OLE ORANGE BANG: TILL DEATH DO US PART

It saddens me everyday as I drive around Los Angeles, stuck in traffic surrounded by big metal things with four wheels. They are not cars, they are simply methods of transportation, also known as ‘mots.’

You don’t fall in love with a mot. You trade it in when it gets old, you smash it into things when you get bored. It’s a cookie cutter world and most people drive mots.

Speedhunters is about car culture and Ole Orange Bang is most definitely not a mot. It is a car, and it has become a living breathing part of my family. ‘Till death do us part.

On my wedding night instead of being ferried away in a fancy limousine, I drove my beautiful wife home in my 1970 SR20DET-powered Datsun 240z.

Since it had been sitting for a few weeks, I thought it was about time to take it out once again – not only so it could see the light of day, but also to do some much needed canyon carving.

Wedding burnouts really take a toll on the cleanliness of the car, so I wanted to make sure it looked its sunday best before I took it out for a stroll.

Nothing pains me more than seeing carbon fiber parts fade in the sun, so I always make sure to take extra care of my hood.

I am sure this is a familiar sight for you Speedhunters out there. It’s funny because my neighbors look at me weird and ask me why I don’t just take my car to a car wash. They just don’t understand because they drive mots.

Since my last post I haven’t done much to the car besides adding a new steering wheel. I really liked the wooden look of the stock wheel…

… but it was too large. That, and I’ve always wanted a premium steering wheel.

I left the Kazama shift knob alone because I actually really like the feel of it. It’s solid and quite heavy and as our fearless leader Rod Chong always says, one of the most important parts of the car are the surfaces that you touch when you’re using it.

Because I’m away from home for weeks at a time I end up having to jump start my car everytime I want to drive it. My wife took notice and bought me this trickle charger. You see why I married her?

I’ve made it a ritual now everytime I drive the thing. I have to unhook the battery charger…

… and I have to check all its fluids. As this is an old car, at one point or another everything has leaked.

The summers in Los Angeles get quite hot so I added some Red Line Water Wetter. I also figured I would put in some Fuel System Cleaner as the motor already has about 3000 miles on it now since it was built.

Just one last touch and I was ready to hit the road. This metal Speedhunters license plate surround will be available soon…

I’ve driven nice roads all over the world, but there is something special about a palm tree-lined road leading into the mountains.

With a full tank of fuel and the pre-flight check looking good, it was time to do some canyon carving.

I decided to hit up some local roads just a few miles away from my house. This road sign should actually read “Fun for the next 20 miles.”

The road is much less traveled as currently it does not go anywhere. You can check out the route (courtesy of Google Maps) here.

It’s located right next to the much more famous Glendora Mountain Road, also known as GMR.

On the way up you pass this beautiful recreation area. There are many places around here for camping and hiking, as well as one of the largest shooting ranges in the area, located in the mountains. This is America after all.

This area is also an off-road haven for the four wheelers and trail riders out there. You just have to pay a small fee.

Here are some of the trails that you can drive on. Just don’t get stuck.

It seemed like the ribbons of hot asphalt were never-ending on the lower portion of the road with many sweeping third and fourth gear turns. I always take it easy as there’s no way to tell what is going to be around the next bend.

As I was about to start climbing to around 7000 feet I left my AEM multi gauge on the water temperature setting just to keep an eye on it.

As I neared the top section of the road, the turns got tighter and tighter, which meant I was mostly using second and third gears.

In the winter time it actually does snow up here. It’s hard to believe you can walk on snow just a few miles outside of Los Angeles.

I’ve driven these roads before with snow banks lining the outside. It can be quite dangerous though, as they don’t use salt on them so black ice can form very quickly.

Since I’m covering events on the weekends the only time I get to take the Z-car out is during the week.

This road is practically empty with very little traffic during the weekdays. Sometimes I try riding my road bike up the same road, only to fail half way and turn back.

It was about 95 degrees fahrenheit down by my house, but up in the mountains it was a cool 65 degrees.

Many people come up here on the weekends to go fishing at Crystal Lake, and that’s pretty much the only traffic this road gets now.

This road used to connect to the other side of the mountain, but a few years back it rained very heavily and the road was damaged due to landslides.

Ever since then they closed the road to all traffic. It has created a sort of motoring heaven, as you don’t really have to worry about traffic.

Maybe in a couple of years they will fix this portion of the road, but until then I will continue to come here and enjoy the wonderful drive.

If you look over the cliff you can see the stretch of road leading up to the top.

The view from the top was breathtaking as always. You can see the smog in the distance creeping up the mountain, but the air quality was drastically cleaner up here.

Every now and then I could hear the note of a performance exhaust echoing off the face of the mountains, but it was quite rare.

As a tradition I always stop by the cafe located right next to the lake for a bite to eat.

They should probably just leave the needle on critical, as it always seems like Los Angeles is on fire in one part or another.

If you ever happen to drive this dream road make sure you spot by this little trading post – they make great tuna sandwiches. Everybody loves the tuna there.

My car is now 43 years old, much older that I am, but from the day I laid eyes on it I’ve taken good care of it. It has brought me so much joy and hopefully one day my children will be able to enjoy Ole Orange Bang…

What sort of dream roads do you guys drive your cars on?

 

Larry Chen

 

 

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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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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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