The Rat

By Leigh Brooks | A '68 Datsun Roadster gets back on the road

Strays

A couple of stray cars<p>On my morning walks, I often passed by a pair of ’68 1600’s in InterBay on the way to the Ballard Locks. They were stored in a …

Victim

Victim of a swap?<p>There was no engine and from the looks of things someone had attempted a swap. Dual coils make me think a rotary was tried. Note the …

Ratty

Ratty<p>The interior of the first car was in rough shape, but more or less complete. It still had the ignition key (no door or trunk keys, however).<p>The …

Curb

Kicked out to the curb<p>All-in-all the first car was in fairly good shape. Originally a 665 Yellow car, it has been repainted a generic red.<p>No major …

The Donor

The Donor<p>The second car (SPL311-177226) was also a ’68 1600 and this one featured an engine!<p>Rust had really taken hold on this car. The hood and …

The Donor’s engine

The Donor’s Engine<p>The donor came with an earlier 3-main bearing R-16 (R 27460).<p>The motor turns over easily by hand. “Ran when parked,” according to …

A new home

A new home<p>Thanks to NWDE I tracked down a guy with a big truck and a trailer with a winch to drag the cars home. They were an immediate hit with my …

Under the hood

Under the hood<p>With the radiator removed you can see a fairly complete motor. Whoever put this engine in the ’68 combined early and later parts. The …

Shag-a-delic

Shag-a-delic!<p>The interior of the donor was a throw-back to the 70’s. Early 240z seats surrounded by a sea of black and red tiger-striped shag …

Nagging question

A nagging question<p>With the help of a few friends I got the car up the sloped driveway and into the garage to start the strip-down in earnest.<p>Hardtop …

Tear down

Let the tear down begin!<p>The duct tape speaker wiring job contrasts nicely with the shag.<p>I had to cut the mounting bolts to remove the seats. They …

Carnage

Ah, the carnage<p>Windshield came out easily with a little help. Made it very easy to remove the dash.<p>I’m thinking of using this steering wheel for the …

Plucked

Engine plucked<p>The engine came out easily with the radiator, grille and hood removed.<p>You can see that this car was originally 664 Spanish Red. A …

Tasty lump

Tasty lump<p>One of the exhaust manifold studs broke off flush with the head. Against my better judgement, a friend persuaded me to try Easy-Outs. Of …

Next victim

Next victim<p>The donor was rolled back outside and covered with a tarp.<p>Next under the knife - the rat. The idea is to leave the outside alone and just …

Gutted

Gutted<p>Everything came out easily – I’m getting pretty good at this!<p>A few surprises - rust holes in the floor of the foot wells on both sides right …

Eastwooded

Eastwooded<p>Note to self: next time use the Eastwood Rust Convertor that comes in the spray can. Brushing this stuff on took weeks!

Insulated

Insulated<p>Another note to self: next time use thinner insulation.<p>I tried some aluminum-backed insulation from Home Depot. It went in nicely, but …

Vinyl

Mmmmm, vinyl<p>A black interior vinyl kit from Stan made it begin to look like a car again!<p>I had to trim the padding using the original jute as a …

Carpet

Ooooh, carpet<p>On a whim I decided to go with a red carpet kit. It is actually a little more maroon than it appears in the picture, but it looks pretty …

Snow

Gratuitous snow shot<p>While the work continued in the garage, this is what it was like outside!<p>I’m originally from southern New Mexico, and lived for …

Might as well

Might as well<p>With part of the interior dealt with, it was time to get the car ready for the engine.<p>The more I looked at the various colors under the …

More Eastwood

More Eastwood<p>This time I used the rust convertor in a spray can. Much easier!<p>It takes a while to mask everything off, but the paint goes on in 30 …

Rattle-canned

Rattle-canned<p>Three coats of rattle-can red were sprayed on the body after a long time spent masking. The color is not an exact match. Next time I’ll …

Pipes, hoses and cables

Pipes, hoses and cables<p>Here’s a few tips for replacing all the spaghetti:<p>1. Take lots of pictures when you take things apart. You’ll need them to …

Center console

Center console<p>Combining bits and pieces from the two cars, I was able to cobble together a center console. A bit of SEM Landau Black vinyl dye and …

Radio wiring

Radio wiring<p>This is an early 80’s Datsun Hitachi A-1551. I’m desperately trying to figure out the hook-ups!<p>The 2 leads on the right on the top row …

Smiling

Smiling<p>The rat seems happy to have her R-16 back in place! I’ve pulled and placed this motor about 4 times now. Each time it gets easier.<p>Next the …

Wiring

Fun with wiring<p>Work on the Rat has been slow this summer - it’s been too nice to spend time in the garage. A top-down drive in the Miata is much …