In an electric blue and with some serious work done, this Datsun 1600 (chassis code: 510) is most definitely “more than meets the eye.”
Whilst browsing through the Datsun Owner’s Club of New Zealand website recently I was greeted by this fantastic sight. Although I must admit, initially I did think.. “Whip-de-Doo, another SR-powered 510″, it wasn’t until I read a bit more and had a proper squiz at it that I realised this wasn’t your average SR conversion…
Where was the turbo for starters? Most of the time nowadays when someone goes to the trouble of putting an SR into anything, it’s almost always got a hyperactive alloy snail of some proportions fixed to the side of the engine with some exorbitant metal spaghetti exhaust manifold… …but not in this instance.
Despite appearances in that first photograph, the car was supposed to be a re-shell of an old rally car, however, after the amount of time and effort spent in making it what it became, the desire to have that potentially destroyed much quicker on the stone laden roads was traded for the choice of tarmac circuits and potentially Targa, sealed roads which offer a little more lenience for when a driver’s miscalculation should occur.
The process from the initial re-shelling idea to the end result has taken place over an 8 year, on and off period. I’m sure most of us with projects are aware that this isn’t entirely unusual. (In-fact, I only hope it will take me that short of a time to finish one of my own!) Generally one of the first things to do when you’re making a race car of any kind, whether it be race or rally, is to set the engine further back in the bay to better your weight distribution and there-by handling. Kane’s project was no different;
Having access to or making your own rotisserie does help a lot for any and all other race preparations to be made to the body, painting included;
What these pictures don’t show is the extent of the work that’s gone into the body. The shell itself has been de-burred, seam welded and had the under-seal removed then been painted over in that magnificent shade of blue. The roll-cage is an 8-point affair, enough to cope with the rigors of either track or rally work. The rear side of the firewall is carbon-fibre, as is the plug-in dash setup. The cage holds within it’s confines a set of Racepro seats strapped with 3″, 5-point safety harnesses, an adjustable balance bar pedal box and a custom made billet aluminium hydraulic handbrake. Inside the boot sits a 30L Jaz Fuel-Cell, easily enough capacity to cater for either race or rally purposes, control of the front-end is relayed through a dished 14″ Sportline wheel, the end result of the interior collaboration is in itself a work of art which is to be admired and adored. Outside the borders of the cage the door hinges have been replaced by some cast in alloy, the bumpers, bonnet, bootlid and doors are all composite materials, wing mirrors are carbon fibre and the glass has been replaced by 3mm lexan.
Looking at the craftsmanship and man hours involved in the body of the car, you soon realise that this is not your average hobbyists quick fix “I want to race on Sunday’s” vehicle and if what’s powering it is not of turbo variation then what on earth is it!? Surely something serious? Oh yes, something entirely serious.
The carbon fibre plenum is the first thing that demands focus from your eyeballs, followed by the carbon belt guard and custom billet toothed pulley’s. If that weren’t enough to grab your attention, a further stare at the heart of the beast reveals a custom set of cast 48mm throttle bodies with over 50 hours of machining work on them, post casting.
…and what does it look like without that carbon, well… it looks like this.
A nice looking engine, if there ever was one. The most important factor for any race car however is what is kept inside the heart, rather than what is shown externally. It’s a basic (if there is such a thing) SR20DE alloy block, bored out 0.0030″, the bottom of which houses a lightened, shot-peened and balanced crankshaft, to which are attached rods that have been given the same treatment and attached to them some forged JE pistons, which with the help of a custom welded, ported and flowed GTi-R head bring compression to a respectable 12.5:1. Of course, one is not going to be able to maintain such a high compression without the right amount of fuel and ignition timing, that fuel delivery is done by aid of custom ground Kelford camshafts, spun by custom adjustable cam gears. The lobes of said cams press against over-sized stainless steel valves, snapped back into firing position by titanium valve springs. Fuel meets these valves by order of an Autronic SM-4 computer (which also handles the spark) sending it’s whim to the 550cc injectors housed on the aforementioned 48mm ITB’s. This is obviously a lot of fuel and air which would be all put to waste were it not for the custom made, 4 into 1, mandrel bent, stainless steel headers. The end result of all this is a package which in it’s current level of tune puts out 260hp @ 7800rpm. Helping the temps and wear in this feat of magnificence stay as low as possible, the oil delivery and lubrication system is managed through a dry sump setup. Custom alloy pan, a 3-stage dry oil pump, circulating the required viscous liquid from a 12L custom dry sump oil tank. Also if you have a little gander in the engine bay, you’ll note that the oil catch “can” is another custom carbon fibre job which although it compliments the rest of the carbon nicely, it’s doing so is more a side effect of the lightening process.
