28th Jan2016

Only Lightly Modified

by Michael Chandler

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 10)

Listen, Clint Stoneham’s Z still had an inline six made by Nissan.  It just wasn’t necessarily what came in the car originally.  But that’s no longer a concern, because he’s throwing a turbo V8 into it.  Because why not keep the orange sled ridiculous?

30th Oct2014

2 + 2 = 260: A Rare S30 Variant Gets The Spotlight

by Michael Chandler

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

The S30 chassis Datsuns are some of the most gorgeous cars to ever be shipped off of the islands of Japan.  The curves and swoops of the coupes will forever remain a pinnacle of automotive design.  But something you might not know is that all S30s aren’t coupes.  Between 1974 and 1978  they built 2+2’s: longer 260zs (163 inch length and 90.6 in wheel base for the coupes vs. 175 and 102.5 for the 2+2s) with room for two more passengers!

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-8

And they’re rare too, while Nissan built them between 1974 and 1978, they were only available in the US as 1974 models.  Of the 49,671 260Zs sent to America, only 9,499 were the 2+2 variant.  And only one of those 9.499 belong to one Mr. Taigon J. Rider.

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-12 Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-13

The 260Zs had larger engines than the previous 240Z, but didn’t make that much more power due to restrictive emissions equipment and retarded timing.  So Taigon stripped all of those pesky emissions things off of the L26, and set the timing to an appropriate mark.  While he was stripping things, he was also adding things: like an entirely straight piped exhaust and a wrapped header.  On the other side, the intake side, he traded up to a pair of SU Roundtop carburetors topped off by MSA air trumpets.   He also addressed the forty year old ignition system.  He installed a Crane Cams Fireball XR700 electronic ignition, along with an MSD Blaster 2 ignition coil and a sextet of NGK spark plugs.  Most of the afore mentioned modifications aren’t visible unless the hood is up, but one thing is: the Hayden Cooling Systems oil cooler.  That oil cooler is a convenient segue to the exterior of the car.

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-2 Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-5Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-7

Which is utterly striking.  The deep, rich blue paint accentuates the curves inherent to all of the S30s.  The blue is contrasted by the white custom front grille and Roberk fender mirrors.  Below the grill is a Xenon urethane air dam to accentuate the car’s strong jaw line.  And the flares!  The massive MSA flares on each fender not only add to the aura of the Datsun, but are also necessary.  Underneath them sit massive 15×10 -40 American Racing Eagle Alloy 028 wheels, with 195/60 Falken Ziex ZE612 tires stretched over their massive width.

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-17 Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-16

Inside the different cabin are a pair of racing seats: a Corbeau TRS seat for the passenger and a mystery seat for Taigon.  No matter the seat, the occupant is held securely in place by Takata harnesses.  The driver grips a MOMO Competition steering wheel for most things, and a OEM “Z” shift knob to change gears.

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-9

A rare variant of a classic chassis has been turned into something more unique, by a man with a unique name and Instagram handle: @taigonrider

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
22nd Apr2014

Catching up with the RBZ

by Michael Chandler

RBZ burnout Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 1)

When last we saw Clint Stoneham’s RB26DET powered 260Z, it was little more than an old Datsun shell wrapped around a new Datsun body.  But now things have changed.  It’s been tuned, had a cage built and certified, and it finally made a few passes.  After weeks of talking about it, I met up with Clint, Jason Kemp, and Melvin North.  What followed were four passes interrupted by some hunting.

By the time I got there (thanks for cutting me off twice Prius!) they already had the car unloaded and were getting her ready to make the first pass of the day.  After waiting in the staging lanes Clint pulled the orange sled into the burnout box and lit up the slicks.  And then he made his pass which, if I’m honest,  wasn’t exactly stellar.  I’ll spare you the time (i.e. I forgot to write it down), but it was slower than what the car was capable of.  While Clint was making the maiden pass, the rest of us heard something.  We met back in the pits, and the guys got to work.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 10)Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 10)

Out came the laptop, and the theories of what sounded like an ignition problem.  The data logs didn’t show anything, but we all heard it breaking up.  Thinking the spark plugs were amiss, Jason and Clint pulled them and Jason re-gapped them.  Fun Fact: the engine of a car gets hot while making a 1/4 mile pass, and it stays that way for a minute.  Guess who relearned that lesson?  No, not me.  I had my hands full of camera.  With the plugs re-installed and the coil packs back on, we piled onto the side by side and followed Clint to the staging lanes.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 10)

Things were better, 10.87 compared to something much slower.  But the ignition was still breaking up.  Jason, who has a 900+whp 2JZ swapped Mk 3 Supra (!), posited that it might be weak coils.  The RB26 and 2JZ are made for a similar purpose, maybe they had similar problems.  Logs still showed nothing, plugs looked great, so it was back in the side by side for another pass.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (5 of 10)

