FOUR MOST

WITH 800HP ON TAP, THIS DAT­SUN 1600 IS ONE POCKET-ROCKET NOT TO BE MESSED WITH

Street Machine - - Contents -

Aaron Fitz­patrick is back with another mind-blow­ing Dat­sun 1600

AARON Fitz­patrick’s lat­est Dat­sun 1600 was sup­posed to be a quick fixer-up­per while his gi­ant-slay­ing Street Ma­chine Sum­mer­nats Grand Cham­pion-win­ning or­ange 1600 was with Trevor Davis for six months get­ting painted. But that’s not quite how things turned out. When Aaron picked up this two-owner GL, the orig­i­nal in­ten­tion was to give it a quick makeover. “It had been stripped, panel-beated, painted in HOK Pas­sion Pur­ple and rolling on FR17S,” he says. “Most of the in­te­rior was there; all it needed was an en­gine and gear­box and it would have been done. Ex­cept the or­ange car came back from Trev’s and I’d spent all my money – so it was pushed into the cor­ner.”

Over the next nine years there was only mod­est progress on the car as mar­riage, chil­dren, an HK Kingswood ute and a turbo VP Club­sport took prece­dence. Then a mini­dis­as­ter struck when Aaron’s brother Daniel dropped his mo­tor­bike onto one of the quar­ters. But in true Fitz­patrick style, in­stead of just fix­ing the small dent, Aaron de­cided to com­pletely redo the en­tire car. Af­ter all, hav­ing al­ready built one Dat­sun 1600 into a su­per-elite show-stop­per, a racein­spired streeter should be a walk in the park.

A change of colour was a given, as Aaron didn’t see the point in hav­ing two brightly coloured Dat­tos. Troy and Clay­ton Hil­lier were keen to paint the car, so Aaron dragged it 12 hours up to the Hil­liers’ Ten­ter­field shop. “Troy and Clay­ton are leg­ends,” he says. “Steve Pol­glase and the Hil­liers fine-tuned the body and did a great job on the paint.”

The colour is Aaron’s own HOK cus­tom mix, which his dad Peter has dubbed Clover Plum.

What made things re­ally snow­ball with this build was the de­ci­sion to tub the rear end. They didn’t muck about, stretch­ing the arches wide enough to swal­low 275mm of sticky Mickey Ts. “It’s tubbed very sim­i­lar to the or­ange car,” Aaron says. “I smile ev­ery time I park the two tubbed Dat­tos to­gether.”

Big rub­ber needs big power. The orig­i­nal L1600, and then an SR20 im­plant, were both scrapped in favour of an in­sane Nis­san FJ20 four-cylin­der out an R31 Sky­line. “I’d been talk­ing to Paul at Proflo Per­for­mance about this en­gine for about five years,” Aaron says.

In Paul’s words: “It’s sim­i­lar to [Paul Hunter’s] MR TRX en­gine, which made some­thing like 650rwhp at Horse­power He­roes. This one is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, as you al­ways use the things you learn in your last build. Its Borgwarner S366 turbo is larger, and it’s dry-sumped. It should be good for 750 to 800hp at the crank.”

For its size, the FJ is quite heavy; in fact it’s heav­ier than an LS1. But its iron block is near-bul­let­proof. Squeez­ing the FJ20 into the 1600’s en­gine bay called for a cus­tom CPC bil­let in­take and 90mm throt­tle­body. While smooth­ing out

IN TRUE FITZ­PATRICK STYLE, IN­STEAD OF JUST FIX­ING A SMALL DENT, AARON DE­CIDED TO COM­PLETELY REDO THE EN­TIRE CAR

THERE’S NOTH­ING LIKE A DEAD­LINE TO FIRE THE BELLY AND SMASH IT OUT. WE DID A TON OF WORK TO MAKE MO­TOREX 2016

the bay, Aaron pushed the fire­wall back, mod­i­fied the strut tow­ers and grafted in a new tun­nel for gear­box and sump clear­ance.

“The en­gine bay is ac­tu­ally bet­ter than the or­ange car,” Aaron says. “There’s months of work in there. We were also never go­ing to paint the un­der­side. But we did.”

Man­ag­ing all that grunt and en­abling the lit­tle Datto to run stout num­bers is a Jatco three-speed auto by Keas Automatics – along with one of the com­pany’s sev­eninch bil­let-base con­vert­ers. The ’box is the same as a VL, mi­nus the over­drive. Fur­ther rear­ward is a dra­mat­i­cally short­ened 31-spline Borgwarner diff spin­ning 3.9:1 gears, True­trac cen­tre and 31-spline axles.

With cre­den­tials like this, the chrome-moly ’cage (with bolt-in in­tru­sion bars) and ’chute are not just for good looks. At the track, the num­ber plate folds down and the ’chute slots straight in.

Every­thing in the race-in­spired in­te­rior is cus­tom – noth­ing from the orig­i­nal build sur­vived. The bil­let mount for the Mi­crotech dash is one of the many trick pieces Aaron whit­tled up him­self. He also fash­ioned the steel dash, rear seat, flat floors and cen­tre con­sole. Aaron and Shaun at Trims By Shaun thought a hexag­o­nal stitch pat­tern for the trim would be a neat idea, so a Per­spex tem­plate was cut for mark­ing chalk lines on the cloth, which Shaun fol­lowed with the sew­ing ma­chine – free-

hand! It was a night­mare, ap­par­ently; Shaun hopes never to have to do it again.

By late-2015, Aaron was get­ting over push­ing the car around on dol­lies. It was time to fin­ish the thing. “Dad, Dan and I got to­gether and set our sights on Mo­torex 2016. There’s noth­ing like a dead­line to fire the belly and smash it out. We did a ton of work to make Mo­torex, in­clud­ing loads of fab work and count­less CNC bits. Dad spent weeks mak­ing all the Mo­tor­sport Con­nec­tions dash lines, while Mark Sant from On­trak did the wiring. We worked on it most nights and week­ends and were still fin­ish­ing it the night be­fore head­ing to Mel­bourne.”

The whole Fitz­patrick clan looked very re­lieved Satur­day morn­ing at Mo­torex when the Ly­cr­a­clad ladies slid back the silk cover on the car to rous­ing ap­plause.

The goal for the project was to build a tough street car ca­pa­ble of run­ning very re­spectable times. With a cou­ple of dozen kilo­me­tres on the odome­ter, that’s one box ticked, and Aaron is look­ing to cross off the other in the next few months – watch this space!

WHAT MADE THINGS RE­ALLY SNOW­BALL WAS THE DE­CI­SION TO TUB THE REAR END, STRETCH­ING THE ARCHES WIDE ENOUGH TO SWAL­LOW 275MM REAR RUB­BER

Typ­i­cally a 7200rpm con­verter would be way too big for the street, but with the FJ’S us­able power up to 9500rpm, mod­ern con­verter tech­nol­ogy and the way stall mul­ti­plies with boost pres­sure, it all works. “You know it’s got a con­verter, but it’s not ridicu­lous,” Aaron says, “I can just put­ter around”

Although the cus­tom Clover Plum the car now wears looks kinda brown, Aaron’s Dat­sun 1600 GL is known as the ‘pur­ple car’ within the Fitz­patrick clan, as it had been painted HOK Pas­sion Pur­ple for nine years

Gro­cery shop­ping is out of the ques­tion. Flank­ing the fuel cell is the dry-sump tank and the surge tank for the EFI sys­tem

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.