Does Formula 440 power make this the ultimate Datsun Roadster? | #LowBuckWednesday

Colin
By Colin Wood
Apr 12, 2023 | $2000 Challenge, Datsun, Low-Buck Tech, Tire Rack, datsun roadster, #LowBuckWednesday, Formula 440

Photography Credit: Dave Green

In case the heavily modified sheet metal didn’t give it away, Robbie Cutcliffe’s Datsun Roadster is about as far away as you can get from stock. The Datsun body is perched on top of a Formula 440 chassis–rubber-puck suspension, Honda CBR600 sportbike power and all.

The last time we saw the modified Roadster was at the 2021 Grassroots Motorsports $2000 Challenge (Robbie entered a cut-down BMW 325xi kart for the 2022 Challenge), where Robbie secured the second-place finish.

The biggest lessons he learned that year? Sand edges so you don’t cut yourself, get a zip-tie gun to properly tighten and cut cables, and rivets can be used to quickly join dissimilar metals.

Will 2023 be the year Robbie and his wild Datsun Roadster take the big win at the $2000 Challenge? There’s only one way to find out.

What is the $2000 Challenge? It’s our annual low-buck automotive festival that celebrates autocross, drag racing and ingenuity, which returns to Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, on a new weekend for 2023, May 27-28.

The real challenge is in the event's name, however, as entries are required to prepare their vehicles for less than $2000. Each of these sub-$2000 cars will compete in autocross and drag racing sessions followed by concours judging the next day.

Rather see if more money equals more speed? Over-budget builds are also allowed to enter. Need more time to get your build ready? Spectators are welcome, and there will also be a Hagerty Cars & Caffeine, swap meet, model car concours and even a post-event track day at the Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park.

Think your low-buck racer or over-budget car is up to the challenge? Enter your build here, and learn more about the $2000 Challenge at 2000challenge.com.

 

The Grassroots Motorsports $2000 Challenge is presented by Tire Rack, in association with CRC Industries and Miller Electric, with trophies from ACI Automotive & Performance.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more $2000 Challenge, Datsun, Low-Buck Tech, Tire Rack, datsun roadster, #LowBuckWednesday and Formula 440 news.
Comments
Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
4/12/23 12:59 p.m.

I toy with the idea of putting a Fiat 850 body on my F500 so I can run it at any track day I please.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/23 9:36 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

I toy with the idea of putting a Fiat 850 body on my F500 so I can run it at any track day I please.

Oh man this is a really bad good idea. Or a really good bad idea.

Not sure I can tell the difference anymore.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
4/12/23 11:54 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

Finding one with rusty floors wouldn't be hard and the body dimensions are nearly identical. 

If I kept the street gear there's no way my local SCCA track days could turn me away.

People in various Porsches & Vettes would be devastated.

triumph7
triumph7 HalfDork
4/13/23 11:47 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Maybe not.  I talked to Robbie a while back and remember he was having issues with the suspension because of the increased weight.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/13/23 2:51 p.m.
triumph7 said:

In reply to Tom1200 :

Maybe not.  I talked to Robbie a while back and remember he was having issues with the suspension because of the increased weight.

Yes, I don't think the weight of a body helps. However, I didn't exactly start with a sorted chassis, so it's hard to say how much of the problem was from the body and how much was from very poor rear subframe modifications, old rubber pucks, significant wheelbase change with no akerman correction, bad alignment, etc.

This year, the car should have motorcycle coilovers at all 4 corners with improved geometry as well!

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/13/23 3:09 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

To be fair it either WILL have MC shocks at all 4 corners or it won't be there.   There is no going back.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
4/13/23 4:09 p.m.
triumph7 said:

In reply to Tom1200 :

Maybe not.  I talked to Robbie a while back and remember he was having issues with the suspension because of the increased weight.

Fiat panels are thin so an outer shell is only going to add 100lbs (based on 22swg steel and sq footage). Also a CBR600 motor is 50lbs heavier than a snowmobile engine.

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