In factory form, the Datsun 1600 (or Nissan Bluebird) wasn’t designed to handle 260hp. Hell! It wasn’t designed to handle even half of that! so the rest of this car is obviously changed from factory in the same manner that the powerplant has.
Attached to the rear of the NA, hard-tuned, SR is a custom, 7lb billet flywheel;
Affixed firmly to that, a Tilton brand 7″, triple plate clutch;
Bolted to the back of the SR and converting the revolutions per minute to track times is the transmission from a 200SX with custom close ratio gear-set, once the cogs inside this box have done their business, the driveshaft moves the result on towards the now R180 clutch-type LSD rear end and depending on which track or location the 510 finds itself there’s either 4.1, 4.6 or 5.1 final drive ratios to choose from. Power from the diff is transferred to different wheels for different occasions, should Kane choose to rally he has some 15×6″ Enkei Rally Alloys, as used on the famous Nissan 240RS, though on the circuit the job is catered for by 16×7″ RAYS Engineering TE37 Forged wheels wrapped in 210-605 Dunlop Racing slicks, keeping that power smooth to terrafirma in the rear are a set of 250lb springs paired with KONI shock absorbers, the rear end itself has had the cross-member modified for adjustable camber and castor. (Which in these 510s is most definitely a requirement, with them being IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) just about any lowering at all results in a massive amount of camber.)
In the front, control of the car is handled by custom adjustable coil-overs with Bilstein inserts and 450lb springs, adjustable top platforms, rose jointed bottom control arms and an increased diameter sway-bar, all bushings having been replaced with their nolathane equivalent.
With being a race car, development is a constant thing, this 510 despite it’s fantastic finish, is certainly not immune to this and having discovered many things during his first season’s circuit racing Kane will be sitting it in the shed over the winter off-season and getting stuck right in, tending to that which requires it.
One such thing is the front brakes which have proven to be not quite up to the task of lap after lap of late braking, the current 280x20mm drilled and slotted rotors are to be replaced by 300x30mm wide, vented, solid faced variants;
Just the change in disc rotors should be more than enough to remedy the braking issue, especially given the rest of the setup is sorted to a fantastic level. The calipers up front are JFZ 4-piston cast alloy, forcing Wilwood Polymatrix pads against the rotational metal. In rear, a Wilwood 2-piston Alloy caliper presses the same composite pads against a 254x12mm solid, cross drilled disc.
With all the details of this marvel covered, the only thing left to do is admire the result of many years of labour.
If you live in or near Auckland or in the upper half of the North Island and follow the SS2000 series, you might well get a chance to watch this fine specimen circulate a track near you, if you’re like me and can’t do that however, you can check it out in these few on-track images as well as the linked youtube.com video, which unfortunately doesn’t focus exactly on the 510, rather a KB110 Sunny Coupe, however you do get to see just how prompt this little car is.
As you can see, it’s no slouch and with the improvements and upgrades planned for the coming season, things can only get better and I’m sure you, like myself, will look forward to seeing the progress of this car.
You’ll be able to do so, as well as seeing the larger images of those used here, on Kane’s member’s thread on the datsun.co.nz forums, linked to directly here;