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!