SIDE PRO­JECT

NZ Performance Car - - Babe -

Back in Is­sue No. 242, we ran James Horner’s once derelict rolling-body 1969 Crown MS51 coupe that was deep in the build, hav­ing a fully mod­i­fied chas­sis whipped up and a 2JZ-GTE prepped to be dropped in. And, while that main pro­ject — one that would bank­rupt most peo­ple as it is — is still un­der­way, James has man­aged to find a few more pen­nies in the bot­tom of his piggy bank to start an­other pro­ject on the side — a KE26 wagon.

He tells us that it wasn’t some­thing that he had in­tended to do, but, when you’re of­fered up a proper bar­gain, it’s hard to say no: “It was a good buy: rego on hold with heaps of new-old-stock parts. It even came with five mo­tors!” ex­claims James. “It has heaps of rust, which was no sur­prise with these things, so that has been the main thing to sort out.”

With the rust work be­ing fixed, James turned his at­ten­tion to fit­ting up some form of run­ning gear. A 12A ex­tended-port was pieced to­gether us­ing the best parts that came with the shell. The old mounts were chopped off and a fresh set fab­ri­cated to suit the new heart, while, be­hind it, the fire­wall was chopped to ac­cept an RX-7 five-speed box.

But he tells us that it won’t be see­ing any skids for a while, be­cause, though it will have the huss to throw down, the stan­dard pen­cil diff will re­main for now, which means in­stant death as soon as the clutch is dropped. In terms of fin­ish­ing touches, it’ll be the clas­sic Christchurch ro­tary licked in spray-can camo, with chrome ‘Ro­ta­havik’ door de­cals — the re­sults of a de­ci­sion made to “bring back the OG style”. Low­er­ing springs up front, blocks down back, and fac­tory steel­ies with hub­caps will keep it all hum­ble.

It’s des­tined to al­ways be a quick slap-to­gether that doesn’t di­vert away too much of the Crown’s build funds and can be hacked about at the up­com­ing V 4&Ro­tary South Is­land Champs.

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