drivendaily Reader
May 25, 2017 10:10 a.m.

I'm still pounding away at the Datsun project, but I wasn't going to miss the first hillclimb event just because that wasn't done. What should I race instead?

Miata is Always the Answer.

A friend of a friend was selling the car, and I arranged to have it delivered on Monday (5/15). I also ordered a cage, to be delivered Tuesday. As luck would have it, both showed up on Monday. Everything seemed to be going according to plan.

... until the car wouldn't start.

I ended up getting a friend who isn't colorblind to come give me a hand, and we rebuilt the ignition tumbler switch then fixed most of the wiring issues in the ignition.

na8 ignition rewiring

I finally had it all reassembled and running on Tuesday, and could start the hillclimb prep work. I tacked in the rear footings at home

miatacage rear footings

... and finished fitting and welding at MakeIt Labs, in Nashua NH. The kit fit perfectly, and I was impressed with the quality of the instructions.

na8 roll bar at MakeIt

After that, it was just a matter of installing an extinguisher and air horn, and getting rid of the ridiculous wheel/tire combination that came with the car (left), replacing it with my old RA1's. These are the same size wheels, but one is insulting and the other is functional.

stretched vs sticky tires

On Friday (5/19), I left to go to Ascutney. There are plenty of things I could complain about: The stock suspension rolls over like a dog that wants its belly rubbed There are piles of rattles and noises all over the place The 225-50R15 tires are both too wide and too tall for this car I had to wrestle in order to stay in the driver's seat rather than the passenger's seat * I brought a black helmet, which turns into an ez-bake oven as soon as the sun rises ... The list goes on and on.

Overall though, it was a fantastic event. Conditions were perfect, the car ran flawlessly, and this was a great event to shake the rust off my driving. This was an un-caged car so there was no hope of being competitive, but I thoroughly enjoyed driving to the top in a spirited fashion. I should have some video footage of the event ready to go live this week, so stick around!

2017 Ascutney 1

The next event is Mt Okemo on June 16-18. The plan is to finish safety prep on this car, get the Race Support Vehicle ready to do it's job, and make as much progress on the Datsun as possible in the next month.

drivendaily Reader
May 28, 2017 7:23 p.m.

Today, I had a few friends over to prep the rest of the cage. The plan is to wrap up the main components of the cage tomorrow, and add the finishing touches to it over the next week.

NA8 cage

drivendaily Reader
May 29, 2017 11:12 p.m.

Today was busy.

tacked cage

On the drive home, I was lucky enough to learn that the gauge cluster is required to run the alternator at low RPM (I don't remember this being a problem on my 1.6). I also learned the solo pop-starts in a caged car hurt.

drivendaily Reader
May 30, 2017 8:00 p.m.

After work today, I managed to chop up my fenders and quarter panels (they're pretty ugly right now), and popped some riv-nuts on to hold these overfenders in place.

na8 overfenders

It's going to need some cleanup before the next race event, but they're fitted up where they should live from here on out. I just need to put the car up in the air, clean up my cuts, add a few more fasteners that I couldn't reach, and get the inner fenders out entirely.

84FSP Dork
May 31, 2017 8:14 a.m.

Looking racey!

drivendaily Reader
May 31, 2017 4:58 p.m.

This is just my daily driver, not the race car

I just brought my open trailer home for repairs, so it gets to live beside my race support vehicle (2000 e350 7.3liter turbodiesel dually box truck) for awhile. The CRX in the foreground is on the back burner for now, but might see some love this season.

Support Vehicles

drivendaily Reader
June 2, 2017 5:21 p.m.

The audio quality is pretty horrific, but we got footage from one of the runs at 2017 Ascutney 1. (updated)

drivendaily Reader
June 3, 2017 7:02 p.m.

