Datsun 280ZX with Chevy LS1 V8 Swap

datsun-280zx-ls1-swap-frontFor the second post in our series of engine swaps, I bring you this Datsun 280ZX with the rumble of a Chevrolet LS1 engine! Somebody really took their time and effort to make this an all-around fun car.

Besides the engine, this car has also been upgraded with Wilwood disc brakes, a nice stereo, custom gauges, and other comforts. The body looks sharp in red with chrome trim and a subtle body kit on the front and rear.

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1971-1975 Opel Manta

opel-manta-frontIn the United States, there are stereotypes associated with drivers of certain types of cars.

For example, if you drive an air-cooled Volkswagen, people may assume you are a hippie. If you drive a BMW, people will assume you are both affluent and inconsiderate – the type of driver who would change lanes without signaling. And finally, if you drive a Honda Civic or other “tuner” car, you might be associated with street racing punks.

I have recently learned that such car/driver stereotypes are not unique to the U.S. In fact, there’s a popular one in Germany about Opel Manta drivers: that they are dull, lower-class, macho guys who drive aggressively, love their cars, and have a blonde girlfriend who works as a hairdresser.

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1969 Opel GT 1.1L Coupe

1969-opel-gt-frontToday’s post is about an interesting little car from Opel, the German arm of General Motors. The Opel GT was a small, sporty car with an inline 4-cylinder engine that was produced from 1968 to 1973.

There were two engine choices available: a 1.1L engine and a larger 1.9L engine. The 1.1L engine made 67 horsepower and 62 lb-ft of torque and was coupled to a 4-speed manual. The 1.9L engine could be ordered with an optional 3-speed automatic transmission if desired. Buyers overwhelmingly chose the larger motor, causing Opel to discontinue the 1.1L engine after 1970.

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1974 Jensen Interceptor III

Walking around the SEMA show last year, I happened upon this cool ride in a parking lot near the convention center. It’s a 1974 Jensen Interceptor III, a rare British car that you don’t often see.

Between 1966 and 1976, just 6,400 of these cars were built  – which is an extremely small number for a production car. I have to wonder how many of them were left-hand drive and how many are in the United States? Probably not very many, which makes this car all the more special.

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1973-1979 Bitter Diplomat CD

At first glance, I thought this car was a Lamborghini Espada, or some kind of Maserati, or perhaps even a DeTomaso? As it turns out, it is actually a very rare and short-lived car called a Bitter Diplomat coupe.

The idea for this luxury gran tourer came from Erich Bitter, a German racing driver turned entrepreneur. He started Bitter Automotive in the early 1970s and set about manufacturing passenger cars.

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1982-1986 Toyota Supra Mark II

The 1980s were a gold rush of Japanese sports cars making their way to the United States. Manufacturers were importing cars such as the 280ZX and 300ZX from Nissan, the RX-7 from Mazda, the Mitsubishi Starion, the Isuzu Impulse, and the Subaru XT. Perhaps one of the most memorable Japanese cars of the decade was the Toyota Supra.

This two-seater sports coupe is pretty much a direct descendant of the Toyota 2000GT I covered recently. It has an inline-6 cylinder engine, rear wheel drive, and a long, sloping front with a hatchback roof. Toyota produced the second generation (or Mark II) from 1982 through 1986. They were badged as “Celica Supra” at the time, becoming just “Supra” in 1986 with the introduction of the Mark III Supra.

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1977 Toyota Corolla SR5 Sport Coupe

If there is one thing I have learned from watching Antiques Roadshow, it is that you should never try to clean any object that might be old and valuable. In doing so, you may destroy much of the item’s value. The same rule applies to antique guns, guitars, and more recently, automobiles.

Not too long ago, people restored old cars to a factory-new finish in order to make them valuable. Now, the emphasis is shifting towards leaving the car “as-is” and showing its age. People really dig the “patina” look but personally, I never really understood why.

Then I saw this ’77 Corolla, and I think I am starting to understand.

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1966 Lotus Cortina MkI

Bentley. Aston Martin. Jaguar. Lotus.

They’re all British car companies, but more importanly, they all have factory-sponsored racing teams. For decades, these companies have battled it out on the racetrack in everything from Formula 1 racing to grand touring to group racing.

What these companies would typically do is take one of their production cars and modify it to compete in a specific class of racing. There is one catch, though. Auto manufacturers are required to build a minimum number of vehicles and sell them to the public in order to classify as a production car. This practice, known as homologation, means that a small number of factory-built race cars will make it out into the real world – completely road legal. This is exactly what happened in the 1960s with the Lotus Cortina.

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