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Kitchs 1971 Datsun 1200 Coupe Project

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Hi from New Zealand fellow Datsun-a-holics


So here’s a build thread on my 1200 coupe, for those that are interested

I have been building this car for the last 5 years, been a bit of a labour of love, have had a few distractions with other cars, projects and the likes. But finally getting somewhere at last, and am hoping to have finished and on the road end of this year.


I brought this about 5 years ago, from a guy who rallies Datsun 1200’s. This car was a spare ‘shell’ he acquired, but as it was 95% complete & original, with live registration and plates, he on-sold it to me, as it was too good to cut up for spare panels.

Here are a couple of photos below, of when I brought it June 2007.


I had it fully sodium blasted inside, outside and upside down, to show all the sins, and coated in epoxy primer, while it sat for a while.

In typical 1200 fashion it needed quite a bit of rust repairs.




Luckily all the original plastics and interior are in pretty much faultless condition (for a 40+ year old car at least!) not a mark on the dash, got some solid door cards, and all plastics are there and in real good nic.

I decided that JDM type look is the go, with upgraded suspension, brakes & diff. I don’t want the big flared guard look, as want it to look like a cool road car rather than a full circuit car.

After much deliberation, and ideas, I decided to stick to A series running. Each to their own, but the Twin cam turbo Nissan repower is just not my cup of tea (and getting pretty common over this way), I love the sound of a push rod A series engine revving, and I love the fact that anyone (including me) can find your way around an A series motor. I also love the lightweight nimble handling car that is associated with using A series motor, ie 700kg and 120hp can still be a lot of fun!

After some youtube surfing, I fell in love with the sound of ITB’s so decided to go to what turned out to be a time and money consuming task of developing my own custom EFI / ITB setup.


The car was out at my mates resto shop for a good proportion of 2011 having every ounce of rust removed, new custom sills made and fitted, new custom rear wheel arches, and general body repairs and tidy up. Here are a few selected pic’s of the body restoration.


Essentially it just needs the front doors rust repaired, and final body fill, and few wee imperfections to sort out, then its ready for paint.




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Here are some details of the suspension, brakes, diff upgrades I have undertaken:

Front End
 Shortened original strut housings, with VW Rabbit spec gas inserts

 HSD coilover sleeve kit, with D2 camber plates
 New Larger Sunny ball joints, and Sunny LCA’s
 B210/120Y larger 20mm swaybar
 Custom Alloy bump steer spacers
 S13 Brake upgrade, new master cylinder, Braided brake lines
 All new bearings, seals, nolethane bushes etc
 New steering & link arms, idler arm etc
 Powder coated / repainted all components


Rear End
 H165 Ute 4.1 rear diff, Machined Drums, new shoes, wheel cylinders
 Reset real leafs with extra spring fitted
 New Nolethane bushes
 New brake lines & hand brake lines
 Custom Panhard rod setup





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Body work



Final body repairs, fill, prime & block back undertaken late 2012, and engine bay painted in original red. After engine and interior fitted out it will be out for final paint in a month or two.















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Running Gear


 A series push-rod goodness J :


 Taken me a shit load of time, research, $ & efforts to get this put together the way I want it:

 Balanced High compression A14, 78mm Mazda pistons, (11.2:1 C/R)

 H79 oval port head, ported, planed, double springs, ARP head studs
 My own design custom made manifold/EFI setup
 4AGE Silver top ITB’s & T3 techno tuning trumpets
 Custom fuel delivery system, Bosch 044 submerged surge tank setup (IE type)
 EDIS ignition setup, wasted spark
 Innovate 02 wideband setup
 Megasquirt V3 ECU (fuel & spark)
 Silicon hoses throughout

 60 series 5 speed gearbox, h/d clutch, lightened balanced flywheel

 Alloy 3 core radiator & electric push fan










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So its gettting close now. 


Need to get drivshaft shortened & few issues with brakes (leaks) sorted, install clutch cable

then its basically driveable.


Hopefully next month it will be out for final paintwork, I can then get on with final fitout of glass, rubbers & lights.


All going well (and time & funds permitting) it will be on the road for Xmas :)



Finally got my custom engine setup running, after years of efforts!




Hope you guys like the direction I have taken, and my 'take' on a JDM Datsun , with a bit of old vs new in the engine area and the likes

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When I post up in a few posts like summarizing the build, it looks pretty straight forward.....


But it has taken a huge amount of energy and time & $ I assure you!


I do everything I can myself, as far as researching, sourcing and installing components / fitout. I just sub out the panel & paint, and any welding works.


