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 Post subject: Scarab Z Cars
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:11 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:35 pm
Posts: 158
Location: West Hartford, CT
Interesting article in WSJ, anyone ever seen one of these upgraded cars ?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-datsun-met-corvette-sparks-flew-11569942100

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 Post subject: Re: Scarab Z Cars
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:26 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 13270
Location: CT
I've seen a few of them (including one abandoned on the roadside in the high desert). The 327 sbc V8 was only 1/2 of the improvement Brian Marrow made to that car. The whole interior was upgraded, as were the suspension, wheels, tires, aerodynamics, insulation, etc. I don't think they ever changed the brakes, with Brian Marrow steadfastly claiming the original 240Z brakes were up to the job of added weight, power and speed. Many disagreed. You could buy a $1,000 engine swap kit and "do it yourself" in the garage, but you didn't get the insulation or other body upgrades, so you didn't rate the Scarab beetle insignia to put on your garage project.

The small block Ford V8 of those years was lighter, smaller (only 22" across) and the front-mounted distributor would have allowed the engine to snug backwards many inches to the firewall. Mounting a lighter, 271bhp engine that far back in the frame would have changed the car's whole character for the better, rather than the heavier lump of the Chevy straddling the front axle. But in those days the Ford's "backwards" oil pan presented too many problems to make it a reasonable consideration for this swap, so they stuck with the Chevy.

Today the Fords can have their oil pickups and pans reversed, or there are dry-sump systems which can be mounted outside the engine, resulting in a flatter oil pan. Either option would allow the smaller lighter Ford to be mounted 6" farther back in the car, giving a better balanced chassis and therefore superior handling. The rearward placement of the small Ford would take the fan too far from the radiator to work, so electric fans would be required for that swap. (Even the conventional Ford V8s of those days already used a significant spacer to extend the fan close enough to the radiator to make it work).

Today you could easily build a 302 Ford to 300-500bhp and take advantage of the lighter weight and rearward placement, giving it an advantage over the Chevy-powered Scarab, but in its day Brian Marrow's creation was the epitome of the street Z driving experience.

Here's an unscientific thumbnail sketch of three brands of V8 for comparison. For something as light as the 240Z S-30 car, I think the lightweight Ford would be outstanding.

https://www.enginelabs.com/news/ford-vs ... per-pound/

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