ultraclyde Dork
9/8/12 3:57 p.m.

Okay, so while we were at the drag strip last night my Uncle mentions that he still has my grandmothers B210 wagon. 78? 77? roach brown, 5 speed. Non running, rusty, currently used to store bird seed (??!!??) He says if I want it I can have it. My grandmother originally bought it from the family of my best childhood friend, I dimly remember his mom driving it.

So here's the thing. My aunt recently passed on from cancer, and my uncle has always been a fan of horsepower and fast cars, but last night was the first time he'd ever been to the drag strip. I'd love to give him the chance to drive the quarter and have a vehicle that at least felt fast.

I'd love to do a little road course driving without worrying about destroying my Mustang.

I've been lusting after old jap wagons really hard ( mostly thanks to this site) and would love to have one to cruise around town in. Maybe with that old school, mirrors on the fenders look.

So, of great repository mechanical knowledge, what kind of drive train can I swap into the B210 to get me around 13s in the 1/4 and what do I have to do to the suspension so that I'm not an obstacle to other drivers on a road course? Can I get all three objectives done well enough to be fun if not competitive for challenge money or a little more?

My thought so far is to try and find an injected 302/ 5spd combo and cram it in, then find a ford rear end for it. It seems like a mild v8 is the quickest speed per dollar, but I'm concerned about the suspension rework. Also a plus as we're both kind of ford guys.

What about a 60 deg GM V6? Are they a lot lighter than a small block? They show up cheap enough, hell there's a whole wrecked 97 Firemaro on CL right now for $700.

What about a Ford 2.3L? Worth considering? What else?

I'd really like to keep it caveman simple, so obscure or ultratech swaps are out. Easy junkyard parts availability is a must. Anvil like reliability would be good. Giant hairdryer driven micro displacements should be avoided due to the tendency to produce much shrapnel.

And of course it will be gutted and caged, lightened as much as possible, and probably left rusty and roach brown. But I'll probably take the bird seed out.

And any inside knowledge about 210 wagons would be great (yes, I did read the other recent thread)

ultraclyde Dork
9/8/12 4:45 p.m.

Not the car in question, but real close.

It's been a couple years since i saw the car, but I seem to remember it being very much like this - specifically with the square headlights, which would make it a later model, like 81 or 82 I think.

noddaz Reader
9/8/12 5:25 p.m.


qdseeker Reader
9/8/12 8:36 p.m.

From my understanding, that would actually be just a 210, not a B210. It falls in the B310 lineage.

EvanB UberDork
9/8/12 8:45 p.m.
noddaz wrote: rotary...




ultraclyde Dork
9/8/12 10:15 p.m.

Spinning triangles are great and all, but did you guys miss the part about "cheap" and "simple" and "reliable"??? I'm pretty sure all of those were blessed and buried in salted ground around here, I have yet to see one on craigslist.

The only thing I know about wankels is they spit out apex seals like a supermodel who ate too many cupcakes. I prefer to have some kind of useful knowledge to approach a motor swap.

And, you're right, it should actually be a 210 not a b210 as previously reported...

EvanB UberDork
9/8/12 11:00 p.m.
ultraclyde wrote: Spinning triangles are great and all, but did you guys miss the part about "cheap" and "simple" and "reliable"???

As the saying goes...pick two out of three.

Although with a rotary you can get cheap, simple, and reliable. Maybe not crazy power if you pick all three.

BoxheadTim UberDork
9/8/12 11:20 p.m.

Plus they are surprisingly DIY-friendly. When I had my RX7s, the club I was a member of in the UK had a few members who built reliable fairly high-HP engines at home. Obviously they knew what they were doing but it's not like these guys were pro engine builders or moonlighting for Cosworth...

Doesn't like half of the Puerto Rico drag racing scene run on massaged 12As or 13Bs?

ultraclyde Dork
9/9/12 7:55 a.m.

Okay, so rotary may be an option - I'm not looking for crazy power, just enough to be a bit of a thrill and not look like a shmuck at the dragstrip. So maybe I wouldn't need an apex seal catch basket on board.

It would be a steep learning curve in addition to the normal full-drive-line-swap amount of fab work.

Any ideas about suspension on these cars? As a wagon, is the rear leaf sprung?

ArthurDent HalfDork
9/9/12 9:48 a.m.

If you change the engine you are going to have to change the rear axle too. The trick will be finding one narrow and strong enough. From what I remember of my old 210 is the engine compartment looked decently roomy. I bet a small V6 like 2.8L from a S10 would fit in nicely.

1981 Datsun 210 Engine

Junkyard_Dog Dork
9/9/12 10:38 a.m.

Keep it in the family and use a Nissan V6 and 5 speed with no power adders at all-light weight should make it plenty fast. The SUV versions even make decent power and are cheaper to buy iirc. Narrow the truck rear to fit or add box flares.

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