Here are some pics of some of my sideline projects I have had over last few years, as every now and again I impulse buy a Datsun.... Usually personalize it , cruise in it then sell it, and try and get back on to concentrating on the coupe.


Each picture represents a purchase that just about cost me my marriage!!


B110 Sedan Resto








B210 Club race car



910 Bluebird hack (Paid NZ$270 for this!)




B210 cheap summer cruiser


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  • 7 months later...

So a long overdue update on the coupe.


I see I last updated this thread in July 2013.....


Have had a few distractions over the last while, and played around with a couple of 310 sunnys. also packed a sulk for a while on the coupe after lack of progress, so did nothing for 3 or 4 months on it. But back into it the last month or so with rejuvenated enthusiasm!










Trying to get my bearings with what I have done on Coupe since July, but here is a basic summary:

> New Surge Tank system mounted under car, with submerged pump setup (Bosche 044) & face lift pump

new fuel lines permanently hooked up & P-clamped etc

> Relocated Battery to boot, new 8ga wiring network etc. also new remote fuel relay setup in boot area

with new heavy wiring to both fuel pumps etc (after a small electrical fry up due to under spec wiring!)

> Tidied up wiring & new looms, plastic sleeving over etc

> Fitted up my Raybrig H4 lights, and fixed my stupid damn corroded light switch assembly

> New balanced shortened drive shaft fitted up, diff filled with oil, shifter fitted with new bushes

> purchased bolts & fitted up panhard rod properly & centered up rear end

> Had Rapid Performance bleed / test braking circuit, fix leaks, and complete exhaust system

> Made my own custom spark plug leads & fitted new Coil pack

> Finished sound deadening application t o body (Dynamat with combination mass loaded vinyl layer over)

> brought a few NOS genuine parts in anticipation of final fitout, like rubber grommets, side markers,

front combination lights, armrests, Heater control valve, voltage regulator,

> Assembled all steering components & tightened all bolts, new split pins etc

> Busy at moment re-upholstering my front (S30/260Z) seats & overhauling the mechanical parts



Start up / tuning has been a real hassle, I had a couple of months of no real success, and that brought on a bit of a hyatus of work on the coupe while I sulked! Damn my ITB dreams!! I drove car once up my drive spluttering & misfiring before I stopped work, till I sorted out a few issues!

ECU has been away since end of September getting checked out, upgraded and faulty MAP sensor replaced,

along with adding a bluetooth tuning module to it, I should finally have back next week! I am real excited & nervous to see what success I have on next startup effort!



Few random pics below of what I have achieved



















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ITB's are 43mm Silvertop Toyota 4AGE type

Look a little different as I media blasted them and also flipped them, to get TPS away from firewalls

and also discretely have throttle cable underneath, rather than all the ugly mechanics on the top


Running Techno Toy Tuning T3 trumpets

Custom made manifold & fuel rail with Bosche injectors (190lb)


If I had to do it all again, I would buy a set of EFI hardware ITB's coupled to a redline DHLA40 manifold.....

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Yes, very subtle flaring.

prob only 10mm wider than factory.

To achieve this we took at the secondary swage line out of  the lip.

Also means I could roll the inner lip up hard against outer.


My rear wheels are 14x7" with +2 off set, and they fit perfectly as a result.


When we do front guards, we will take the same approach.


I wanted car to look 100% original to the untrained eye! so good spotting on your behalf!

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Woo-hoo after 5 months of patiently waiting my Megasquirt ECU is back!

Replaced few dodgey bits, includling MAP sensorm and new firmware & ITB base tune

been waiting for replacement parts, and new Bluetooth adaptor , so can tune from android phone/tablet

(you can see it below ecu, covered in heat shrink)


So had to spend an hour or two in garage tonight,

Installed Dash up, wired it up, connected New tacho circuit, 

Fitted up ECU, installed new voltage regulator


Also gave engine bay a quick wipe down to take dust off - still happy with how it all looks, just need

to sort out a wee surge tank with breather to go on firewall to take crank & rocker breather pipes.


just need to fill it with fuel & water, and upload latest firmware to the laptop,  

and then I am ready for next start-up effort!






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Where did the ECU go?

I had ECU away with a guy over here in New Zealand, who dabbles round with megasquirts as a sideline to his day job.

Was waiting on the blue tooth adaptor and various other components. to be fair I wasnt holding my breath for it,

as had a heap of other things to do to the coupe in the background. so gave me suitable time to sort other stuff.

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