Readying A Datsun 240Z For The 2015 Historique Monte Carlo Rally

This week I got an update from David Ring regarding their preparations for the 2015 Historique Monte Carlo Rallye.   He and his navigator, Peter Moss, will be crewing a 1972 Datsun 240Z in this rally.  David has competed in this rally with the Datsun 240Z before as shown in the image below.

David Ring Datsun 240Z Monte

David Ring In His Datsun 240Z In A Previous Monte Carlo Historique Rally

The Datsun 240Z is a great car.  The book, “Rally Manual 3”, by Mike Greasley written in the early 1970s,  had an interesting description of the Datsun 240Z that I have included below.

Datsun 240Z Rally Car

Datsun 240Z Description From Rally Manual 3

David wrote the following about the Datsun 240Z:

“The Datsun is a great basis for a rally car; it is robust and has good performance. As with any competition car the old adage of ‘an event is won on the stages but lost in the workshop’ remains true and with that in mind RPS have undertaken extensive preparation work to ensure that the car is as ready as it can be. To comply with FIA regulations the car is basically as it was in 1972 but with improvements where permitted by regulations. The car has a roll cage for safety and rebuilt brakes,engine and gearbox. We do not use a LSD as the ones we have tried have not suited the car and we have sacrificed traction for general ‘drivability’. Indeed ‘drivability’ is the watchword for the car’s preparation; classic rally events can be very long with it being common to drive the car pretty non stop for 24hours. In these circumstances the last thing most drivers want is a highly strung or skittish machine. The Datsun has good performance but also a relaxed long-legged gait that makes covering the ground (relatively!) easy. It is, of course, a 43-year-old car so refinement and comfort are not comparable to a modern car. We have comfortable Recaro seats and 4 point harnesses fitted for safety. The car also has a sump and fuel tank guard as well as many small items that RPS have learnt over many years that can make the difference between finishing and cursing at the road side! It’s often the way parts are fitted that makes all go well.”

The following are some images that I have of a standard Datsun 240Z, although the car shown below does have aftermarket magnesium wheels.  These are very nice cars that made quite an impression when they were first introduced.

Datsun 240Z (2)

The Datsun 240Z Is An Impressive Car

“Our objective as a team in the car and also in preparation is to minimise the ‘work load’ and stress during the event. We have tried to make sure is well prepared (and RPS are the UK leader in preparing Classic Rally Cars; cars prepared at RPS have won the Peking to Paris Rally and have an excellent record for finishing events – and that the crew are also ready. We have not undertaken a ‘recce’ as some crews do, but carefully plotted the routes and as a team we have all done the event before.”

Datsun 240Z (1)

The Datsun 240Z Is Stylish

The performance of the standard Datsun 240Z is quite lively.  I found a road test of a 1970 Datsun 240Z that was published in Canada Track & Traffic magazine.

Datsun 240Z Road Test

1970 Datsun 240Z Road Test From Canada Track & Traffic

The Datsun 240Z is not a big car, but it appears to be big enough to be comfortable in for long periods of time.  Note that in the Canada Track & Traffic road test the side vision was about the lowest rated and even that was rated as “average”.

Datsun 240Z (5)

Datsun 240Z Interior

“Consistent with making things straightforward to the driver and navigator is the use of GaugePilot. We have been working with Nigel and Simon for many months on the development of the unit and it’s software is custom-made to support regularity rallies (as well as the many other functions). We are optimistic that the ease of using the device will help accuracy and also reduce the workload on the car crew. It will be a great test for the unit on the Monte, as it demands great accuracy and consistent pace over some of the most tricky roads in Europe.”

Datsun 240Z (6)

Datsun’s 2.4 Liter, 6-Cylinder Engine Delivers An Easy 150 Horsepower

Datsun’s engine is not particularly high tuned and therefore should be a reliable power plant that still provides lively performance.  The information in the “Rally Manual 3” indicated that the engine is capable of 250 horsepower when in race tune.

MC Tires

Tires For The Monte Carlo Historique Rally

“We use Michelin Alpine winter tyres for the event and are also  fortunate to have two friends helping as service crew using our family estate car as a Support Car. In the support car we will have set of studded Nokian tyres which are legal in France provided they comply with local laws and regulations. We will not change tyres excessively but should the high passes be snowy or icy it is extra reassurance to have the studs and also gives the driver more confidence in keeping on ( or at least close to!) the target speed.”

“As a team our focus is to keep safe, have fun, and do as well as we can once those two objectives have been met.  Over the next couple of weeks we will see if all our preparation has paid off and also be able to report on how the GaugePilot and particularly the Rally master function on the device works in such an intense event.”


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1 Response to Readying A Datsun 240Z For The 2015 Historique Monte Carlo Rally

  1. Ahhh, brings back memories. I rallied a ’71 240Z back in 1979 and 1980 in events like the MG International 1000, NQP, Route of All Evil and other endurance events in the North East US. Unfortunately, my level of prep at the time was a sump guard and QI headlights, and the car eventually split down the center from rust. After the 1979 1000 event the 4 speed transmission was shot and I replaced it with a 5 speed unit from a junked 280Z. The speedo was off by around 50% after that, but the transmission was smoother shifting and had a better selection of gears. After the 240Z I picked up a 1970 Datsun 510, which was, to me at least, just a stealth Z car.

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