jonpost

10

Dream Roadster

I’ve always craved an English roadster since I was little. My dad restored his 1963 MGB multiple times, and his stories seem like a parallel with the modifications and maintenance I’m doing with my vintage cars.

The best of both worlds would literally be a Datsun Roadster 2000, inspired by English roadsters and with the Japanese technology and quality holding it together. Although I prefer the original U20 engine with dual SU carbs, I can’t deny having that SR20 swap would put a fat grin on my face everyday.

- Jon Tong

Photos from Speedhunters

7

Warning to VW Engineering (Air Cooled)

To this day I am simply amazed at how many people I hear saying how remarkably simple and easy a Volkswagen is to work on. I don’t want to say it’s not true, but I have suspicions. Give me the courtesy to let me explain because I have worked on a few beetles repeatedly.

I absolutely love the concept of the beetle and its uniquely German engine. This being said I absolutely hate the learning curve and specialty tools that come along with these geniuses’ so-called perfectionist designs. Let’s get something straight, at one time having an air cooled car was an advantage as radiators were inefficient and unreliable. Those days are long gone and if you insist on going air cooled, welcome to some of its peculiarities.

There are huge gains to this being the core of the design while also having some trade offs. A conventional American V8 weighs about what, 500 lbs? Well this flat four at 1600cc weighs about 250 lbs. No engine lifts are needed. Take out four bolts, lift the car, and BAM your engine is sitting right in front of you. It’s extremely easy for reinstallation and can usually be carried by 2 people. Though, let’s just say it wasn’t all that uncommon for your VW boxer to be stolen in some third world countries.

Being air cooled requires less plumbing and less hardware. Clean and simple is always a good recipe for engine designs. That just means there are less parts to go wrong. Some even consider the engine to not even have a true head and block design. It’s really just a crankcase with the four cylinders sticking out of its finned sides. 

Engine placement is also key, and most know that true beetles had their engines in the rear like Porsches and Corvairs. I’m looking at you “New Beetle”! Having the engine in the rear can provide better grip for the rear tires and oversteer while cornering, but it can also be tricky at the limit as all 911 owners are well aware of. Its rear position eliminates the need for a separate transmission, driveshaft, and differential package. Whether you get a swing axle or IRS, we instead get a transaxle that further saves weight and complexity.

The bug is very light rounding out about 1700 lbs, but their are limits to its air cooled efficiency. They’re not very powerful engines and some say the smaller single port variety are torquier than its bigger bore brethren. It can be a nimble cruiser or a shredding go kart depending on your build.

The exhaust and “dirty air” heater system are extremely simple to install, and I have no complaints about them. The majority of the engine is nicely bare when kept stock but a nightmare to work on when stuffed with modifications. Look at the pictures of the single carburetor engine versus the dual carburetor engine bay. It’s tricky just to reach the rear spark plugs with the single carburetor. Good luck getting to them when you convert to a dual carburetor setup!

I could keep going for hours, but I think you get the picture. There are huge advantages while also tackling trade offs. Is it worth all the trouble, yes and no. You should realize before getting into building one that every aftermarket part that you could possibly think of is available but at a price. I’m talking financially but also motivationally. Only you know if you have the patience for all its peculiarities because afterall, it always was and always will be a niche vehicle. Ultimately it’s a love/ hate relationship with VWs and me, but I promise not to give up.

- Jon Tong

P.S. I have a recent Volkswagen alternator conversion to bitch about too!

10

Shokuji J-Tin Presented by Historic J-  4/20/13 Pt. 1

I’m telling you I’ve been behind on the photo uploads. This JDM show put on by Historic J was the first car event that really made me appreciate the Japanese Nostalgic Car scene of NorCal. I’m glad to have been there, and thanks also to the San Leandro Marina.

- Jon Tong

5

300ZX Simplicity

People can argue all day that all those minute unique touches that go into building something a certain way actually means something. I’m one of those people.

