Car attendance:

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Gorgeous Alfa and Jaguar:

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Many more pics in the gallery. See you at Canepa Cars and Coffee next spring!

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…[read more]





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One of the major events of the annual car week on the Monterey Peninsula is the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Held since the early 1970s at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the event attracts a staggering variety of historic racing cars, which competed in a total of 15 different races.

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Adding to the diversity of racers was the addition of Formula 5000 cars for the first time.  Other highlights were a special race to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Mustang GT350,  factory efforts from Acura, BMW, Mazda and our beloved Nissan. We had a blast at the RMMR. Read on for our report, illustrated by a 300+ shot gallery of the Reunion and a few video clips. Enjoy!

John Morton Drives Our IMSA 240z!

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With the help of Joel Anderson we made our RMMR debut last year running the #49 IMSA Datsun 240z. Find out more about Joel and the restoration of #49 HERE. Our letter of acceptance into the 2015 event included Joel as the driver but unfortunately health issues prevented him from racing.  With race week fast approaching Rob enlisted the help of his hero and legendary race car driver John Morton. Before I arrived at ‘Seca, the crew had John fitted into the race seat and the Z passed tech inspection:

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Paddock Life

Before I describe the sheer awesomeness of just being in the presence of John Morton, let’s first take a trip through aisle G: our pit row in the paddock. The paddock at RMMR is pure sensory overload with incomparable sounds and sights of old race cars. There’s nothing like the sight of pit crews working frantically to put together vintage race machines whether it be from the Pre-War Bugattis to early 90’s IMSA cars. This video sums it up nicely with a mix of machines and their cacophony of engines being fired, revved and idled:

 

Upon my arrival Thursday morning I was pleasantly surprised to see #49 pitted with several fellow Datsun racers from Group 4A:  1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT-GTX, AAGT, GTU Cars.  On the final race day we gathered even more Datsuns to create a “Datsun Row”:

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Here is quick video of the row:

 

The camaraderie and good times spent with these folks was memorable. We shared pit space with our friend Ron Carter and fellow roadster owner Michael Anderson. Ron is an avid vintage Datsun Roadster racer running RMMR for the first time in his 1967 2000.  Fox Sports even interviewed him, we are proud of you!

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A rare sight indeed, TWO Datsun 2000 roadsters racing at ‘Seca! The silver car is Craig Carter’s 1968.

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Dave Stone is no stranger to vintage racing Datsuns and this latest ’73 260z build by Troy Ermish was very impressive.  I personally loved the paint color and authentic magnesium minilite wheels. Lots of neat details on this one in the photo gallery:

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We’ll visit more paddock candy later, as the real fun at the Historics lies on the actual track. Yes, that 2.238-mile, 11-corner wonder officially known as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca!

Race Day: Keeping Up With John Morton

“I am on the pit crew for John Morton. I am not worthy”. That is what runs through my mind when I see John Morton walking towards our pit to jump into #49 for the practice session. I remain composed and follow instruction from Rob, Josh and Andy, the other members of the pit crew. We are all serious when the announcement is heard on the PA for our run grup to head to the pit lane.

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The car is ready, John is strapped in and he motors away. John Morton is driving our IMSA Z.

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When we are staged in the pits waiting for the cars to roll out onto the track it is a different scene. A wave of colors from vibrant livery aligns as the cars park against the garages. I’m in heaven because there is so much rad machinery in one place:

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It’s noisy here from the current run group roaring down the front straight, yet serenely calm as the 4A drivers collect their thoughts behind the wheel, engines idling.  For John, that moment seems to be interrupted as driver after driver comes to his side for a chat. It was fun to watch:

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The signal is given and group 4A rolls out to the starting grid:

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Watch this video to get a sense of the sounds and staging of Group 4A with a few glimpses of John behind the wheel:

 

As each practice session ends we run back to the pits to hear from John. He hops out of the Z and tells us, “Engine’s good and brakes are good.” The crew was hoping for more feedback but you see, John is also driving a Porsche 908 in the following session, so off he goes. That’s when Sylvia Wilkinson, John’s lifelong partner comes in. She gives us a breakdown between sessions complete with lap times and feedback from John.

