We Finally made it to the Big Show! The Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion!
Rons Red Roadster, Reprinted from Pistonbroke.online
Ron Carter’s Datsun Roadster started life as a drag car but is now one of the US’ best-known historic circuit racers.
I have been lucky enough in this life to attend some amazing motor sports events – this August I attended the greatest one to date.
The week beginning August 10 was Monterey Car Week in the wealthy town of Monterey California. I have always wanted to attend this amazing week-long event that is part car show, car auction and race car events. As you drive though the hills you see more high-end sports cars in a day then you have in the last five years!
This year I had an extra excuse to attend the event – Ron Carter and his 67.5 Datsun SRL2000 had been invited to attend the Monterey Historic races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This was the first time Ron had been invited to the event. Sure, he has attended the vintage races at Coronado but this was the Rolex Monterey Historic races!
I sent him an email letting him know that I wouldn’t miss him racing at the famed Laguna Seca for anything.
I spent much of the week with Ron in the paddock, enjoying good company, some shade and cold drinks. It was Saturday morning when I cornered Ron and asked if he had time for an interview.
He was very gracious and pulled up a chair next to me. I was curious about the #33’s race history and Ron was a wealth of knowledge. It appears this little car had been raced from day one at Edwards Motors in Jackson, Tennessee.
Ron said the car was first raced by the service manager, Dennis Lester, on the quarter mile. That’s right, this little half year was a drag car! I couldn’t believe my ears when Ron told me this. The drag racing was short-lived and the car was brought back to the Nissan Dealer where they promptly sold it to Gerry Mason for $1.
Apparently dealerships back then would take a car that they wanted a race team to have and claim it was “salt damaged” from the trip across the seas, so they could write it off and provide a nearly free car to the race team.
Gerry raced the car from 1967 to 1970 in its original Butter Cream yellow paint with an added candy apple red racing stripe. In 1970, Augie Englehardt bought the car and raced it until 1981, when he decided the little roadster was pretty worn out and proceeded to park it in his barn in Connecticut.
Fast forward 10 years and that is when a friend of Augie’s came and asked if the car was for sale.
Augie eventually sold the car to Bruce Konsugar in 1991. Bruce wasn’t into racing so he painted the car red and made it into a street car. The only problem was this car had all of the Nissan competition parts on it, which made it a little tough to drive on the road.
In 2001, after driving it for 10 years, Bruce sold the car to Bob Davis. Bob liked race cars so he put all the race bits back on it. Three years later Ron Carter bought the car in what he said was “immaculate condition”. The deal was put together by Datsun mechanic Les Canaday.
You can tell that Ron loves his 2000 roadster by the way he talks about it. We discussed some of the running gear on the car and I was impressed with how well it was set up.
Firstly, he has what he calls a “hot rod” 2L motor in it that was built by Mark DeGroff. The motor puts out 210bhp.
Much of the suspension is typical for these cars, with super comp springs and a comp sway bar in the front and five-way adjustable Konis on all four corners.
Rather than heading down the usual LSD path, Ron fitted the rear end with a Detroit Locker, along with a pair of heavy duty axles and a panhard bar. I was surprised to learn that Ron had also removed the stock tramp bar and installed two custom traction bars.
He runs KFP gold pads in the front with stock shoes in the back, which are controlled by a dual brake master, brake bias knob, brake balance bar, and a modified brake pedal to add better brake feel and pressure.
The car came with comp leaf springs in the rear but were replaced by an early set of stock ones for more control.
The car weighs around 2000lbs (907kg) with a stripped interior but has some added weight from a full roll cage. The header and exhaust are patterned after the BRE setup of the ’60s, with a stepped header and larger primary pipes. This is all done in stainless steel to ensure longevity.
Additional photos from this event below, Special thanks to the Z Car Garage, and ZcarBlog for the photos attached. Added thanks to Rob Fuller, Michael Anderson, Tim Arnett and all my friends who came by for this event. It was a bucket list item for me. I hope that I get the chance to do this again some day…