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About Balleristic31

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  • Location
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Cars
    1969 Datsun 510, 1991 BMW 318is Turbo

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  1. Tackling the exhaust was high on the priority list while the car was up in the air on jack stands. The exhaust that came on the car was basically junk so we scrapped everything rearward of the header collector. After cutting/shaping/ fitting repeatedly, we ended up with this: Front and mid section joined together by V-bands. Muffler selected was a Borla Pro XS. Below you can see the rear section all welded up with hangers included. Here is how the subframe area looks all mocked up. Pretty clean! A small section was removed to get the bend a bit tighter to the body after we fit everything up. And final fitment with a stainless tip cut at approximately a 10-15 degree slant-cut. Looks awesome and is rock solid! Once that was all buttoned up, the car got rolled into the sun on all fours for the first time since the build began! Looks fantastic in the sun! The maestro himself! Wiring is next!
  2. Since we got the car the brake pedal never had any pressure, so now that the suspension was sorted it was time to address the braking system. Ideas for front hardlines were kicked around, but at the end of the day we determined stainless steel softlines would do the job just find and be much more workable. All front lines were custom/hand made out of DOT approved braided lines/fittings and diligently checked over after a good bleed. The results speak for themselves! Below is an example of the fittings/lines used throughout. And all buttoned up! Close up! Clutch master cylinder mounted and its line/bulkhead fitting made. Then the brake master and lines! Here you can see the fitting that goes out to the driver’s side front wheel. And here is what inside the cabin looks like with all the bulkhead fittings and lines. Some aluminum dividers were whipped up to clean things up a bit! After all that, rear softlines were made in a similar manner and everything got bled and checked for leaks. The system was air tight and we finally had a brake pedal! Here’s a nice shot showing all the bling under the car including the front brake line installed.
  3. Rear-end time. The plan for this car is to convert to true rear coilovers. First Dad dropped own the crusty old rear end. We have a running theory that the car was semi-submerged at some point, as evidenced by the insane level of crud all over everything. All blown apart and semi cleaned up. No serious rust or damage on the trailing arms and subframe! Differential is unfortunately open with 4:10 ratio. That will be addressed at some point… Subframe getting prepped for weld-in camber and toe adjusters. Super substantial heavy-duty pieces! Got everything all welded in! Trailing arms got cleaned up and painted. Then sleeves for the spherical trailing arm bushings were pressed in and tacked into place. Original Datsun hardware was retained when possible. All bolts were media blasted and coated with high strength clear coat for a pretty cool looking finish. As with the front wheel wells, the entire rear end of the car was stripped of its undercoating, inspected, and repainted in body color. Dad also made up a think sheet aluminum cover to fill the gap between the sliced up fenders and the flares (all the horrific cavity foam was left over PO body work… real high quality stuff…). Results were very satisfying to say the least! And some finished shots! Aluminum panels were riveted in place and sealed up with some seam sealer before paint. Hmmmm whats this? Time for the rear end to go back in. Poly bushings for the subframe and differential mounts. And the money shots…. Rear Wilwood disc conversion! And finally, a little teaser of the rear wheel fitment. You can really see the quality of the paint in body work in these shots as well!
  4. Let’s talk about the dash. In these first few photos you can see the dash that came with the car. Basically the bent/twisted and bare frame of the original Datsun dashboard. Reskinning the original dash was an option on the table, but at the end of the day a full custom dash was really the only way to go. Some more CAD work and we had a nice template to work from. Note the gauge placement mock up. Oh look real versions of the printed pictures. Stewart Warner was used for all but one of the gauges. These are period correct gauges and were used in the 510 Trans Am cars. First piece of sheet aluminum cut and shaped. Next the dash face was bent and formed. Some bar stock brackets were fabbed up and tacked together. And and more final fit with gauge mock-up. Note the steering wheel which will eventually be the replacement for the horrific parts store wheel that came with the car. Now let’s cut some holes. Looking good! More to come.
