If you are involved with Datsun roadsters long enough you will eventually come across a car that has a set of pristine gauges.
These are more than likely not OEM gauges but a set of restored gauges from Jon Frampton and his company, Global Tech Instruments.
Jon loves Datsun roadsters. A few years ago he took his ’67.5 1600 to Kevin Desirello, at Kevin’s Roadster Designs, for a transmission swap. While the car was there it turned in to the biggest ‘while we are here’ project I have ever seen. There isn’t a part of this car that wasn’t replaced or restored to better than new.
The car started out life as a basic ’67.5 1600 but over time it has become one of the finest roadsters I have ever seen. Kevin transplanted an SR20VET from a Nissan S15 into the car. The engine has a Garret GTX2867R turbo with external waste gate, a Neo variable valve head, CP pistons, Manley rods and a K1 Technologies crankshaft. The exhaust is a totally custom, one-off, three inch, mandrel-bent setup made from fully polished stainless steel.
This is backed up by a six-speed transmission and a modified Mazda limited slip rear end with rear disc brakes.
At the time of this article, a dyno run had not been completed but the estimates are that the car will have between 450 and 500hp at the rear wheels!
The front brakes were converted to the 300ZX disc setup using the Spriso Motorsports conversion kit, while the suspension is a Nissan competition setup. The wheels are VTO Classic 8 measuring 16×7.
The body was stripped to bare metal and made perfectly straight prior to have its new Datsun 531 silver beige metallic paint. The frame was blasted and completely restored prior to being reacquainted with the newly panted body.
The interior was done by the famed shop of Bill Dunn, who does interiors for a popular automotive television show here in the US, and of course the gauges were done by the owner Jon Frampton.
This incredible car made its first public appearance at the 2015 Solvang Datsun Roadster Classic.
It was the star of the show and ended up winning the Best of Show category. I don’t think another car at the show had more photographs take of it than this exquisite car.
I was fortunate enough to see this car a second time this year at the 2015 SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kevin’s shop and the car were entered in the Battle of the Builders competition. This is reserved for the top cars at the show and include builders such as Chip Foose and the Ring Brothers.
The car made it into the top 25 but was not chosen for the top 10. Just making it into the top 25 is a real accomplishment, since the vast majority of the cars are American muscle. Kevin and Jon did the roadster community proud at this event and the car was a star at the show. I could barely get a few pictures of the car, as it was constantly surrounded by admirers.
I am certain that Jon’s car is one of the reasons we have seen a recent increase in interest and price for these incredible cars, as none other has had such a stage to shine on as his has. I want to thank Jon and Ted Heaton for their pictures of the car, of which some were used in this story.
WORDS: BRIAN ZANA