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1966 Datsun Roadster Build Thread (Street Car)


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#1
Dave

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Hello everyone. I've been wanting a project car for a while now. I finally decided on a 1966-1967 Datsun Roadster. Its called a Fairlady in Japan and its the predecessor to my 350Z (still called Fairlady in Japan). I started watching all the site for cars (ebay, craigslist, BaT) and one finally popped up in Alabama that looked just right for me. It could run and drive, the body was pretty clean. It has almost no rust at all which is amazing considering its 50 years old. I knew it needed a bit of love and care. I contacted the seller and we went back and forth via email. He let me know early on that there was another guy looking at the car too. The seller said he would email us (me and the other buyer) some additional pics of the car in the evening of Monday Oct 3. I got them at 5:30 that evening. I looked at them with my buddy who is much more experienced at this stuff than me. We came to the conclusion that the car was worth a trip to look at. I emailed the seller to setup a time to look at the car at 8pm. The seller replied 5 minutes later to tell me he sold it to the other buyer and not me. I missed out by an hour. Doh. Fast forward to Friday at 11:30 am and I get an email from the seller that the guy backed out on him and I could buy it if I wanted. I am not one to wait, so I told him I'd drive out the next day to look at the car. We left at 6am drove 12 hrs straight through and looked at the car at 6pm Saturday. Car looked great. Went for a test drive and I was a bit surprised as to what I was getting myself into. Also, a damn part fell off the car during the test drive at some point! We said "I hope that wasn't important!" Haha. We got back to the seller's house and I had a chat with my buddy. I was getting cold feet. I was just scared I was getting in too far over my head. My buddy talked me off the ledge, and I went back to negotiate with the seller. We agreed to a price, loaded up the car, and started the drive back home. We got 2 more hours in before we were toast. Neither one of us slept well so we left at 4am to get back to Dallas. I just got back home at 3pm Sunday. What a whirlwind weekend!! Exciting Stuff.

 

There are a bunch of small things that need to be addressed, and I want to go over all the mechanicals. Every part of the car will be looked over at some point in the process. I'm not sure where to start, but it will probably be the brakes since I'm afraid to go over 40 mph right now. Enough of that here are some pics of the car along the journey and a short video of my first drive when I got home. 

 

Just after I got it.

57fad3f2ede81_20161008_195605.jpg

 

Leaving Sunday Morning at 4am.

57fad427d6180_20161009_042809.jpg

 

Somewhere between here and there.

57fad44fc1a9d_20161009_104830.jpg

57fad46d01178_20161009_104845.jpg

 

At home. 

57fad4904f106_20161009_163221.jpg


2008 - Nissan 350Z        - Build Thread

1966 - Datsun Roadster - Build Thread

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#2
JoshWard

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It looks amazing! Congrats buddy. I am also an old Datsun fan and hope to build a 510 one day.

1999 Miata - Waddlz


#3
Matt93SE

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Love those little cars. 

What engine is in it?   You can stuff a KA24DE or an SR20DE in there, but I've heard it's a fair amount of effort and it winds up being like a twin turbo Z to work on because everything is so close.  ( need to change a sensor? step 1, remove engine! )  I don't think it's that bad, but I saw some pics and it was tiiiight.  good thing they're stupid reliable though.

 

Anyway, congrats on the toy car purchase.  car looks great, and it's the right color! :)


And just because I'm a shitty driver doesn't make a miata any less slow.


#4
Dave

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It looks amazing! Congrats buddy. I am also an old Datsun fan and hope to build a 510 one day.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Love those little cars. 

What engine is in it?   You can stuff a KA24DE or an SR20DE in there, but I've heard it's a fair amount of effort and it winds up being like a twin turbo Z to work on because everything is so close.  ( need to change a sensor? step 1, remove engine! )  I don't think it's that bad, but I saw some pics and it was tiiiight.  good thing they're stupid reliable though.

 

Anyway, congrats on the toy car purchase.  car looks great, and it's the right color! :)

 

Thanks! This is the 1600 1.6 liter. I plan to put in a SR20 at some point. They have a engine mount kit for it that I'll get. That'll probably be a ways down in the project. 

 

I have 2 top priorities.

