A 900WHP DATSUN DRAG UTE

Big engines and big cars are kind of obvious huh? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good V8 and have owned more than a few. An Audi R8 with that V10 sat behind my head? All day, every day my friend. Yet if I’m honest I think my ego gets in the way sometimes. For years I craved big engined hot rods and large capacity BMWs, but often they were unsatisfying – aurally muscular but lacking in go. So when I see a diminutive truck like Brad McIlroy’s Datsun, I get a kick. It’s inoffensive, approachable yet devastatingly effective. Can you imagine covering the quarter mile in seven seconds in a handyman’s runaround? The deeper and wider I delve in to car culture I think it’s the unexpected that now attracts me. This Ute eats tarmac like a vacuum cleaner sucks up a piece string, and it cannot be ignored…

It always makes me smile when I talk to a drag racer like Brad McIlroy, because it’s usually the same story you hear. He never meant to go this fast – it kind of got out of hand. It’s like going out for a kick around with a football and ending up at the Superbowl, almost without realising exactly how you got there. Except this is all about going fast, really fast, and there’s something very pure and honest about that.

At Willowbank Raceway Brad is pitted alongside the Mazfix 6 that I featured last month. His Datsun ute runs on methanol and I’m sat right in the wash of the fumes as the guys fire it up. It’s a rookie error. As my eyes start to stream a little it strikes me that this kind of sums up drag racing itself – you do things that might hurt a little because the rewards are so temptingly close.

My reward for today is denied though. The rain that’s been looming starts to spatter the track by lunchtime, and I don’t get to see Brad and the Datsun run. As achingly annoying as it is for me, for a crew like Brad’s with days and months of dedication and hard work in this build it’s very frustrating, but all part of the process. Thankfully for me, fellow Speedhunter Brad Lord was stood exactly where I am now for the Brisbane Jamboree last September and got some shots of Brad and the truck in action.

So a couple of days later I find myself at the Mazfix workshop to take a closer look at the little truck. The basic facts? Small and powerful, the wheelbase is a factory-stock 90 inches and it has around 900hp at the rear wheels thanks to an extended port 20B rotary motor.

As ever, the real story is Brad’s though. The parts are laid out for us to see but I want to know why we’re not looking at a Ford or a V8 or even talking about train spotting? So it comes as a surprise when Brad tells me he got in to drag racing through a neighbour when he was a kid. Not the usual route, no parental input aside from ‘yeah you can go to the drags’, just a healthy interest that grew and grew.

For Brad it always had to be a Datsun Ute though, and the ute part I get. This is Australia and I swear they’d use one for a state funeral if the opportunity arose. They are such an integral part of the culture it was a natural choice. The design is a classic choice, beloved as much in South America and Africa as it is here, although the single headlight grille is relativly clean it’s got a hint of aggression to it when you look at how the centre tucks in at the top either side.

Brad was attracted to the clean look they have, which he’s kept with some simple debumpering but incredibly no aero aids at the front given the potential it has.

It’s a different story at the back though, the game is up. I personally like the detail where the cab joins the rear bed, it looks considered and not separated like so many others. According to Brad they’re a great base to start with, as you can do so much with them. Small and compact, they can be made fast with off-the-shelf conversion parts for not much money given great aftermarket support.

He also said something about them being cheap and keeping it road legal… Yeah, I didn’t believe that bit either, Brad.

Sure a few of the modifications could be true for a road car. But it’s gone way beyond that now.

Through heading to the track to get his straighline fix, Brad met up with a whole crew of guys. Drag racing the world-over has always shown me a healthy social scene, because when so much rides on so little time spent doing the actual racing, everything around it grows.

Buying a bare Datsun 1200 shell, Brad met ‘Jerry, Dan and all the boys’ as he calls them. These guys then guided, helped and pushed him through the build, with the original plan being for a 10-second legal street car with a 13B. So what happened? “Build it once, build it right,” states Brad.