Most of my day was spent welding the cage tubing that Ian and I had tacked in last weekend. The makerspace really isn't set up for automotive welding, so it took a long 50a 220v extension cord, some heavy lifting, and a lot of uncomfortable positions ... but all the tubes that are in the car are in for keeps now.

I also spent some time trimming the front fenders. They still rubbed on the front and rear, so I took the death wheel (angle grinder) to them a fair amount. In the fenders, I found three 12mm sockets.

trimmed wheelwells

The dashboard saw a bit of love today too. The stock unit isn't going to be able to go back in, so I'm working on a fiberglass mold to make a composite replacement. I roughed it in with some cardboard, and Mike started fleshing out the design with expanding foam. He didn't get very far though, so I think I'll revisit that tomorrow.

na8 dashboard

Finally, the cage is missing critical side intrusion protection. Our rules require at least three forms of side intrusion for a non-X (caged) car, and the stock rocker and door bar each count as one. We're required to have a sill bar, but the OEM seat mechanisms prohibit fitting one neatly in this car. My solution: Chop off all the ratcheting parts for the recliners and weld them in place. The seats still slide, I have space for the sill bar, and I have less pressure to put proper fixed-back seats in at the moment.

na8 sill bar fitment

The sill bars are nicely fitted, but I haven't started welding them in yet. I want to plan out my door bars a bit more, in case they affect the sill bar location. Right now, the plan is to combine NASCAR door bars with standard Rally X door bars. That is to say that both NASCAR upper and lower bars would touch along their entire parallel portion.

door bar mockup

I'm essentially copying David Dennis' design, but with a much narrower chassis.

David Dennis door bars

My X bars will extend into the doors, giving a little extra space for the occupants. Unfortunately, this means I need to replace the window regulators. Even if I retained the regulators, there's no way to use the manual rollers with door bars in place. Power windows give a few extra options, but I'm going to have to have snap-in windows on my daily driver. I'm very open to suggestions on how to design this.

drivendaily Reader
June 11, 2017 11:57 p.m.

This weekend, a friend was clearing out their garage while moving, and had to give away the last few things that they hadn't sold off. I wrapped up a few final projects on my box truck and made a trip down there. I came back with a bunch of tools, and (at least as exciting) storage!

new tools unloaded

I finally have a toolbox that can live in the race support box truck out of the deal too (this was the main selling point for me to head down).

box truck toolbox

After unloading it, everything was a disaster. I unloaded the truck and pretty much dumped everything wherever it could fit. I went out for dinner, then came back to tackle the first stage of cleanup.

disaster workshop

After cleanup, it's still an unusable shop ... but all the filing cabinets are empty. Once I label them and organize stuff into them, I should end up with most of the bay back in floor space!

less disaster workshop

drivendaily Reader
June 22, 2017 11:07 p.m.

We're racing Mt Washington next month!

Dashpot Reader
June 23, 2017 10:26 a.m.

If you're interested in keeping window function for the road it is possible to do "semi intruding" door bars. I had mine done like the pics below, kept full window function, most of the door cards and the bar padding bumped ~1" into the passenger compartment.

drivendaily Reader
June 26, 2017 1:13 a.m.

It looks like that'd only be compatible with power windows, though. Nothing on this car is powered.

drivendaily Reader
June 26, 2017 10:25 a.m.

Prep is well underway. I picked up a spare gearbox, cleaned it up, and replaced the front and rear seals, as well as rebuilding the spare clutched limited slip differential.

Mt Washington prep

I picked up some new 245-40R15 tires from Maxxis.

Mt Washington prep

I put the car into what I call "service mode"

Mt Washington prep

Air conditioning and power steering came out, dropping a lot of weight off the front of the car.

Mt Washington prep

Then it all came back together for a bit more fender trimming and basic aero mounting.

Mt Washington prep

4cylndrfury MegaDork
June 26, 2017 10:43 a.m.

