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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:
…[read more]




EVENTS: 2016 Solvang Datsun Roadster Show

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 12:34 am on February 3, 2017

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Dear Zcarblog readers, this is my 2016 Solvang Datsun Roadster Show report. Although long overdue, it serves as a reminder that the 30th Annual 2017 Solvang Datsun Roadster Show is just around the corner. So mark those calendars for April 22!  Enjoy.

-Alvin

 

The 2016 Solvang Datsun Roadster show took place on April 23. Now in its 29th year, this gathering 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 the last weekend of every April a huge gathering of Datsuns. I did not drive my roadster this year but I still enjoyed the show with my family!

 

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 and Rodney N’s SRL #485:

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Winning best of show was SRL #233 completely frame-off restored by Kevin of KRD:

  
 

Speaking of attention to detail…fully restored factory gauges artfully assembled by Jon Frampton could be seen on multiple cars. The gauges are truly little jewels that give owners a range of options with lighting, lettering and even inner workings all without going to aftermarket gauges.

Left: Factory mechanical gauges behind Corey’s R20 stroker powered SPL

Right: Factory gauges converted to electronic behind Harlan’s SR20DE-powered SPL

 

While were on interiors, check out this cool Datsun Competion (by Kaemeri) steering wheel looking great in Corey’s SPL:

 
 

At the other end of the spectrum and far from stock is Shannon’s ’69 SRL. Modern gauges and A/C vents adorn the dash with a touch screen in the center console:
…[read more]




The Underdog: Paul’s Nissan Sentra

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 1:30 am on September 2, 2016

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Paul P recently relocated to Northern California from Texas and also brought along his cherished 1994 Nissan (B13) Sentra.  After the Sentra was brought over from Texas, he began researching for the best Nissan performance shop locally to perform an engine swap that he’d been dreaming about for years. Although Z Car Garage is primarily a Z-car shop, Paul’s passion, enthusiasm, and willingness to make his Sentra keep up with our Z’s 🙂 inspired us to take on the project.

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Paul’s Sentra came from the factory with a GA16DE but his dream engine was the SR16VE found in the Japanese-market Sunny and Pulsar. The “VE” designation and “NEO VVL” badging on the cam cover indicate Nissan’s variable valve timing system. This allows independent engagement of both intake and exhaust cams for a flatter, more consistent power band. We installed the engine using JGY mounts, axles, and Nistronics tuning. Mishimoto radiator/fans handle cooling, while a Stage 3.5 Clutch Master clutch and lightweight flywheel put power through the 5-speed.

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Here she is all buttoned up and ready to rock:

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On the dyno, we saw peak numbers of 122hp/99tq at the wheels with power all the way to 7800rpm:

Paul P Sentra VVL
 

 

Paul  has been running the Sentra at SCCA autocross events and it makes us happy to see him having a good time while improving his times.

“Rob and his team at Z Car Garage did a phenomenal job in taking on this build and executing it to perfection. This project was well worth it and every time I am behind the wheel, a big grin always appears on my face and a rush of excitement overwhelms by body.”

 

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His suspension setup consists of Tein superstreet coilovers all around, Tein pillowball camber mounts up front, Cusco front strut tower bar, Octotat Triangular rear strut tower bars, TWM short shifter and weighted knob and B14 SE-R wheels all around. We approve.

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What’s next for the project? Paul wants to install bolt-on performance adders.

“One thing I like is to keep her all motor, no turbo, and continue to be that underdog/sleeper, for a 1994 Nissan Sentra.”

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We are proud to report that the VVL swap has performed flawlessly from driving to and from track events and running errands. Go Get ‘Em Paul!

 

 

 




EVENTS: The Return Trip From Touge California

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 2:41 pm on May 8, 2016

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In April I drove my Datsun Roadster from San Jose down to SoCal to run the Touge California rally hosted by Japanese Nostalgic Car.  We had a blast and chronicled the grueling, 200 mile journey. Check out JNC’s fantastic coverage as well:

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After completing the rally on Saturday, I originally planned for a Sunday visit to the Petersen Museum in LA on the way up to San Jose. What I didn’t envision was making a stop at Nissan Design America, and here’s how I got there!

