|PDM RACING 510
Our Feature this month is the personal racecar
of Don Nimi. It's a full tube frame GT4 Nissan 510 built by Andy Pearson
of Specialty Engineering (New Westminster, B.C., Canada 604-521-9232) in
1989/1990 for the original owner, Brian Richards.
Life for the ground-up race car began with
a metal tube-frame chassis built to fit under a Datsun 510 body shell. This
new chassis replaces the unibody on which the 510 rode out of the factory.
The new frame adds stiffness over the original as well as providing a much
needed safety cage to protect the driver. All that remains of the original
510 are the roof, windshield and pillars. Remaining parts were crafted by
Specialty to comply with SCCA GT rules. As you can tell from the photos,
this is a serious race car, designed and built from scratch.
Now that the frame is set, construction
of the exterior body can begin. The process will result in a custom built
race-only vehicle, that is still recognizeable as a Datsun 510. This is
where Andy's high committment to quality shows. The exterior panels are
mocked up to mimic the factory lines of the original Datsun 510, however
the panels must also fit over the much wider-than-stock track of the racing
chassis. After the car is sculpted with wood, fiberglass, and body filler,
molds are taken from these mocked-up panels. From these molds, new lightweight
finished body panels are then hand laid up in fiberglass; These are the pieces
used on the finished car.
These are not the actual panels. These
are the plugs. Fiberglass is laid over the plugs to make a mold and finally
the panel is made from the mold. This procedure was repeated for every single
body piece on the car, except the roof. In total, there are 10 different
fiberglass panels that "pop" off the finished car.
Attention to detail? The frame of this
car has a deeper finish than the exteriors of most cars. Here Brian Berg
and Collin Jackson attach the inner panels of the car, also finished in the
You can't stop a racecar with any old brakes.
Here Andy taps the dust covers onto the massive custom rotors. Note the wrapping
on the frame tubes to prevent them from getting scratched. These rotors are
obviously a custom application, about twice as wide as the stock vented rotors
of some cars. In the final setup they will be clamped by an equally impressive
pair of four piston calipers.
Here are the start and end points of this
car's power. The first motor installed under the hood of the new racer was
this dry-sumped SOHC L18 (1.8 Litre) motor. The power was transferred through
the transmission, driveshaft and rear end to these hubs. The rear suspension
is modified from the 510's stock semi-trailing arm setup.
Now that the car's built, let's see what it can do Outside of the