  1. Brakes
  2. Gas tank support

I will rebuild the calipers, replace the rubber brake lines,get new pads, and change out the master cylinder for a dual master cylinder with a brake booster. This thing has no power brakes and it is scary to brake. I have to basically double the length of my braking zone right now. 

 

The gas tank is mounted to the trunk floor and the floor is cracking from the weight of the gas pulling down on it for 50 years. The current plan is to weld in a support plate under the car, and weld the cracks back together.


2008 - Nissan 350Z        - Build Thread

1966 - Datsun Roadster - Build Thread

YouTube Channel


#5
XLR8

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My dad raced a 1600 in the 70s and 80s.  I owned one in high school and we restored a 2 liter 10 years ago and just sold it in 2015.  They're great little cars and there's a decent market for parts.

Let me know if there's something you need and i'll see what we have lying around.  We just sold a ton of solex carbs and a set of headers.

 

Brakes do indeed suck stock but you're on the right path.  Good luck and great choice!



#6
Dave

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My dad raced a 1600 in the 70s and 80s.  I owned one in high school and we restored a 2 liter 10 years ago and just sold it in 2015.  They're great little cars and there's a decent market for parts.

Let me know if there's something you need and i'll see what we have lying around.  We just sold a ton of solex carbs and a set of headers.

 

Brakes do indeed suck stock but you're on the right path.  Good luck and great choice!

 

Whoa, fantastic! I will definitely want to talk with you. 


2008 - Nissan 350Z        - Build Thread

1966 - Datsun Roadster - Build Thread

YouTube Channel


#7
Double O 86

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There are a bunch of small things that need to be addressed, and I want to go over all the mechanicals. Every part of the car will be looked over at some point in the process.

Whaddaya talkin' about?  The car looks and runs great!  Just drive it, don't waste time wrenching on it.

 

Looking at that video: it appears that that the steering wheel and shift knob have been replaced.

 

(Thanks, Captain Obvious!)



#8
Captain Buddha

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Nice, congrats! What a sweet looking car!


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2003 Monte Carlo #13 GTA/GT2 - 2015 SCCA Mid-States Majors GT2 Champ

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56201e78c30b9_DaytonaBankingsig.jpg


#9
Matt93SE

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One thing to keep in mind on the brakes...  not saying they aren't a meager design to begin with, but often on 'classic' cars that see little mileage, the brakes are basically ignored.  Wheel cylinders go bad and leak brake fluid into the drums, which saturates the brake shoes and prevents them from actually doing any stopping.

 

I've been able to 'restore' some brake shoes on old Fords by pulling them off the car (fix the cause of the leak of course!!), but when the shoes are off the car, dunk them in a solvent that will dissolve accumulated oil or brake fluid.  brake fluid is water soluble, but oil and grease aren't of course.  I wound up using acetone which will dissolve the wheel bearing grease but is also water soluble.  I dunked them in acetone and brushed them with a wire brush to remove the stuff off the surface.  then soaked them overnight in acetone.  next morning, I gave them a quick scrub again set them out in the sun to dry for a couple days.   after I thought they were pretty dry, I warmed them in my powdercoating oven for a while at 200F then 250F to boil off any solvents and water without causing it to flash-boil and trash the surface (think shoe lining-->popcorn).  I finished them off with a few seconds of propane torch directly on the friction lining to burn off any grease left, but not long enough to damage the adhesive holding the linings to the shoes..

 

It would have been nice to just buy new brake shoes for the car, but it was a bit of an oddball old Ford and we couldn't find replacement shoes for it without sending the shoes in for a $$$$ re-lining.

 

long story short, check the brakes for leakage and if the pads or shoes were saturated with fluid, replace/recondition them.  that might help your braking until you get around to doing a true upgrade.


And just because I'm a shitty driver doesn't make a miata any less slow.


#10
Captain Buddha

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You call it an oven....Matt calls it a "powder coating oven" LOL! 

 

I think you're addicted....either that or your cooking meth...what's with all the chemicals?  :tongue:


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56201e78c30b9_DaytonaBankingsig.jpg


#11
redneck4Christ

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Looks good!  You need to bring it out for a parade lap just so you can say you've had it 'on track.'