Because like I said, Brad is the same as every other normal-on-the-surface-methanol-burning-drag-racer. They just want to go fast. Pure, unadulterated speed delivered in a kick-to-the-brain kind of way.

No prolonged endurance racing here. Explosive forces, combined with friction and propulsion, designed to get the job done as quick as is possible.

It’s a real pleasure taking a look around the truck as it all looks so methodical, which Brad puts down the experienced team and thinking four or five steps ahead in the build stage.

I love the Liberty shifter atop the Lenco transmission; it’s almost reason enough in itself to get a drag specific car. You can show me stripped down quickshifts or VW Motorsport shifters, but this bad boy will win every time.

Just as I saw on Mazfix’s six-second drag car last month, the Weld Racing rims have that gorgeous anodised and machined finish to them.

A skinny 4.5 inches up front…

… And an almost square 15×12 inches at the back.

Twin parachutes mean that stopping really isn’t a problem, which is good because since I was with Brad he’s set a new personal best of 7.79 seconds at 178mph. Talking to him you can hear it hasn’t quite sunk in. “It just felt good off the line, I listened and it went straight. Everything fell in to place.”

 

That time is well-deserved with Brad having raced the Ute for roughly two years now. Although there’s been a few mishaps along the way, hopefully the good times are here to stay.

Just stop for a second and imagine how that must feel? That’s a crazy-quick time for a vehicle of this size, surely? Well maybe not, but I for one love it that it’s even possible.

Maybe better times are yet to come, because Brad wants the Datsun to run reliable and consistent 7.30-second quarter mile times.

Ultimately though the Ute’s days might be numbered with Brad. Like all of us he just wants to go fast. Really fast. So a six-second, full chassis car like Mazfix’s 6 might well be on the cards. One thing is for sure, my eyes are being opened small car after small car by their potential.

I don’t how this is going to end up for Brad or I, but I need to shake it up a bit and smaller, harder, faster is the way forward.

 

Bryn Musselwhite
bryn@speedhunters.com

 

Brad McIlroy’s Rotary powered Datsun 1200 Ute

Numbers:
Max Power (current) – 900whp / potential for 1500bhp
Engine:
20B, extended port, dowelled and drilled, bolted through ports, Series 4 rotors/balanced and lightened & CNC machined, Garrett 55R turbo, MoTeC M84 with Racepak dash, M&W Pro Drag 6 ECU to control ignition x2 (one for trailing and one leading sparks), PWR 600x300mm radiator, one boost pipe straight to intake from turbo, 60mm blow-off valves plus wastegate in front of boost pipe 60mm Turbosmart, one 45mm wastegate on each exhaust outlet for turbo manifold (three in total), 12 x ID2000 injectors
Driveline:
Lenco ST1200 5-speed air-shifted transmission, Direct Clutch twin plate cltuch, full-floated rear end, Race Products fabricated 9-inch case, Race Products chromoly axle 35-spline shafts, Strange diff centre, 5.1:4 ratio
Suspension/Brakes:
Koni double adjustable rear shocks, ‘Mad Dat’ front strut conversion kit for 1200 Ute, Wilwood brakes all round, 4-pot callipers
Wheels/Tyres:
Weld Racing 15×4.5-inch front with 22×4.5-inch Mickey Thompson tyres, Weld Racing 15×12-inch rear with 31×13-inch Mickey Thompson tyres
Exterior:
All steel panels with carbon rear deck cover, de-bumpered, custom mix colour based on standard RX8 hue
Interior:
Kirkey alloy seat, Stroud Safety harness
Chassis
Three-quarter drag chassis (standard from firewall forward, tube back from this point)
Thanks
Dan from ProMods, Jerry for the extended guidance, Brad for the wiring, Archie and the boys from Mazfix, Justin from HPS

 

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MFest VI Brings Heat to Las Vegas

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Whether you own a BMW or not, it’s really tough to not be blown away by the sheer number of high quality cars that made it to MFest VI in Las Vegas. Even though we didn’t even get an ounce of sleep the night before, the caravan, event, and parties were so fun that we had no problem going nonstop throughout the weekend!

