14th Nov2017

Coca-Rolla: A New Formula!

by Michael Chandler

You remember Ian, right?  Has that S130 we featured a while ago, and I swung by his house earlier this year to see what he was up to?  Any of that ringing a bell?  If you remember that last one, then this car shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see.  It’s the SR5 coupe he was working on when I was over there.  What you might not know is what he was doing to it.

He got the car with a BEAMS 3S-GE under the hood.  An amazing engine, that all the Toyota guys love and would love to swap into a Corolla, or an old Celica, or whatever RWD Toyota they can get their hands on.  That amazing engine rod knocked on Ian at the first event he took the car to.  Instead of shelling out for another BEAMS, or dealing with a 4A-GE and its associated costs, he went with something he knew.  Something that filled his cold, dead heart with warmth and life: a goddamn KA24DE.

Yes, he ripped out a trashed BEAMS and threw in a truck motor.  BLASPHEMY! I can hear you crying.  Why would anyone do that??? The BEAMS and 4A-GE are made by God himself! First, no to that whole second sentence.  Secondly, why not swap in something that is 1. familiar 2. proven and 3. cheap compared to building a 4A-GE or buying another BEAMS?  Argue for purity, and I’ll come back with practicality.  And this thing gets down, but we’ll get there in a minute.  First we’ve gotta talk about this car.

It’s an internally stock KA that sits in an engine bay that’s been completely stitch welded.  It does have a Greddy header meant for an NA S14, albeit modified to fit in the Corolla.  That connects to a Buddy Club Spec II exhaust, meant for a Corolla.  There’s a S14 Koyo radiator with a 16 inch SPAL fan to keep the whole deal cool enough.

Fueling is provided via a bevy of Aeromotive products! And by “bevy”, I mean 2: a 340lph fuel pump, and a fuel pressure regulator.  This whole thing is run via a MegaSquirt plug and play stand alone set up.  There’s a Painless switch panel, and absolutely no OEM wiring left in the car.  Ian rewired the whole thing to his liking.  Oh, and the battery is in the trunk.

That power (at least as much as that KA is producing) is sent through a one piece driveshaft to a solid rear axle.  No, not the stick that came in the Corolla, but a solid rear axle out of a Chevrolet S10.  Turns out it’s actually narrower than the Corolla axle.  Oh, and it’s been re-drilled for four lug.  AND the stock e-brake cables have been modified to work with the giant drums that are now out back.  They grab REAL good.  

Before we go on about the technical aspects of the car, let’s talk about that livery.  If it looks familiar, congratulations!  You’re either old, or a fan of vintage sports cars.  This livery is inspired by a livery on both the Porsche 962 and 935.  Both cars have sported many iconic liveries.  When I visited him earlier this year, he had the KA mounted, and then showed me a bunch of pictures of the Porsches while saying “that’s what I’m doing”.   He then grabbed a cutoff wheel, and got to cutting down the old grill.  It was an interesting evening.

I did not doubt him, in fact, we wondered why nobody else has done this before.  Seriously!  There are so many awesome liveries out there, everybody knows someone who works with vinyl, the pieces are there!  Make it happen, nerds.  Back to what he did.  The attention to detail is amazing!  It’s not just the big, swoopy Coca-Cola logo, it’s all of the little sponsor logos too.  Domino’s, 7 Eleven…

Even Jolly Rancher is on there!  With the period correct logo!  And the Advan logo, because it’s Ian.  Advan logo, despite the fact that he’s running 14×7 and 14×7.5 SSR Mk3’s.  Also period correct, and very awesome.

Speaking of awesome: you know what’s awesome?  Keeping things simple.  The suspension on the car is pretty damn simple: Megan links, T3 tension rods, and Stance coilovers.  The only big swap, aside from the KA, is an AW11 steering rack, which is a pretty standard thing.  No Wisefab, no craziness.  Just stuff you can buy, and that’s probably on the Corolla of your local AE86 guy.  

Inside is pretty spartan.  Again, no craziness.  Just a Nardi Gara steering wheel, and a Bride seat that’s mounted on some Buddy Club seat rails, straight from Japan.  And a cracked dashboard.

And a bunch of Auto Gage gauges, and an Innovative wideband.  

And that Painless switch panel.

The car is running what Ian describes as a “Duraflex runfree knockoff” body kit.  Could’ve fooled me, but then again I have no idea what I’d be looking for in the original.  I’m a lover, not an expert.

Remember how I said that this thing get’s down?  Well, Ian showed us how well it does.  There was a concrete slab, like what’s under your local strip mall, right by where we were shooting.  Dave guided him up, onto the slab, and then Ian did Ian things.  The car will boogie, and it will boogie without bash bars, or as Ian calls them “confidence bars”.  

Will people start slapping KA’s into Corollas?  Probably not.  Corollas are only getting more expensive, so you’d either have to have one fall in your lap, or start off with one.  And then you’d have to make everything work, either make the Nissan mill play nice with the Toyota wiring, or go full Ian and just rewire the damn thing.  And then there’s also the other Nissan motor that people shove into Corollas: the SR20DET.  Why stuff the truck motor in there when the JDM hotness has been done enough that it’s not weird?  

Much like New Coke, I don’t think Ian’s formula is really going to take off.  However, it is a welcome change to something that hasn’t seen many updates.  It’s different, it’s interesting, and it definitely brought a smile to our faces.

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
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.
01st May2012

$30K Check: Mini Coupe S

by Trent

Mini Coupe S CAMautoMag Haters will hate, and I can imagine Jeremy Clarkson mumbling about how ugly it is, and many people do find it revolting. But that only spurs me on more!

 Controversial styling is no stranger to me. The 2002 EP3 Honda Civic Si Hatch, not a huge hit because of its minivan-styling, I owned one. The 2004 Chrysler Crossfire that was overpriced and not styled for the common man. Had one of those too. The BMW X6? Love it! I like my cars to look interesting, the design should speak to me, even if it says something like “My beauty is on the inside”.

 This brings me to today’s car, pictured above(and below), the Mini Coupe S! I love the styling! The backwards baseball cap of a roof adds to the character of the car. The square-ish rear end, looks better than the overly bulbous rear-ends of some cars. It’s a sharp-handling, less-practical version of the Mini Cooper Hardtop. Who needs back seats anyway?

CAMautoMag Mini Coupe

With 181HP in a something the size of large refrigerator box, it’ll scoot. The John Cooper Works version is to be desired with its 208HP, but falls on the wrong side of $30,000. Currently I’m driving either an automatic lowered VW or a motor crudely bolted to little more than wheels. I need an engaging-to-drive runabout that won’t shake my kidneys free on speed bumps or make me cough up my lunch on railroad tracks. This is the ticket!

-Trent Bray

*Article, Video, 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

27th Sep2011

The Blueprint: Nissan 240SX

by Michael Chandler

If you’ve seen the drifting coverage we’ve previously had, then you know of the car featured here. What you might not know are all of the gritty details of how this S13 coupe came to be the silver, purple and green beast it is today. Let us begin with the obvious question: why a 1JZ? (more…)

10th Jan2011

The Next…Nissan 240SX

by Trent

GT Live Day 2

Here we are with a new edition of “The Next”, a feature in which we choose a staple in the automotive enthusiast pantheon and then pick a new comer and tell you why the newcomer will become the next staple. Today we discuss the Nissan 240SX. (more…)

12th Aug2010

The Odd Couple: Two K20 Civics with Opposing Personalities

by Michael Chandler

The similarities between these two Civics are irrefutable: both have two doors, both have K20’s, both have wheels that are more at home on racing cars than on street cars, but that’s where the similarities end. (more…)