IAN LATTA 1953 MORRIS VAN
Type: Mazda 13B-REW Inlet: Stock Turbo: Garrett GTX35 ECU: Microtech LT-10 Radiator: Koyorad aluminium
Box: Mazda five-speed Diff: Hilux, 4.5:1 gears
Front end: Stock Shocks: Monroe Brakes: Vented discs (f), drums (r)
Rims: 14in steelies Rubber: 175/75/14 (f), 245/50/14 (r)
IT’S LIKE HAVING A COMMODORE OR FALCON WITH 700HP AT THE TYRES, BUT IN SOMETHING WITH A MUCH SHORTER WHEELBASE AND THE AERODYNAMICS OF A WHEELIE BIN
Garrett GTX35 got the nod instead. The engine is running 850cc primary injectors and 1200cc secondaries, and it’s all controlled by a Microtech LT-10 ECU. By today’s standards, it’s a pretty mild build for a turbo rotary, but you have to remember how little it has to push along.
Ian’s planning on taking it to the track soon, so while he doesn’t have any timeslips yet, you’d have to think it would be good for a mid-12, maybe even an 11-second quarter – if he can get it to hook up and get through the gears happily. One change Ian has made since we last saw him is a new set of brakes: “It had disc brakes before, but they were off a Morris Marina, so I got a set of big vented discs out of the UK. It was meant to be a bolt-on fit, but you know how that goes.”
There are also a few custom touches on the body; some subtle, and some not so subtle. Flares have been added to the front and rear guards to allow the fitment of widened 14-inch steel rims, which wear 245/50 Bridgestone Eagers on the rear. That might not sound too fat by modern standards, but it’s about twice as wide as what was on there originally. There’s also a flip-front utilising the original sheet metal, moulded into a one-piece unit. As that would mean everything was on show once the front was flipped, the underside has been finished off as nicely as the topside. Inside is a mix of old and new, with RX-7 seats and an XU-1 dash to keep an eye on things.
Most of the work on the car was completed in Ian’s shed over a period of about seven years, and the hard effort has paid off with several trophies, including Top Wagon/ Van at the WA Hot Rod & Street Machine Spectacular. With its short wheelbase and peaky power, as the plates say, it’s just a fun way to get from A to B.
LEFT: RX-7 seats add a bit of modern comfort and there’s a Torana XU-1 dash keeping an eye on the vitals