MFest weekend started off with the epic, world record setting caravan up from Barstow CA and ended with an equally epic pool party at the Tao Beach Club in Las Vegas. MFest Chris and his team could not have been any more hospitable or welcoming – nor could the weekend have been more mind blowing. No wonder we have TONS of photos!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

The BMW 1 series M coupe is a seldom seen car on the streets due to its high demand and low availability so it was nice to see a good handful of them make it out to Vegas. The nice wide fenders and aggressive bumpers give the car a mean look when it’s rolling down the street. At almost $10,000 less than the BMW 335i, the 1 series M coupe is one hell of a good deal for the amount of car you’re getting.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

This slammed BMW Z4 looked suuuuper fresh, sitting right up front when we entered the event. This is one of the best looking Z4s we’ve seen in recent times. Very classy build.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Red is just such a classic, sporty color. It’s bright without being over the top. No wonder we absolutely loved this Eurosquad 335i. All class.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

It doesn’t even matter how old you are… everyone can appreciate a clean red BMW.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

One nice thing about MFest is the fact that there are actually LOTS of attractive females in attendance. Most car events are just filled with dudes, but MFest is a bit different. Females actually look forward to MFest because of the whole Spring Break-style party atmosphere all weekend, and who doesn’t like that?

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Many of the ladies that go to MFest dress pretty classy, too. It’s a bit different than the hoodrats* that you normally see at carshows. (*Scantily clad girls sitting on car hoods)

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Lots of girls were circulating around the car show area and the trackside pit area, checking out the cars… or maybe they were just looking for BMW ballers with the dopest cars? You tell me.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Nicole Reckers and Xena Kai were two of the models who came out to cheer on the MFest crowd. Somehow, I think many in the crowd were cheering for them!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Here’s Nicole again, but this time with Michelle Yee. For more photos of these ladies, Follow @MOTORMAVENS on Instagram.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

We always have fun hanging out with Eva Skye and Beckie Joon. Again, for more photos of these ladies, Follow @MOTORMAVENS on Instagram.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

The BMW M3 is one of the most iconic sports cars on the market and is often times used as the standard for comparison with other sports cars. The quad exhaust tips on the M3 serve as the best “quick glance” identifier of one of these beauties on the road.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

I’ll be honest. We are pretty sick of matte wraps and paint jobs… especially on BMWs. Living in Los Angeles, you see matte wrapped cars ALL THE TIME, especially with nondescript black wheels. It’s just soo played out.

However, this matte gray E46 M3 from Las Vegas-based Eurosquad really pulled off the matte look well. It actually restored our faith in matte cars, because this E46 looks AWESOME. Love it. We just posted this photo on the @MOTORMAVENS Instagram feed, and instantly, it got hundreds of Likes. No doubt!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

The track fun at MFest was being organized by Speed Ventures, so there were more than just Bimmers on the track. There were also other makes and models on the track running the time attack – like this R35 Nissan GTR, for example. This Hard-Driving Motorsports liveried GT-R was making minced meat of some of the other drivers!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Here’s a shot of the Hard-Driving GT-R and the Hybrid-themed Porsche 911 GT3 R. The livery on this Porsche was one of my favorite themes of the GT3 class race cars.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

I spotted Chris from MFest driving this BMW M3 E46 which was rocking some red wheels and matching side mirrors. The black, red and yellow theme of the MFest logo was completely coordinated with the accents on this car. Co-Ord-In-Ate!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

When the car show awards were being given out, we were given a nice surprise from the MFest Crew. This mirror finished MFest Trophy is going to make a nice show piece for the MotorMavens Crew!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Although BMWs are the main focus of the MFest weekend, Lexus and Cadillac also came out to show their support! This FiveAxis designed Lexus GS350 was one of the best looking cars out out there, without question. We even spotted Victor from Emergency Hookers towing it up from SoCal during the caravan on Friday morning.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Normally, when you see a DTM inspired massive wide body conversion on a street car, it’s usually for show purposes. However, it was nice seeing this BMW M3 E92 making full use of its wide body conversion on the track. It was definitely a pleasant surprise – you don’t see cars like THIS hitting the track every day.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