Clint lined up, burned out, and proceeded to go 10.50.  Still improving, and still breaking up.  Back in the pits I learned that the best time he could post was a 10.00, and the fastest he could go was 135mph.  Anything beyond that would require more safety equipment in the car.  So with that in the air, the guys again started taking the coil packs off the engine and pulling spark plugs.  The original plan was to swap in a set of HKS spark plugs, but Jason noticed something on the cylinder 3 coil pack.  There was carbon tracking, which meant electricity was arcing in the pack itself.  It wasn’t dead, but it was hurting.  Thinking a decrease in cylinder pressure would help, they switched places between the bad #3 pack and the known good #1 pack.  With the car buttoned up, we made our way back to the line.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (9 of 10) Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (10 of 10)

Before we left, Jason did some slight tweaking.  The boost was turned up ever so much and “a touch of fuel” was pulled out.  “This will exacerbate the problem” said Jason, knowing that some of us only heard that the boost was going up to around 24 or 25psi.  The 4th pass yielded a 10.33, which all things considered is not bad.  Plans were made for another pass and I would have stayed to watch him make a 10.2 pass, but a supercharged Charger SRT8 decided it wanted to break after doing a burnout… then repeat the the burnout/breakdown cycle again after a few cars were waved ahead of him.  Unfortunately I had a prior engagement and had to leave, BUT FEAR NOT! There is another chance for us all to see this thing go for the gusto!  This Friday night, or April 25th if you’re reading this after the event, is the first Midnight Drags at RMR and Clint will be making some passes in the brisk evening air.  I encourage you all to come out and watch.

Clint wasn’t the only fellow running at the Test N Tune.  I snapped some photos of those characters, and included them and all of the RBZ photos in a gallery below!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Apr2014

Sorry we’ve been MIA

by Michael Chandler

Sert M3 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 1)

You know how it goes, things start moving along then life just gets in the way and BAM! suddenly it feels like you’ve been stuck on an island for years.  Well, mercifully it hasn’t been years, but it’s been too long.

RBZ burnout Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 1)

It’s not like we haven’t been doing ANYTHING. I took Big Rhonda out to Cars and Coffee, and had Ziptie Dynowerks throw a boost controller in her.  There’s more to the boost controller story than “They put it in, we set it, all is well.”  We talked to Cole from RaceCo about winning a couple of Global Time Attack events and a bunch of other things. We even caught up with Clint and his orange RB26 powered 260Z as it made it’s way down the strip for the first time.

We’re also going to be out at Pit Walk tomorrow, and ISS on Sunday. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

Basically, stuff is coming. And we missed you too.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
25th Aug2011

Project Perfection: RB26 Datsun 260Z

by Trent

260Z CAMautoMagThis project has been a project of love and determination. Clint, the owner of this 74.5 Datsun 260Z originally started this transformation 9 years ago on a different continent. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan with the Air Force and bought this US Spec car in Japan 15 years ago. Being constantly surrounded by Nissan Skyline’s, he decided it would be best to mate the looks of his Datsun, with the power of the almighty Skyline.
Datsun 260Z RB26DETT
Just before Clint was transferred back to the United States, he got the motor swapped in. He was stationed in Alaska where the majority of the work on the rest of the car was to be completed. It unfortunately spent 5 years in the chassis shop, so the motor got transplanted in another Z and ran a 9.1-sec 1/4 mile before he wrecked the car at the track. He estimates it is now putting down 750whp.
Skyline GT-R Datsun
How does a stock RB26DETT turn into the beast it is now? He started with a motor out of an R32 Skyline GT-R and swapped in an R33 crank, Crower Rods, HKS Pistons, JUN ported head and valvetrain, 280-deg. cam, Head coolant mod, 1000cc injectors, and a T88 34D turbo. All of this is controlled by an HKS VPro Tuner, HKS meters, and HKS Boost Controller.
260Z Front Mount Intercooler
Getting this power to the ground not only requires a healthy dose of tire(31″ tall Mickey Thompson slicks), but it is channeled through a 2-speed Power Glide transmission and a Ford 8.8 Rear End.
260Z Ford 8.8" Rear End
RP Squared in Utah finished up the chassis before paint and it is now certified to run an 8.5 1/4 mile. Clint is currently deployed in Qatar, but hopes to be back on the track when he returns and plans to run a low 9 or high 8-sec. 1/4 mile.
260Z RB26 Inside
The body is hardly original on this car, it is comprised of many fiberglass replacement parts to lighten the load. The front mirrors and doors are all that remains untouched on the body, the rest is aftermarket.
Drag Datsun 260Z
Out of the 9 years this car has been under construction, it has been on the road for a total of 1 year. Clint demands perfection in this project, he made sure to point out things in the shoot that just weren’t quite perfect enough and said we weren’t shooting that. This car just needs glass and it is perfect. The paint glistens, the stance is just right, and the swap is clean. However clean it is, Clint tells us he still has some work to do in the engine bay to tidy it up. While in there, thoughts of a bigger turbo also come to mind to ensure he hits that elusive 8-sec. 1/4-mile time. We plan to follow up on this car as it hits the track sometime next year, until then it’ll be perfectly preserved waiting for its chance at the Christmas Tree.
RB26 260Z

RB26 Swapped Datsun 260Z Feature on CAMautoMag from CAMautoMag on Vimeo.

Words and Video by Trent Bray, Photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com