  5. Next let’s take a look at some of the interior items. First off, the seats. As this car will be mainly driven on the street, have no rear seat, and a roll bar, the front seats needed to be sporty, but still comfortable enough to drive for long durations and fit multiple drivers/passengers. We never really liked the look of more modern Sparco/Recaro/Bride seat in 510s, and wanted a bit more period correct set of buckets. Like most of us, I browse craigslist daily for deals, and randomly ran across some interesting seats that I had never seen before. They were advertised as vintage rally seats, for less than what most sport seats generally run, so we figured why not! As it turns out, the seats were being sold by a long time car buddy of my Dad who goes back all the way to his white 510 days! Small world stuff. The seats are Paddy Hopkirk Carrera Recliners, a period correct seat designed by Paddy Hopkirk the legendary Irish rally driver. Perfect! Below is a photo that I found of them online before we had them reupholstered. And after being reupholstered. The foam in the center is actually quite compliant so you sink into the seat bottom and the bolsters become much more aggressive/Recaro LS style. The upholstery guy didn’t do exactly what we wanted color wise, but they are definitely acceptable for now and go well with the tan. We haven’t exactly figured out how to incorporate the orange into the rest of the interior but we will probably do something on the door cards to match. A bit of work on some angle aluminum and we have seat mounts! Some new sliders and mounts and the seats fit great. The rear seat delete will be made out of sheet aluminum. After making a couple CAD (cardboard aided design) templates and a homemade sheet metal break we ended up with this: The plain aluminum looked a little boring, so Dad borrowed this beast to help make things a bit more interesting. First test bead rolled! And some bead rolling on the top panel. Much better! These panels will eventually be painted wrinkle black and the large seat back section will get bead rolled as well. Next post we will go over the custom dash setup!
  6. Once the bay was looking good, the cast iron (surprisingly somewhat tubular) exhaust manifold was sticking out like a sore thumb in the bay. That got refinished and is looking much better. Also below you can see the DP racing steering box brace installed along with some custom motor mount spacers made from space age material (aka high density cutting board). Then attentions turned to suspension. Everything in the suspension needed replacing, with most of it having the quality of workmanship best illustrated in the following photo: This car will be a dual purpose street/track car, so the plans for suspension were to go with a relatively aggressive setup that could also be streetable. Front end components came from DP Racing and FutoFab and are of excellent quality/fit/finish. First up, chopping up the strut towers to make room for the camber plates. A keen eye will see them all cut out in the painted bay photos from the previous post. Next was to prep the strut tubes for coilovers. Remove the dust shield and spring perches to allow for shortening/welding of the new components. Perches welded on: Strut assembly painted and assembled: Wheel wells were painstakingly stripped of all paint, stich welded where necessary, and undercoating before being painted body color. Finished photos below… Now for the real money shots! Camber plates in: Struts and control arms! Note the massive bumpsteer spacer. And just for fun we fit the new brake setup as well…
  7. Great question. There are a few reasons we chose to run the rad setup in its current configuration: 1. There are really no off the shelf and affordable options for radiators with the outlets in the 18RG configuration. This was a $50 radiator that was an oem option. 2. The radiator is dual pass so it has to exit on the far side. 3. We have yet to really prove the longevity/viability of the 18RG. Once we know the motor is good, and we are satisfied with the way it runs/drives there will be an investment in a nicer customer rad with proper outlets.
  8. Simon you will have a great time. Best JDM show in SoCal. Not going to make it in the 510 this year but I think I will bring the E30 out! See everyone Saturday.