One of the main sponsors of MFest is Solar Transmission Management or STM. Their E92 was a hard car to shoot on the caravan up from Barstow, because our chase car just could not keep up!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

In my opinion, gold and black color schemes have always looked great on any car. Ever since the John Player Special Lotus driven by Ayrton Senna in Formula 1 racing hit the pavement, this scheme has always been a classic. Although this 1 series coupe wasn’t fully JPS-themed, it was close enough to make the car look great!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Chris’ BMW M5 E60 was one hell of a beast on the drive up to Vegas. The twin-supercharged V10 is no joke when it comes to putting down power! I was trying to snap a rolling shot on the freeway but Terry Pham‘s Lexus IS just could not keep up.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Las Vegas natives, Melinda and Tony Ibraheem, brought out their Euro Squad E92 M3 for the track day. The car definitely was hauling ass down the straight where I was standing. This particular shade of orange usually evokes images of Lamborghini – probably one of the reasons this E92 stood out from the crowd when I spotted it on the track.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

There were a few instructor-led runs on the track where they went over a few different driving techniques such as passing and proper cornering.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

This Porsche 996 911 Turbo must have been a blast to drive around the circuit. I was truly surprised to see so many Porsches represented at a BMW meet – pleasantly, of course.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

And here’s another beauty from the wizards at Porsche – this time showcasing our friends at PASMAG. This car is soooooo SICK.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

This BMW M3 E36 yellow 1 series M coupe is a native of SoCal and definitely had the best rear in the shot. Be on the look out for more of this car very soon!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

When it comes to FAST track cars the Horse Power Freaks/Renner Motorsports M3 E46 was the one to watch. It easily overtook the Savini Wheels Lamboghini Murcielago in the first few laps of the sponsor race. This E46, from what I was told, is a 900+ hp track car!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

This E39 with BMW M-Parallel wheels kept on catching our boy Terry Pham’s eye at the track. He kept on saying, “Damn, that paint job is sooo shinyyyyy…”

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Here’s a spy shot of Terry hard at work, shooting photos for the MotorMavens MFest Gallery!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

MFest VI 2012 was surely one of the most fun car shows and events I have been to in a long time. The great venue, amazing selection of cars and especially the people involved made the whole trip worthwhile. I cannot wait to go to MFest VII next year! On behalf of the entire MotorMavens Crew, I would like to extend a special thanks to Chris and his crew for the invite and all the hospitality in Las Vegas!

DO NOT MISS THE NEXT MFEST EVENT!!!

:: Mike Kim

 

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STREET CAR SELECT

Following last week’s all-Roadster edition of #FeatureThis it’s back to a slightly more diverse selection of machines from the around the planet this Thursday. This week we have a strong selection of cars from Japan in particular, mixed with some other cool entries from across the globe.

Here they are!

(Above) Let’s begin with one of the less commonly seen generations of the Fairlady Z – the Z31. This choice example on RS Watanbes belongs to Masaya Yamamoto from Tottori-ken in Japan.

A fantastic shot of Ichizo Kubo’s R32 GT-2 prowling the the historic back streets of Tokyo. A timeless machine in a timeless setting.

Rob Andrew has owned this ST205 Celica GT-FOUR for seven years now and the car has become a potent track weapon as well a daily driver. Besides being a regular at track days, Rob has also taken the car to the dragstrip where it turned in a best ET of 12.808 seconds.

Meanwhile over on Instagram, @jeaves6 can be found modeling the new extra extra large Speedhunters decal on the window of his BMW E36.

We always love seeing homebuilt projects like this E30 BMW owned by Stuart Russell. With the help of his father, Russell swapped in a mildly built 306 cubic inch small block Ford V8 which makes for great fun considering the car weighs less than 2,500 lbs.

