Interesting Part: Turbo Tom

I’m on my morning Datsun CL search routine. and come across something very interesting: a Turbo Tom.


The Turbo Tom was an aftermarket turbo setup in the 70’s for the early Datsun L-series engines (think, a turbo before the 280zx). It was developed by SCCA racer Tom Wyatt III, which in his own right has a pretty inspiring Datsun racing story of his own. Supposedly as he raced his turbo’d L20b Datsun 510, they had to continue to move Wyatt up in class. He was blowing doors off each class all the way up to the Corvette and Cobras.. the big boys. And even then, he beat Porsches and Cobras by seconds*.

From what i gathered, the Turbo Tom was a BYOT (bring your own turbo) setup, coming with intake and exhaust manifolds, and featured a mount for a sweet 4 bbl carb.



240Z car straight 6 with a Turbo Tom

Like any other aftermarket product, it’s subject to nay-sayers and the Turbo Tom is certainly no exception (one forum member harked it should stay dead). But also with pieces this interesting, there are those who create builds specifically around this turbo setup ( forum). Personally, I like the setup – it’s unique, it’ll no doubt give that L-series some more get-up-n-go, and it’ll be sure to generate talk with who ever sees it.

Worth $700? eeehhh sounds like a stretch, but I suppose for the right enthusiast, it’ll be turbo-riffic.

Original posting:


Datsun – still in the media…

Datsun is still among us – sometime you just have to look hard enough..

Maybe it’s parked under a tree, or the blur that just caught the corner of your eye… or maybe in the recent Car & Driver (Sept 2013)!

In a new Juke Nismo ad (Thrill-seekers, seek no more), there it is: an S30 Datsun Z!

Daily Datsun - Nismo Juke Ad Daily Datsun - Nismo Juke Ad 2

Look closely as this isn’t your normal Z – yep, it’s the East African Safari #11 Rally car! This car was the first Z to win an International Victory in a Pro Rally*. A Z in a rally race?.. in that terrain? haha the drive would be a hoot! :]

4-speed or 5?

Ah yes! we’re talking transmissions today.

The Datsun 280z came with two manual transmission options in it’s lifetime: the 4-speed and the 5-speed (for which the car is also badged noting the upgrade). And after driving the 4-geared ’77 280z for nearly two years, I’m kinda at that point: I want more gears! :]

But wanting is often different from needing, and we just need to build a case to bridge the two. Call it, justification through research – let’s do it.

Here are the gear ratios for Datsun / Nissan transmissions at the time*:

’74-’78 280z 4-speed:
1st…. 3.321
2nd… 2.077
3rd…. 1.308
4th…. 1.000

’77-’78 280z and first year ’79 280zx 5 speed:
1st…. 3.321
2nd… 2.077
3rd…. 1.308
4th…. 1.000
5th…. 0.864 (13.6%)

’80 280zx 5 speed:
1st…. 3.062
2nd… 1.858
3rd…. 1.308
4th…. 1.000
5th…. 0.773 (22.7%)

’81-’83 280zx non turbo 5 speed:
1st…. 3.062
2nd… 1.858
3rd…. 1.308
4th…. 1.000
5th…. 0.745 (25.5%)

As you can see the ratio drastically changes in the ’80 280zx 5-speed when going from 1st to 2nd. Additionally, the ratio of the 5th gear gradually moves further from 4th’s 1.0 ratio as the years go on (differences noted by percentage changes).

With regards to the first difference mentioned, the change to 2nd gear really depends on driving style and fuel economy needs. A taller ratio in 2nd (closer to 1.000), will require more power, higher RPM, and thus more fuel. Gears 3 and 4 are ok because we’ll be moving quite a bit at those gears, but 2nd is tricky. Spend more time in first, or bang through gears?

For me, I actually spend a lot of time in 2nd. I usually take back roads for my commute, and time out traffic lights so i’m rolling into the green. So it’s natural to use 2nd to get the rolling 280z moving again (deeper than that, I’m terribly used to 2nd because i swear we used to have to start my brother’s 510 in 2nd gear – 1st was kind of wonky…though he says it was never that way hahaha).

So just by looking at the gearing, we can see with the early Datsun 5-speeds we’ll get better proportioned low-end, but not as tall on the top-end. Now that we’ve decided on a 5-speed…what are our 6-speed options? :]

Data specs from Ratsun post, DatzenMike, 09 July 2012.

Washer fluid bottle: revisited

Well what do you know!
Guess what showed up at my door the other day? The windshield washer fluid bottle bracket!


After emailing the seller a while back, he was nice enough to send me the missing part! Too bad though, I had already made my own washer fluid bottle bracket…I guess ill replace it someday.

Actually, come to think about it (as I’m writing this)… I don’t think this piece will work haha