The Donor Car
As we are replacing the engine in our 260z it makes sense to source a donor car. This way, we have everything required to make the engine run in one package rather than sourcing individual components.
Enter our 1994 Toyota Soarer. This car was only ever available in Japan so the only option to own one in the UK was to import it. This was someones pride and joy until an unfortunate accident destroyed it.
Good news for us is that although the damage to the car is substantial, all of the components we need are not damaged. It even drove onto the low loader under its own power.
This was short lived though as the car was immediately stripped so the un-required pieces could be disposed of.
Our choice of donor car all came down to the engine. It was fitted with arguably one of the best engines to come out of Japan in the 90's - The 1JZ-GTE.
Extremely powerful from the factory, these engines are capable of extremely high power with some tuning.
The layout is the same straight 6 as the original engine in the Datsun and weighs about the same so the car will retain its balance.
This particular engine has had the turbo's upgraded from Ceramic to Steel which is a well documented weak point as well as other modifications to allow the turbos to generate more boost and power than when it left Japan.
Coupled with a manual gearbox it should be an exciting car when finished.
Take it apart
First Job is to take the original engine out.
Seems a shame as it still ran perfectly, and was the original but the car is far from original in other ways and 40 years of patches and repairs mean that it was never going to be an original concourse car. By undertaking this project we are giving it a new lease of life and keeping it on the road for many years to come.
The original engine, gearbox, fuel tank, sub frame and everything else from the windscreen forward has to come out/off.
The interior has also been removed to asses the condition of the floors, repair the rusted heater matrix and other localised areas of rust.
Mount the Engine and Gerabox
Before we press ahead too quickly we need to make sure the engine will actually fit in the space available and make templates for the Engine and gearbox.
The good news is that it does fit. The bad news is that we will be fitting and removing it many times before the project is complete.
The Engine mounts we made allow the engine to mount to the original sub-frame as Datsun designed it. The gearbox mount is also incorporated into the original.
Now we know it fits and have templates we can move on.
Remove the Rust
Before the main work can begin, we need a blank canvas.
There are areas of rust we know about and potentially more hidden under old repairs (the car is over 40 years old).
To get to bare metal we are using an industrial sandblaster and good old fashioned elbow grease.
The bare metal is then coated in a rust treatment to prevent it rusting again.
This allows us to see exactly what needs to be repaired, replaced or strengthened.
Follow the process below as we restore and modify this iconic 70's Japanese sports car