There’s something cool about this late night gas station shot submitted by Sunny Side Racing from Chiba, Japan. The title that was attached to the photo – “Tough Grip Night”.

We don’t see a whole lot of SAABs come through the #FeatureThis inbox, so it was pleasing to see Patrick Zielinski’s 2000 Viggen pop up. Even with little aftermarket support, Patrick’s car is making 455 horsewpower to the wheels through a variety of mostly self-fabricated modifications.

Instagram user @colinbolin caught this image of his friend’s Volvo 850 T5R grocery getter.

Kazuhiro Odachi from Hokkaido, Japan is the owner of this fresh looking JZX100 Mark II. It’s an interesting mix of street drift style with just a hint of USDM.

Another cool gas station shot from Japan, this one showing Kyotani-san’s two-door AE86 Trueno from Kobe. The car is light-tuned with things like a high compression 4AGE, a carbon hood, and of course a set of Volk TE37Vs.

A pair of fine English classics photographed by Instagram user @gasolinephoto.

A bumper-less Datsun 280Z on the streets of Olsztyn, Poland, as captured by Adrian Banach.

A panda MR2? Why not? This AW11 owned by Korey Hamm from Virgina has also been swapped with a 2ZZ-GE motor and six-speed transaxle for maximum high revving fun.

Got meat? @silvergt’s Mustang sure does.

The Evo might be the most well known of Mitsubishi’s performance cars, but we are quite liking this tuned CJ4A Mirage submitted by Kibo-san from Japan.

Following up the Mirage is another less common front wheel drive car from Japan. This Nissan Pulsar Pulsar Serie  VZ-R・N1 ver.Ⅱ is owned by Gooseke-san and he can be found enjoying the little Nissan around the famous corners of Suzuka Circuit.

Yuichiro Morikawa from Hokkaido sent us this image of his V36 Skyline and a Toyota Prius, both wearing Gramlights 57 Extreme wheels and supporting a local shop called Total Car Office “BREAK”.

Chris from Ontario, Canada has owned this first generation RX-7 since 2005. It now has a street-ported 13B and a bunch of other modifications like a set of 16″ BBS RS wheels.

A pretty mental looking Peugeot build under way at the hands of @pug106.

Finally, in a fitting closing shot we have Kotaro Matsumoto’s 180SX from Japan parked seaside at sunset.

Until next time!

 

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TWIN TURBO CADDY: THE 2014 CTS

Joining the list of impressive new machines unveiled at the New York Auto Show last week is the 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan. From the get-go the CTS was designed to rival sport sedans from Europe and Japan, and the new third generation car could be the best of its breed yet.

The styling for the new CTS draws from Cadillac’s 2011 Ciel Concept, but it also shares many design traits with the smaller Cadillac ATS. While both the wheelbase and overall length of the car have grown, it weighs less than the previous model, and GM says it’s 200 pounds (90kg) lighter than the BMW 528i.

The interior treatment on the new CTS is also representative of how far GM’s interior design and material quality has come in recent years. The days of cheap, sub par cockpits seem to be a thing of the past.

However, the biggest story is under the hood where the 2014 CTS will be offered with three different engine options. The base motor is 2.0 liter four-cylinder turbo making 272 horsepower (203kW), while the mid-grade engine is a 321 horsepower (239kW) naturally aspirated 3.6 liter V6. Topping the line in the new CTS VSport model is an all-new twin turbocharged 3.6 V6.

The twin turbo V6 will make 420 horsepower (313kW) and 430 foot pounds (583Nm) of torque mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. In real world numbers Cadillac says the CTS VSport will hit 60 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds. The VSport also comes equipped with Brembo brakes, high performance tires, a limited slip diff, and more.

Of course the VSport isn’t to be confused with the CTS-V, which should be coming along later with some sort of mad V8 under the hood. But for the ‘standard’ CTS, which is set to go on sale later this year, this is looking very good.

-Mike

 

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