 

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Turns out he doesn’t need much. In his first practice session John was running 1:44s and by Friday he ran 1:41.4. He liked the car, but the tires were getting greasy and oil temps climbing. It was record-setting hot during RMMR with temps close to 90F. Before the final race we made some tire adjustments and cooling aids. Ultimately we’ll have a fresh set of slicks ready next time around.

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We were completely ecstatic to have John Morton pilot the Z and also have zero mechanical issues over the week. John placed us 19th overall in the race with some really great S30 battles between our friends David Martin (Frisselle Z) and Dave Stone. Enjoy these on-track/paddock shots of #49 followed by a longer in-car video with multiple camera angles.

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Take a few laps with John with multiple camera angles in this longer video:

 

Paddock Highlights

Between prepping #49 for the next session and helping fellow Datsun racers we certainly enjoyed cruising through the paddock and soaking up all of the fascinating hardware. Can you identify the familiar Vans shoes under Larry Oka’s S30?  That’s Rob and Josh helping Larry pull a half shaft:

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An increasing presence from automakers is always welcome and this year Ford helped by honoring the 50th anniversary of the Shelby GT350 Mustang. Their display was filled with vintage Shelby’s and the new GT350:

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We spotted more Datsuns in the Nissan garage…this duo of 411 and 510 sedans was actually driven by our friends over at Japanese Nostalgic Car!Next door, Acura displayed the new NSX and Ford had their new GT supercar. Stillen even had their own garage space housing the wild #75 300zx. It was in pieces at the time but put on a flame-spitting show in Saturday’s race!

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Here is the very first production 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso and one of only three known examples that were used in competition…

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From highly collectible and expensive to downright zany you never know what to find in the paddock. Check out this Reliant Robin of Top Gear fame (or shame):

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This insane Audi 200 Quattro made some neat sounds coming squirting out of the Corkscrew. Check out those BBS Turbofans!

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1963 Ferrari 250GTO berlinetta, rumored to have last sold for $38 million (or more depending on the source)

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Jim Froula is well-known for his controversial (yet cool) Hakosuka Skyline but he also helped create this badass 1980 280zx. This S130 has some trick design features and amazing attention to detail:

 

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The Colors of RMMR

As if your sense of smell and sound weren’t assaulted already, the paddock is brimming with every color of the rainbow. The race liveries, trailer rigs, even the concession stands…your eyes are on overdrive at each corner. Ferraris, Porsches, Lotuses, MG’s, Alfas, Fords,Chevrolets, Maseratis, Bentleys …it seems that every era and every manufacturer has some intensely significant car, and they are driven in anger.

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We are huge fans of Canepa and these two Porsches were a treat to watch. At the left is a 962 that we recently dyno’d at the shop! It ran an amazing 1:26.049 and the 935 driven by Bruce Canepa made an epic sweep to first place our group.

 

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One of my favorite races is the Trans Am series. These muscle cars with their blistering fenders and V8s are entertaining to watch. Ear plugs are a must for this group! The liveries are pretty incredible with some intense history behind each machine. If you stare long enough these cars have a lot to tell you.

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This year we held another Datsun/Nissan Corral but attendance was relatively low. We did spot a few gems like this Kenmary Skyline, Datsun 510 and Skyline-powered S30:

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The Vintage Wheels of RMMR

I am a wheel addict. I love quality, vintage wheels. Once again the paddock did not dissappoint. BBS, Volk, Minilite, American Racing…all shod with meaty slicks of sometimes incredible proportions:

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Thank you!

We hope you have enjoyed our recap of the 2015 Monterey Historics! Please browse our mega-gallery of pictures from race weekend below. Big thanks to our friends and family members that helped us make this possible including the Keith Corwin, Troy Ermish, Dave Stone, Tim Arnett, Ron Carter, Michael Anderson, Josh Corwin, Andy Vargas and Meghan Fuller.  We certainly enjoyed the company of friends and visitors in our paddock, please let us know how we can do better next time!

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Huge thanks to John Morton and Sylvia Wilkinson.  Joel Anderson, wish you were here!

Thank you to Mike Garret, Mark Hutchinson, Sri Gogineni, Ann and Paul Devor for sharing your wonderful photos.
Long Live The Z!

 

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More pictures in our gallery below: …[read more]