  9. Once the carbs were cleaned, we threw in some new NGK plugs, changed the oil/filter, and fired the car up for the first time in many years! Hearing the throatiness of the dual Mikunis and the rasp from the exhaust was beautiful to experience. I think we have a video somewhere of that first start which I will try to get uploaded… Now that we knew it was a runner, it was time for more work to really move forward. First we test fit some trumpets on the carbs for fun… This car will have foam air filters, but the open trumpets are just so damn cool. In these photos you can also see the simpler single outlet water neck that was from some type of 80s Toyota that aided in cleaning things up. Next we took a look at the radiator setup. The 18RG has its radiator outlets on the opposite side as the factory 510 configuration, and the previous owner’s original swap radiator setup was full of garbage 90s parts store components. Perfect opportunities for upgrades. After a bit of searching, we found an OEM VW radiator would fit the bill for the slightly awkward setup. The upper and lower hose were a combination of tubing/hoses that got the setup to be much more robust. After a couple bends on some aluminum for brackets and a beauty cover, this was the result: Now you might have noticed a bit of paint in the engine bay in those last few radiator photos. The entire bay was prepped and painted in body color tan and wow, did it make a huge difference. Much more to come! :D
  10. On a trip home from Spring Mountain Raceway in Nevada, Dad stopped in at BRE to get the car certified as a BRE tribute car. So awesome! Back home and back to work. With paint and body in a good place, it was time to tackle the 18RG. The engine turned over smoothly, so we were hopeful it wouldn’t take a ton of effort get the thing to fire up. Below are a few reference photos I took of the engine before initial tear down. First step was to completely go through the twin 40mm Mikunis that had definitely seen better days. The amount of fuel varnish in the bowls/jets was laughable, and we even found a few surprises as we disassembled and cleaned. Multiple hours of cleaning/rebuilding yielded impressive results. Left is done, right is still to be cleaned and rebuilt.
  11. Once home, we wasted no time getting started tinkering and installing various parts that had been accumulated while the car was in paint. New tail light lenses were fitted with SEM Black on the trim. With all new hardware/chased threads and gaskets they went on perfectly. Brand new headlight buckets and nice straight grills were tossed on for a quick look. Coming together nicely… Then came test fitting the front valence and lip… WOW was all we could say. Brand new turn signals as well. And finally, just a sneak peak of the seats that were chosen. Something a bit different and fun to keep with the theme of the car…
  12. Here a few more post-paint pictures. I can't say enough how awesome this paint job came out. Pre wet sanding: Note the re-cutting in of the original body line above the rear flare: After wet sanding: Had a little steering help from the GF to get it on the trailer. And on its way home. The tape stripes are a silly indicator of future aesthetic modifications...
  13. First order of business was of course bodywork and paint. Overall, the car was incredibly straight with minimal body work required. A few small rust patches were needing to be addressed, but other that, the car was in great shape! Front flares are full fiberglass fenders, rear flares are molded/grafted in and needed a bit of clean up. A new hood and front valance/lip would be sourced (fiberglass of course, this thing is going to be LIGHT). The car was originally Bamboo Tan (closer to Band-Aid color), but had painted several times throughout its life. Here are a few more pictures from that first day/assessment. Dad wasn’t a huge fan of the original Bamboo Tan, however, he wanted to stay some form of tan in order to keep with the original spirit of the car. After browsing various vintage/modern tans we landed on Toyota Sandstorm Tan (used on modern FJs and Toyota Trucks). He chose a Toyota color to be a bit tongue-and-cheek considering the powertrain. Datsun purists be damned! J The body of the car was stripped to essentially bare metal/fiberglass. All panels (hood, trunk, doors) were fit, straightened and blocked out. Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of the body work process. Here’s what we have from the body shop. And fresh out of the booth. The guys over at Kirby Kia in Oxnard did an excellent job! Much more to come!
  14. Cross-posting this build here from R3vlimited.com (BMW E30 forum). Please enjoy! Backstory: Back in the late 80s-early 90s, my pops was beating up on them at local SoCal SCCA autox and track events here in SoCal in this: Unfortunately, about 20 years ago, young kids, a lack of seat time and a few too many boxes stacked on the roof took their toll. The white 510 was sold-off for what we now realize was a sinfully low price given its immense sentimental value. We often wax poetically about tracking that car down and bringing it back to its former glory, however, that’s a topic for a different thread. Fast-forward years later, Dad gets a call from a work contact saying he knows of a project Datsun he may be interested in. Given the astronomical price levels these rusty old econo-boxes have achieved in recent years we weren’t super optimistic. However, after a quick exchange of a few photos that included fender flares and an interesting looking valve cover, our interest was sufficiently piqued. After hearing an asking price that was as sinfully low as the aforementioned white 510 sold for many years ago, a deal was struck. My dad was once again the proud owner of a 1969 510, with, uniquely enough, a JDM Toyota 18RG twin cam engine sitting in its bay. The photos below were taken the day the car was towed from the previous owner’s yard. The car has come a long way since, and I look forward to continuing to document progress. Enjoy!
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