Off the beaten track…

Normal is boring, going against the grain in motorsport has produced some of the best stories, builds, and memories. I am lucky enough to come across some out of the box stuff and Andrew Stewart’s Datsun 1200 ticks that box and so many more.

At first glance what you see is a super clean, classic Datsun 1200 which is all totally true, but this one has a certain…smell…about it. It also has a certain…noise…

It goes like stink, smells great, looks amazing and that is all thanks to an out of the box setup unlike anything else on NZ circuits. This Datsun has ditched the traditional powerplant in favour of a 4-cylinder 2900cc Gaerte speedway midget engine.

Simon Barry who owned the Datsun prior to Andrew came up with the idea and together they have made it a reality. The 4-cylinder is good for 285 poines at the rear wheels on a safe tune, making this little car seriously quick.

Despite having plenty of spare real estate up front, the engine looks very much at home and certainly not out of place.

Looking under the rear end you will spot a Winters Quick Change encased by a semi-tube frame. The belly of the car channels the airflow along to the rear diffuser that grabs your attention instantly. This Datsun has everyone taking a second glance in the pits.

The week prior to snapping photos I spotted it in a pure black on white guise and it looked stunning. Andrew mentioned that the car was going in for sign writing so as soon as that was completed we would deal to the photos.

With such a good-looking base when the car showed up I was super happy to see the minimalist, classic choice of livery. A great throw-back to the BRE team cars was very fitting for this 1200.

With the exterior being nothing short of immaculate, indoors in the office, Andrew has kept the same trend. Functional, and well setup is the order with a couple of creature comforts to help out on the track too.

While sitting in the drivers seat chasing a snap of the display we decided to crank the car over, with a steady foot to hold idle required, I snapped away. The angry rattle at 1500rpm, while the unmistakable aroma filled the cabin, it had all the hallmarks of a perfect night out. Cameras and racecars = a winning combination!

The stunning good looks, the smell, the noise makes this car a winning combination right out of the gate. I do have to constantly remind myself how lucky I am to come across this kind of stuff, and New Zealand is a hotbed of engineering talent producing amazing machinery.

With the weather warming up down here in NZ, everyone is starting to sort their cars out in anticipation of race season. It is exciting to have cars such as this joining the ranks, and no doubt there will be more of this little car to come.

For those who want to know more about the nitty gritty, then head over to Magstore for all the specs, and tech on how this Datsun came to be.
NZPC Issue 271 clicky clicky

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