Spartan II Neoclassic Car

Based on the picture, you may be thinking “Oh boy, here comes another lame kit car!” But if you lump the Spartan II in with the Excalibur, Gazelle, Tiffany, Zimmer, or any other neo-classic automobile, you would have made a serious mistake.

You see, reproductions of old-timey cars are often built around cheap mass-market vehicles such as a Ford Pinto or a Volkswagen. While this arrangement makes a neoclassic car practical to own, it also places them at the low end of the performance spectrum.

The Spartan II is different. While its rounded headlamps and swooping front fenders may harken back to the early days of motoring, it’s a completely different story under the hood. That’s because the Spartan II is actually based on the Nissan 300ZX, a compact sports car from Japan! With its front-engine, rear drive layout and 2+2 seating configuration, the Spartan II is a bit sportier than you might expect.

The company set up shop in San Marcos, California sometime in the late 1970s. Most of the cars I’ve seen online have the 3.0L overhead cam V6 from the 1984-1989 Nissan 300ZX, which makes a decent 160 horsepower and 173 ft-lbs of torque. However, I did come across one 1983 model online which has the 2.8L Turbocharged inline-6 from the Nissan 280ZX.

I really have no idea how long Spartan was around, which engines they used and when, or how many cars they built before going out of business. Information about them is hard to find and there’s not as much of a fanbase as there is around other neoclassic cars. If you know anything more about these cars, please chime in and post a comment!

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One thought on “Spartan II Neoclassic Car

  1. The Spartan II was designed by Ron Sparks of Clenet fame and in direct competition to Brooks Stevens Excalibur fame.

    My research says about 80 were built between 1983 and 1993 when the factory closed the doors in San Marcos, CA.

    My wife owns the Auto Show car and it is in pristine condition with only 19,000 miles. It was the cover car to all the brochures done by Spartan Motorcars, The only thing changed was the tires. I put wide whitewalls on the car to resemble the 1935 Mercedes 500K that Sparks used as a design inspiration.

    I’m not sure how many still exist, but I do know the cars were purchased by celebrity types such as Eddie Murphy, Joan Collins, Tony Dorsett, and Larry Holmes.

    At one point Spartan had a contract to sell these custom coach built cars throughout Nissan Dealers, at least in California.

    All the servicing is done at the Nissan dealership. It is a real attention magnet, and if you own one be prepared to tell the story forever.

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