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HEMI-Swapped, Ultra-Rare ’74 Datsun 260X Is the Coolest Drag Car on Craigslist Right Now

Back in the mid-1970s, the Datsun Fairlady Z line used to take muscle car's lunch money almost for sport. As the '73 oil crisis laid waste to American muscle, the opportunity was right for Datsun and other JDM brands to make a hostile takeover of the US Domestic Market with quality automobiles. It's a dynamic that's still as valid today as it was 50 years ago. But what happens when the best aspects of a muscle car's drivetrain are shoehorned into a body straight from Japan? Well, you get this HEMI V8-swapped Datsun 260Z drag car.
HEMI-Swapped Datsun 260X 15 photos
Photo: Craigslist Fulton County, GA
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Sold for just a single 1974 model year in the United States, the 260Z was an enigma of a sports car. One that was just as happy on the tiny roads of Okinawa as it was the cafes outside Monaco or a diner parking lot in Los Angeles. Rocking only a three-speed automatic transmission in 1974 in the U.S., archaic federal emissions restrictions of the day did reduce the 260Z's 2.6-liter, straight-six engine's power output down to around 140 horsepower. But while the Datsun made around the same power as emissions-restricted "muscle cars" of the malaise era, the fact it only weighed 1,100 kg (2,425 lbs) meant it was significantly quicker in nearly every respect.

But the stock hardware that was once inside this ultra-rare single model year for the U.S.-spec 260Z is now long gone. Once all the stock components were liberated from the engine bay, a 392-cubic-inch (6.4-liter), first-generation HEMI V8 out of a 1957 Chrysler was mounted under the hood with custom motor mounts. With a beefy Hampton 6-71 supercharger forcing as much air through this 66-year-old engine block as possible, you'll be happy to know the rest of the engine is reasonably built up as well.

We're talking Keith Black 390 alloy performance pistons, ARP head studs, and an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump with custom four-bold main journals inside the bowels of the engine. The BDS Enderle-style electronic fuel injection ensures there's enough fuel to match the considerable air flowing through the engine. It's all made to work in harmony thanks to a Fast XFI 2.0 ECU tuning system that helps the engine maintain 548 horsepower to the tires at 5000 and 575 lb-ft of torque at the same rev range. When given the full beans with the gas pedal to the floor, the owner expects this drag car can jet up to 750 horsepower, or similar power specs as the LT5 V8 found in the C7 Corvette ZR1.

For a drag car with more character than the rest by virtue of the odd-couple matching of a Japanese icon with an American heavyweight engine, this is one of the coolest restomod race cars we've seen in a long time. That's why the sticker price of $27,500 isn't so bad after all.
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