14 October 2014

Datsun 120Y LZ18 Group 4 Race Car from the 70s...Part 1

Back in the 70s, in the town of Bandar Seri Begawan of Brunei Darussalam, motor racing was very much alive with many national and international races held at the old Brunei airport. Check out this site: http://dns.btclick.com.bn/features/2013/12/15/revved-revival-brunei-motorsports

Figure 1
Datsun 120Y LZ18
Wheels are 14-inch dia outfitted with slicks. They are obviously spec to
group 4 regulations and factory cast/forged or welded with the Mini-lite look.
Among the entries and gems that did trickle into this small oil-rich town was a little Datsun 120Y, the feature of this blog article. This was no ordinary 120Y with the usual A-series engine but was a serious contender into the fray because the Japanese saw fit to put in one of their best ultimatum weapons available then. It was powered by the rarely seen and much admired LZ14 Formula Pacific 16-valve cylinder head fitted onto an L18 block. I presume from lack of info, that this power plant was then called an LZ18. The naming is a little misinforming because this is no 1.8litre but bored out to a proper 2-litre and yet not an LZ20B! 

Figure 2
LZ18 (stamped L16 with extra ribbed L18 block)
It sports twin Mikuni 50s,  stainless 4-2-1 extractor and revs past 10k rpm in 1st almost uncontrollably before one could shift to 2nd. Induction roar is just fantastically loud and throaty! Ignition uses a Hanshin coil juiced by an orange colored CDI unit fitted under the dash. It has a large aluminium radiator and an engine oil-cooler that could be mistaken for an intercooler to the uninitiated! A rev-limiter was provided but not connected.

This LZ18 is dry-sumped with a ballast tank in the boot.

Figure 3
All-aluminuim radiator. A novelty then.
This engine has a propensity to rev also because it sports titanium connecting rods which I have had the privilege to have held in my hands on a rebuild!

Figure 4
Oil ballast and fuel tank

The fuel tank at the rear is of rubber construction protected by an aluminium exterior shell. Polyurethane foam must have been installed previously but deteriorated and caused much blackish powder to clog up the fuel line and filters at one time.

The dry-sumped engine has an all-aluminium ballast oil tank fitted at the rear also.

More to come...keep checking back!


  1. Great stuff!
    'This engine has a propensity to rev..' is too mild a statement, Chin. I recall taking this 120Y for a spin with you on the wheels, down to Likas way back then. Yes I have driven your alfas, Turbo silvias and even the 911..but none of these rev to 9000rpm in flash!! Damn I can still feel it right now.. Wraping down Likas Sport complex roundabout, you did an opposite lock, with rear tires screaming vaporised compounds in the trillions - this car had the propensity to send us to inferno/ or heaven!! lol

  2. Ahaha...Hmmm...I am still guessing who you are coming across as Unknown...I do remember having taken a couple of friends for the ride individually but that was quite many years ago. You are right to say this 120Y revs because off the line in 1st it's very hard to not hit 10k rpm no matter how gentle I try to be on a quick getaway!...J K? by any chance ;-) ?