 

That and getting brake pads re-lined were 2 things I wanted to do to my BelAir before I sold it.  Carbotech says they have a performance friction compound for drum brake applications.  I'm not sure how aggressive that compound is though.  If new drums are hard to find you may not want to go that route.



#12
Matt93SE

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Lol!
I used to have an old oven in the garage specifically for my powder coating setup when I was doing custom stuff all the time. The house gets pretty stinky when you cook car parts, so I don't recommend it unless you have no choice.

And just because I'm a shitty driver doesn't make a miata any less slow.


#13
Dave

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Looks good!  You need to bring it out for a parade lap just so you can say you've had it 'on track.'

 

That and getting brake pads re-lined were 2 things I wanted to do to my BelAir before I sold it.  Carbotech says they have a performance friction compound for drum brake applications.  I'm not sure how aggressive that compound is though.  If new drums are hard to find you may not want to go that route.

 

It will be out there at some point. The fronts are actually disk and the rears are drums. I'll be ordering new pads and shoes regardless of whatever condition the current ones are in. Carbotechs might be cool. Dunno.


2008 - Nissan 350Z        - Build Thread

1966 - Datsun Roadster - Build Thread

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#14
hornetball

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That's awesome Dave.

 

My first car that I bought in 1984 was a 1966 Plymouth Sport Fury convertible with a Super Commando (i.e., big block MOPAR) and 4 wheel, non-power drum brakes.  It was faster than it's brakes.  It sucks to be looking for a hill to get the car stopped.

 

I also still own this car (upgraded to disc brakes) and it happens to be the same color as yours.  Trackjunkie Classic Car Cruise?

 

57fbde49c20c9_MySportFury.jpg


Silver 90 1.6L Turbo Miata (Greddy + MSPNP, Cowl Induction, FCM) (Build Thread)
Red 95 1.8 Miata (949 Racing 95R Project Emulation) (Build Thread)


#15
DTP525

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Nice!

#16
lonestarrpm

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Looks like a really nice car out of the box!

 

Love the reclining bucket seats on old cars like that.... I had some mid-70's Fiats.... they always leaned inwards :-)

 

 

Mike



#17
kmccauley

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Fantastic! Are you gonna keep that rollbar if you plan to keep it on the street?



#18
Dave

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Rollbar is coming out ASAP. Ruins the lines of the car.


2008 - Nissan 350Z        - Build Thread

1966 - Datsun Roadster - Build Thread

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#19
kmccauley

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Rollbar is coming out ASAP. Ruins the lines of the car.

 

 

Cool, that's what I was thinking! 



#20
Dave

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Ok, first update after some work.

 

The roll bar is out. I think if I flip this thing over I'll probably prefer to be dead. 

 

Removed the "trailer" wiring they hacked in so they could tow it behind a motorhome. Removed the hilarious LED strips all over (and under!) the car wired up with home speaker wire. Replaced the Hydraulic Stoplight Switch so now the brake lights work. Ordered new wiring to match existing color code. IE green w/ white stripe, red w/ yellow stripe, etc. Ordered a Delphi Weatherpack connector kit and crimp tool. I'm going to remove a bunch of the worn out factory wire crimps with new crimps, and put in some connectors for things like taillights, blinkers, headlights, etc. 

 

Changed the oil today. There was a bunch of black magnetic gunk that was at the bottom of the drain pan.(Edit: I might of contaminated the oil in the pan when I was trying to remove the filter) Not sure what that means yet. I also added about 1/2 gallon of 50/50 coolant. I dunno how much the radiator holds but it can't be much more than that. Tomorrow I'll probably replace the spark plug and do a compression test. Maybe stick a borescope in the spark plug hole to see if I can find where the metal bits are coming from. Also, I'll bleed the brakes tomorrow. 

 

5802930ddcf10_20161015_134645.jpg

 

I removed the speakers so i could get the rollbar out. I was also courious to see what was in there. It was everything I dreamed it could be. "Quick-mount Ceiling Speakers"

 

5802932695998_20161015_091136.jpg


2008 - Nissan 350Z        - Build Thread

1966 - Datsun Roadster - Build Thread

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