Friday, April 11, 2008

Lakes Speedster - Datsun motor looks like offy 6

This sweet salt-flats style speedster rod just popped up on Jalopnik, and what looks like at first glance to be a period Miller/Offy straight six is actually a Datsun 260z lump! Jim Pendleton of Texas is responsible for the build, and did a spectacular job. Read more /see more photos on Jalopnik.

The Datsun motor posing as an Offy really sets it off - nice detail work Jim... This represents the next frontier - making modern motors look vintage in period style builds. Along those same lines is this Model A Ford powered by a twincam Cosworth four that looks the part.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Z side by size

I have to say the new NISMO Z takes the 350z up a notch, and makes it feel more tuned and more special than the regular car. The drooped nose and giant front splitter gives the Z a more aggressive stance, while the back aero package takes a little more getting used to. However, when compared to the original, it’s apparent how much safety equipment and modern crash standards influence the sheer size of modern automobiles. The new Z feels fairly compact inside, in some ways even more so than the original – but on the outside it’s apparent there’s a lot of stuff packed underneath the skin. Roughly 3320 lbs of stuff versus 2300 lbs on the original.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Toyota and Isuzu Sportwagons Rocked the 1971 Tokyo Show

In 1971 Toyota hit the Tokyo Show with the RV1, “Recreational vehicle 1” was Toyota’s first attempt at a sportwagon.

The concept featured a small trailer filled with an inflatable camp-hut that would expand to 13 feet in diameter and 6.5 feet high to sleep 4-5 people, and 500-watt portable generator to run an electric air pump for inflating the hut. The lid of the trailer also turned into a small boat, complete with small outboard motor.

The Celica based chassis made do with a 105hp inline-4 from the Corolla. The design featured a narrow tailgate (between the elaborate taillamp assemblies with 30 lights in total, and unique gullwing opening rear hatches. Nissan must have studied this showcar in detail for their Pulsar NX “Sportback” option. Needless to say, the RV1 never saw production, but the idea of the sportwagon was never forgotten in a host of liftbacks and hatchback designs.

Also at the ’71 Tokyo Motor Show was a sportwagon from Isuzu based on the Bellett. At the time it was called clean and European – and looks like a cross between a Lotus Eclat and a Gremlin. Based on the Bellett GT chassis, and fitted with a 1.8 liter dual carb’d twincam, the Isuzu was more sporty than the Toyota RV1 across the show on Toyota’s stand. At the time it was compared to the Volvo ES – a 2+2 with some luggage space. Like the RV1, the Bellett sportwagon never made it to the production line.