Regarding windows, fab an extension up for the crank? keep it in the glove box or something, and insert thru the bars when you need to roll the window up/down?

cmcgregor Dork
June 26, 2017 10:50 a.m.
drivendaily wrote: It looks like that'd only be compatible with power windows, though. Nothing on this car is powered.

I have a set of power window regulators that I was going to put into my car, but realistically it's not going to happen before I move. I'm close by, if you're interested I'd let them go for cheap. Should be plug and play.

Car is looking really good otherwise!

drivendaily Reader
June 26, 2017 1:04 p.m.

For now, I'm just going to commit to having inconvenient fixed windows for Mt Washington. There are too many other things to sort out. Later, I may end up just making a 3/8 drive socket specifically for these manual regulators ... or some kind of clip-in or rally-style sliding windows.

drivendaily Reader
July 2, 2017 9:58 p.m.

Today, I rebuilt the torsen limited slip.

torsen limited slip

For now, it lives next to the clutched limited slip, waiting for me to choose which will be installed for Mt Washington next weekend.

limited slip selection

We also installed the new VMAXX suspension. This is a pretty fantastic budget setup (right at the $1k mark), and is still pretty compliant. Track setups would be far too stiff for any of the hills we run, so I wanted to find something that was high quality while still being compliant and adjustable. After a rough base tune, we have the car level again. Hopefully we'll have some time to fine-tune before Mt Washingont.

Suspension build

Suspension installed

Finally, and most importantly, we beat the piss out of the transmission tunnel. Then we cut a huge chunk out of it. Then we could fit the widest seat I've ever seen in my life ... into one of the smallest cabins available in a production car. It took most of yesterday and today to get it all aligned, get the seat facing forward, get the seat level, and make sure I could sit in the car without my head hitting the cage while also being able to close the door. Seat installation sucks.

Seat cutout

drivendaily Reader
July 11, 2017 10:56 a.m.

Well, we ended up missing Mt Washington. As the deadline for the rookie orientation run drew near, we had a hard time getting the car street-legal to bring up to the hill. There were too many little things standing in our way, and not enough time/hands to finish prep, and I had to drop off the roster. We'll have another shot at 2020, and the hope is that we'll have the Datsun available for that.

For now, prep continues for Mt Burke at the end of this month.

drivendaily Reader
July 19, 2017 2:35 p.m.

We missed Mt Washington, and I've made a short video about it.

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

We're Back In Monterey for Car Week

23 hours ago in News

And so it begins, another trip to Monterey Car Week.

Deal of the Month: Free Trackside Companion!

1 day ago in News

Ever wished you had a handy guide on how to dial in your alignment or adjust your dampers?

This Tuesday: Join Us at Track Night in America

1 day ago in News

This Tuesday we'll be running at Palm Beach International Raceway

Experience Monterey With Us

1 day ago in News

We're on our way out to Monterey, California, for car week.

Concours d’Lemons to Ruin Monterey Car Week Yet Again

2 days ago in News

What started as the anti-concours has transformed into a major event on the Monterey Car Week schedule.

Tomorrow, August 15: Join our Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In

2 days ago in News

Our Monterey welcome party is taking over all of downtown Pacific Grove.

Vintage Views: Classic Mini

4 days ago in Articles

Turn heads, have jolly good fun.

You Need This: Toyota With Rally Pedigree

5 days ago in News

Who can say no to a turbocharger and all-wheel drive?

Join Our Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In at Pacific Grove on Tuesday, August 15

5 days ago in News

Our Monterey welcome party is taking over all of downtown Pacific Grove.

You Need This: J. Geils's Maserati Sebring, Some Assembly Required

5 days ago in News

A rock star project will be auctioned off in Monterey next week.

Who Wants a Skip Barber Car?

5 days ago in News

Skip Barber Racing School is selling off Miatas, Mustangs, Porsches and much more.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe

5 days ago in New Car Reviews

A Mercedes-Benz is an animal with few equals. I don’t mean that no one else makes a car that’s as ...


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More