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Thread: '72 Scarab Z Story

  1. #1
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    Cool '72 Scarab Z Story

    I am the owner of a '72 Z-car with a Scarab V8 conversion. It has been a very interesting car with a rather unique personality. The car itself has an interesting history, with myself being the third owner since its conversion. The car started out in stock form, somewhere in California. The original owner, a good friend of mine, was stationed at Fort Ord and purchased the car new sometime during '72. The car and its first owner made it back to New York in late '76. The car was then continuously driven by the second owner, the younger brother of the original owner.
    Anyway, to make a long story even longer, There was a third brother who didn't own the Z, but instead owned a '64 Corvette. This brother left the aforementioned 'Vette in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    Did you ever see a just what kind of damage a well intentioned, but poorly parked Cement Truck can do to the rear half of a mostly fiberglass automobile? Yep, flat. Real flat.
    When life hands you a lemon, it's lemonade time. Four of us drunken bozos were sitting around the garage one evening during the summer of '78 lamenting the flattened Corvette and trying to figure out why the Z-car was starting to act like a mosquito fogger when an idea hit. Hmmm, didn't I see an ad in Motor Trend for a Z V8 conversion? The rest is history, or at least local legend.
    The conversion kit was offered by Scarab. It consisted of pretty much off-the-shelf components mixed with the obviously custom parts. Here's what I can remember was in the kit:
    1) Bell Housing. Even has "Scarab" cast into it. It uses the stock Z slave cylinder combined with what appears to be the clutch fork of a 60's vintage Chevy truck.
    2)Heavy duty Front coils for the front struts. Didn't work a whole lot better than stock. But, with the addition of Bilstein struts and Tokico coil overs, life got much more interesting.
    3) Generic 15/16" front sway bar. I have no idea who made it, works great though. One Word, "polyurethane".
    4) A Hurst Competition Plus Shifter with one minor modification: the receiver for the shift handle is moved rearward approx. 1-1/2 inches.
    5) A Chevy twin-core Radiator with a large splash pan attached to the bottom, apparently intended to act as a lower support. The upper support is the stock Chevy upper radiator support used forever.
    6) Two funky little pieces of steel C-channel that serve as motor mount adapters between the early-style SB Chevy mounts and the Datsun frame.
    7) Transmission Crossmember. Looks a lot like stock Datsun, but with a steroidal air about it. Also has a big rubber block for the transmission attachment.
    8) Headers. Cheapos, but work pretty well considering the confinement at the beginning of the transmission tunnel, the steering column and the frame rails.
    9) Drive shaft. A teeny little thing, mounts very easily, one end Chevy, one end Datsun. It even has greaseable universals.
    10) Jeep CJ- type throttle cable. Hey, it works and it's cheap.
    11) Speedometer cable. It's some kind of an adaptation. Datsun one end, Muncie other end. I don't ever want to try to replace it.
    12) A cute little circuit board that mounts between the Tachometer and the coil.
    The installation was a piece of cake, everything went together very smoothly. I don't know whether Scarab still exists, but they did make a sweet kit. I have owned the car for the last 16 years and aside for its rusting to oblivion and back, it's still a runner. The rust is being repaired the right way and the car will be better than new. The 327 is being cleaned up and will be a hot runner again. One word of advice for anyone doing a Sb Chevy -Z conversion: don't dump the clutch! Rearends are rare and expensive.

  2. #2
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    Hello 540Z,
    In that sense, my name would be 500Z. I've got a '73 240Z, with a 1990 Ford 5.0L High Output motor; and MSD ignition. It's roadworthy, but I'm still connecting the gauges. MY QUESTION:

    Can the stock tachometer be calibrated/adjusted (capable of) for the V8?

    I've been working with/consulting a shop here in San Diego: "Speedo-Tach", and as they are not fluent in Z, they say they can't tell until they look inside the tachometer. Motorsport's Technical Support guys tell me that folks do it with Chevy's, but he can't confirm for the Ford. (To give you all the info: He also said I'd need the Ballast Resistor...which I no longer have. My mechanic [who did the conversion] disagrees with the Ballast Resistor need)
    I'm not going to break a leg to use the stock tach, but do prefer to. Otherwise, I'll have to go with the aftermarket stuff, which could be a nice thing to do.
    Your help would be appreciated. Good day.
    Last edited by 55Gary; 07-27-2006 at 11:12 PM.

  3. #3
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    i had a scarab in 1988 in berkley ca. it had a hot 350 and 4spd muncie m21 it had 12in epsilon wheels with a wide body kit , one night i was going home to oakland from berkley we were up in the hills to a freeway when a red 78 930 turbo started playing i never saw the guy after second gear but that car was a SCARRY FAST CAR it got sold to a guy name eric in richmond who collected z

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