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Clarence of Bare Speed Brought Spectre Equipped Chevy LS3 Powered 71 240Z to SEMA

Clarence of Bare Speed used a 2008 Chevrolet Corvette based LS3 V8 engine

Clarence of Bare Speed used a 2008 Chevrolet Corvette based LS3 V8 engine for his 1971 Datsun 240Z engine swap

Clarence Chan, who runs Bare Speed in Santa Clara, California, specializes in classic car restoration and race car fabrication. The 1971 Datsun 240Z he brought to the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada blurs the lines between car restoration and race car prep. In 1970 when the Nissan Motor Company introduced the Datsun 240Z the relatively low price, performance, and growing Datsun dealer network helped the “Z” take a chunk of market share away from other foreign sports cars of the time. The Datsun 240Z helped break the era’s stereotype of Japanese imports as simply being econobox cars.

Early Scarab conversions were the inspiration for this 1971 Datsun 240Z

Early Scarab conversions were the inspiration for this 1971 Datsun 240Z on display in the Traklite Wheels booth during the 2014 SEMA show

A stock Series 1 Datsun 240Z was equipped with a 2.4-liter inline six-cylinder engine rated at around 150 horsepower. The engine used an alloy head, overhead camshaft, and had a 7,000 RPM redline. While this makes for a fun to drive car, it wasn’t long before racers and custom car builders figured out how boost power output of a Japanese sports car in true American fashion. As the old saying goes, there’s no replacement for displacement. A now defunct company named Scarab made the first popular V8 conversion kits for the Datsun Z and the term ‘Scarab’ has come to describe later Datsun Z conversions.

Clarence used the early Scarab conversions as inspiration for the 1971 Datsun 240Z on display in the Traklite Wheels booth during the 2014 SEMA show. However, since the days of Scarab’s Datsun Z conversions to a V8 engine, many advances in engine design and tuning have made the engine swap less of a headache. Early Chevy small block engine swaps had interference problems with the distributor located at the back of the engine block. This problem has been overcome with modern coil-near-plug ignition and computer controlled ignition timing that completely replaces the traditional distributor. The additional weight of a V8 engine was always a problem when stuffing a V8 into a Z car. Modern aluminum engine blocks and heads have alleviated this issue, but not completely cured it. Fuel injection and throttle bodies have helped ease hood clearance issues associated with carburetors and air cleaners.

Spectre 4 inch O.D. Y pipe formed the basis of this Chevy LS engine swap intake

Spectre Performance 4 inch O.D. Y pipe 97997 formed the basis of this Chevy LS engine swap cold air intake system

Modern advances in engine technology are exactly why Clarence chose to use a Chevrolet LS3 V8 engine for his Datsun 240Z engine swap. The 6.2L LS3 V8 engine was first used in the base model 2008 Chevy C6 Corvette. The 2008 Chevy Corvette’s 6.2L LS3 V8 was rated at 430 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque from the factory. With the use of a manual throttle body and engine tuning, Clarence has brought the 1971 Datsun Z’s LS3 V8 up over the 500 horsepower mark. However, one obstacle that exists for anyone trying to swap a Chevy LS V8 into a classic car is how to provide the engine with as much clean air as the engine can use.

Spectre Components allowed this LS3 powered 1971 Datsun 240Z to use a custom ram air induction system

Spectre Components allowed this LS3 powered 1971 Datsun 240Z to use a custom ram air induction system without spoiling the original Z car lines

Spectre Performance offers a line of Chevy LS Engine Swap air intake kits and custom air intake components to make engine swap projects a little bit easier. Pre-configured Spectre Performance LS engine swap cold air intake systems are available for popular classic Chevrolet cars and pickup trucks. So for an application like the Bare Speed 1971 Datsun 240Z, a full custom air intake system would need to be designed using Spectre Performance universal air intake parts. Clarence chose to begin his custom LS swap cold air intake system with a Spectre Performance 4 inch O.D. "Y" pipe, number 97997, connected to the throttle body with Spectre flex coupler 9775. Cleverly hidden inside the 6” legs of Y pipe 97997, are two Spectre Performance HPR0100 inline air filters. These filters are designed to fit inside of 4” air intake tubes for ample airflow and engine protection while keeping things looking simple. Due to clearance issues around the radiator Clarence adapted his intake system to 3-1/2” diameter 90-degree tubes, 9599, with the use of Spectre reducer couplers, number 97411. The unused space on each side of the radiator made an excellent place to mount Spectre Performance headlight funnels, number 9789, and Spectre headlight funnel screens, number 97891. With the use of additional Spectre components, such as hose clamps and a mass airflow (MAF) conversion kit 7153, Clarence was able to outfit his LS3 powered 1971 Datsun 240Z with a custom ram air induction system without spoiling the original Z car lines.

Additional aftermarket parts used in the Bare Speed 1971 Datsun 240Z Scarab inspired conversion include shorty headers by Sanderson Headers mated to custom exhaust from Magnaflow. The Datsun’s suspension was beefed up with custom QA1 coilover shocks, and Energy Suspension bushings. A fifth gen 2013 Chevy Camaro rearend equipped with an Auburn Gear limited slip differential plants the 6.2L LS3 V8 engine’s massive horsepower and torque to the pavement. The Bare Speed 1971 Datsun 240Z rolls on Traklite Wheels wrapped in Toyo Tires. Inside, Recaro Seats replace the worn out stockers and interior components come from Black Dragon Automotive.

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