Wednesday, April 12, 2017

NMS South Gets Dirtie

A frozen brake and 2 mostly flat tires couldn't stop us getting this 1800lb Datsun on the trailer.

Last year the South Carolina Region kicked off a new rallycross program and I got the chance to take part in the first event (which turned out to be one of the biggest regional events in the country that year!). My focus this year has been on getting the Lemons Coronet back up and running for the September race and progress is moving along, but rallycross is just too much fun to pass up.  The problem is that I don't have a car that I can use so I did what was working so well for the Coronet and found a few people to split the cost and buy another car!

Our barn-find is tied down and ready to get tuned up.

The original intention was to grab four people total, get some hunk of junk on Craigslist and play in the dirt for a year.  That plan took a drastic turn when I reached out to our resident Datsun gurus, Justin and Shellie in Charleston.  They also wanted to share a car but had no space to keep it so we grabbed another friend with garage space and a desire to buy into another car and got Matt on board. 
Yes folks, this IS the GX model with 80 whole horse powers.

We determined a rear wheel drive car would be the most fun and our Datsun experts knew exactly what fit the bill, a Datsun B210.  As luck would have it, there was a 1978 B210GX that was for sale locally that was sitting in a barn for 20 years and just needed some love and care.  We borrowed a trailer, hooked it up to the NMS South tow rig and traded $260 for our new ride!

Blue with red interior? Heck yeah!
The car is in very good condition for how old it is despite a repaired front end and a little bit of rust. We started tearing the 1.4L four cylinder apart after realizing it had seized solid. We realized it was going to take a good deal of work but everything was there and serviceable. 
For when 5 forward gears is just too much.

As luck would have it, a slightly larger displacement (1.5L) version of the engine was for sale on Craigslist in Charleston and we went to investigate in hopes of getting the car running sooner than waiting for our original engine parts to come back from the machine shop.  After seeing how incredibly cheap parts for the car were going to be to fix it up, we decided to spring for the second motor, clean it up and get it in the car. 
Even Marvel's Mystery Oil was having a hard time freeing up the cylinders.

Brakes were serviced, a replacement radiator was sourced, all the 70s era emissions smog pumps and power robbing junk was removed, the gas tank was sent off for cleaning, and a shiny new Weber carburetor was sourced.  The team pulled together to get a lot of work done and even got some fresh big upgraded 14" tires on the wheels.
At least there's discs in the front! Drums and leaf springs in the back.

In the end there was just a bit too much work to do to have it running for the fist rallycross for 2017.  The second event is still a few weeks away and we're ready to get it buttoned up and ready to race!

Copper radiator!  Luckily a local parts store found a "new" one on the shelf for us and even dusted it off before handing it over.
In the end we've collectively spent more than I originally expected, but man I love this thing!  After doing more research these cars are hard to find for less than $3000, so we feel we're still coming out ahead on this deal. Long term, who knows, maybe there has been discussion of a rollcage and trying stage rally or just keeping it running long enough to take to an autocross or the SCCA National Rallycross Championship. It's going to be a ton of fun to keep developing.  

Justin preps the A15 for cleanup.
The next two weekends see the Coronet guys hard at work cramming the last of the to-do list through to prep it for our initial shake down testing at CMP in May when NMS North driver, Bob will be joining us!
Matt works on brakes with Dottie ('78 280Z) and Roadie ('68 1200 Roadster) resting in the background. Fittingly we name the '78 B210 "Dirtie".

Sure, owning your very own car is cool, but finding some good friends and spending time hanging out and sharing costs of cheap project cars is where its at!   
From left to right, Team Dirtie is Matt, Shellie, and Justin.  They were sad to give up the night before the first rallycross, but we'll be back strong!

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