While on the Touge I met fellow Datsun Roadster owner John Sahs. His gorgeous blue 1965 Datsun 1500 Roadster was hard to miss:

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The 1500 was nearly stock, down to its G15 1.5L engine and rare, OEM hubcaps.  In place of the factory 4-speed John was running a 5-speed from the burlier 2000 model, cleverly hidden by the original 1500 shifter/trim. John is on the left, wearing Datsun-matching shoes:

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At the end of the rally we were treated to dinner at Mazda Headquarters. There I learned that John was a lead designer over at Nissan Design America!  He suggested we take our roadsters to Nissan for a mini-photo shoot, citing the building’s interesting architecture as a nice backdrop.

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Sunday morning I hopped in the roadster and drove a few minutes South to La Jolla to meet up with John. We took some fun photos. Although he didn’t bring his roadster,  John was kind enough to show me around and I was thoroughly impressed. Thank you John!

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I left La Jolla around 9:30am heading to LA for the Petersen Museum Japanese Cruise in. I arrived just as cars were leaving the venue, even missing my fellow SoCal roadster owners by a few seconds. The Petersen Museum has an enormous parking garage and almost each level was packed with eye candy both old and new.

Just an R34 Skyline in Bayside blue sitting on BBS wheels:

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The Nissan/Datsun presence was fantastic! I was excited to meet Dominic Le, creator of this now-famous “hakotora”…

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It is a 1974 Datsun Sunny truck with a Skyline front end, full SR20DET drivetrain, TE37V wheels and CF everywhere. Lots of details on this one! Dominic was featured on Jay Leno’s Garage.

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4-door Hakosuka with rear, molded flares and barreled SSR MK2s:

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Nissan Cedric 130 from the Petersen Museum’s own collection:

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Bluebird Coupe and Hakosuka 2-door both sitting on Watanabe wheels:

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S12 (200sx), S13 (240sx) and S14 Nissans:

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Toyota, Honda,  Mazda, Subaru all had great showings as well so please check out the gallery!

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After checking out the remaining cars I continued my trek home to San Jose to complete my ~1300-mile, 3-day roadtrip! Found this S30 sitting behind a gas station off I-5:

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Enjoy the pics, and stay tuned as I report from another April car event: The Solvang Datsun Roadster Show!

 

…[read more]




I Dream of Datsun 510s

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 12:20 am on October 22, 2014

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I love driving my Datsun Roadster every weekend but last Saturday I had the opportunity to drive Rob Fuller’s 1971 Datsun 510 for my birthday.  This is Rob’s first 510 from his youthful days in Georgia (see vanity plate). Without giving too many details, he restored the car and performed an S13 SR20DET drivetrain swap in 2002.  We will give this Dime a proper feature on the blog soon, but for now, let’s drive!

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I called up a few of my roadster friends to do a quick blast up Skyline to Alice’s restaurant. Both Mike (silver) and Raul’s (white) roadsters are 1967.5 year cars with SPL and SRL drivetrains, respectively. With HWY 9 construction finished the twisty roads we once enjoyed were now even smoother.

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We headed South on 84,  looped back up to Skyline via Old La Honda Rd and eventually took a break at the vista point off 9 towards Big Basin.  Driving the Go Green 510 was buckets of fun. Seating/steering wheel position, suspension and visibility all make for a totally different experience coming from a roadster owner. I was impressed how well the car has held up over a decade after it was reborn.

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After our fun run my brother and I did some lead-follow videos with my roadster and the 510. Two SR-powered vintage Datsuns Enjoying The Ride! Turn those speakers up:

 

Cruising around town and experiencing the rush of 400hp being transferred through 205mm-width rear tires was absolutely addicting.  Thank you Rob for making my birthday especially enjoyable!

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