Then again, you get someone who just fucking nails it with nothing but a jet black paint job, beast rims, and a subtle drop. Basic my ass. More like basically badass. Props to whoever’s ZX this is, and please enlighten us to more of your creations.

- Jon Tong

Aftermarket Advertisement from Japan - Pt. 1

I forgot where I got these ads from, but check out how the Japanese car culture was customizing their mini trucks back in the day. Recipe for a vintage JDM pickup = dual Weber sidedrafts, lowering kit, alloy wheels, and fender mirrors.

- Jon Tong

JDM Legends Archive

I’m probably going to be posting in the near future some pictures of what this shop is known for, meticulous craftsmanship with out Japanese favorites. I can’t help but talk about the labor intensive work these guys do, and I was able to get some pictures from their recent Toyota Celica build. For now though, let’s just admire these past creations for a few minutes.

- Jon Tong

Don’t Care About the Weather

This picture is just sick. Right on whoever you are for still driving your vintage mobile in the all weather conditions. Some here in the South Bay of California have been moping about the recent rainstorms (which honestly haven’t even been that bad). I was out driving my 240z too until the wiper motor gave out on me. Now I’ll just cheer on all the other antique metal braving the elements.

- Jon Tong

8

Shokuji J-Tin Presented by Historic J-  4/20/13 Pt. 5

I’m telling you I’ve been behind on the photo uploads. This JDM show put on by Historic J was the first car event that really made me appreciate the Japanese Nostalgic Car scene of NorCal. I’m glad to have been there, and thanks also to the San Leandro Marina.

- Jon Tong

9

Shokuji J-Tin Presented by Historic J-  4/20/13 Pt. 6

I’m telling you I’ve been behind on the photo uploads. This JDM show put on by Historic J was the first car event that really made me appreciate the Japanese Nostalgic Car scene of NorCal. I’m glad to have been there, and thanks also to the San Leandro Marina.

(This last part is more about my personal experience at Shokuji J-Tin like having met Mary, checking out some old favorites, and also having my own 240z in the show.)

- Jon Tong

9

Faces Do Matter

Some say that the face is all that matters. I can’t stop thinking about that famous phrase whenever I stare at an Alpine. Whether you think its front is too cluttered or uniquely perfect, it most definitely has an interesting face to say the least.

The Delorean wasn’t the only Renault powered sports car with the engine stuffed in a not so conventional place. This alpine is rear engine’d, and besides you gotta love that shade of teal.

- Jon Tong

P.S. Photos from Petrolicious

Stance Ads

The guys over at Stance Works had this awesome idea of taking vintage advertisements with old cars and morphing them with today’s “stance” style. I will probably post a few others, but this drop dead alfa had to be the first. No words are even necessary for the ad. Just the color. The drop. And those wheels…

- Jon Tong

8

Photo Shoot with IT Photography pt. 1

People must be excited for the summer! I have especially noticed my fellow car people posting tons of car content recently and feel left behind. My summer barely started last week! Well these pics from a little shoot a good buddy of mine took of my 240z should keep my spirits up even if they are at least a year old.

- Jon Tong

(Send me a message if you would like to coordinate a photo shoot with my photographer bud in the Bay Area.)

youtube

DOHC Screaming

The people over at japanesenostalgiccar.com certainly have an eye for youtube videos and their coverage of a Datsun 240z with an extremely rare and expensive DOHC swap for an l28 block is no exception.

- Jon Tong

3

“Mickey Mouse” Chrome

So my dad thinks these little chrome accents look pretty “Mickey Mouse”. That is to say that they are cheap add-ons that don’t matter. I guess he’s too good for chrome eyebrows, door sills, or license plate frames. He and I tend to agree on a lot of things mechanically, but visually and stylistically we definitely don’t see eye to eye. I’ll admit the eyebrows make this Beetle’s face look a bit high, but come one it definitely adds a little style to an otherwise plain bug.

- Jon Tong