Keeping It In The Family: An RB-Swapped S30

When I stopped by Mikie Sorrel’s place in Ohio to check out his awesome 1JZ-swapped Starion, another unsuspecting car was present.

It was his buddy Jesse’s Z-car which his father purchased new in 1975. They originally built the car together and ended up swapping a Chevy V8 into the lightweight chassis after the original L-series gave up the ghost.

Over time the car went off to a friend, but after Jesse’s father passed in 2015 Jesse got his hands on it again and started modifying it his way. To be more accurate, he modified it the way he always wanted; the way that his dad wouldn’t when he owned it.


We’ll pop the hood in a minute, but what’s equally notable about this car is that it’s been stretched several inches wider across the rear. After sustaining a side impact decades ago and requiring new rear quarter panels to be welded on, Jesse’s dad went about putting it back together with a little extra oomph.


Since Jesse’s had it back he’s completed another engine swap, polished up a few rough odds and ends, and gotten the car rolling smoothly down the road. But it’s certainly not without its flaws


You’ll spot little dings here and there in the DIY paint job, and the interior needs finishing. One touch I liked inside was a piston from the old motor hanging between the seats. Spider-Man is cool, too.


But these shortcomings really don’t bother me, especially when checking out that big butt. I really appreciate how extra-aggressive the car looks without ruining the classic lines that make the S30 chassis the masterpiece of design that it is.

Nissan Heart

While it’s still a work in progress, the Datsun, which rides on gold-colored old school Billet Specialties wheels, is a fun cruiser. I find myself enjoying running project cars that are still somewhat under the knife as much, if not more, than fully-finished, high-dollar builds. And I love classic cars as it is, especially when they have a trick up their sleeve.


The trick in Jesse’s case is an RB25 with fully forged internals. A GReddy intake, BorgWarner S363 turbo and Haltech ECU make the swap good for 535hp and 432ft-lb of torque at the wheels.


It’s simple, well executed, and surely an absolute blast to drive.


BC coilovers and freshened bushings help in this regard along with Toyota 4Runner front brakes and 240SX discs in the rear. It’s an awesome Frankenstein of JDM bits and pieces that have come together to only enhance the character of this S30. Nothing has been lost here.


At this point the car is a essentially an incredibly unique blank canvas waiting for its final form. But I’m sure Jesse will enjoy at least a few thousand miles behind the wheel before making any more big moves. It’s an example I think we should all follow.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

It looks like a Viper from the rear.


A Gallo 25 is better than a Gallo 12 or 24 that's for sure.


I completely agree ;)


Kinda weird to see that it has 4Runner brakes in the front as compared to doing like S14 4 piston brakes or something more suited for a car. But I mean if it works, it works.


It's a common swap onto older Nissans, the Toyota caliper spacing is identical to the Nissan/Datsun so it's bolt-on 4-pots for a decent price.


I wouldn't think 4Runner caliper swaps for old Nissans would be as common as doing like S14 4 piston brakes, which I would think would be the most common brake swap. Or maybe 350Z brakes too.


Hermoso, es el camino que sigue mi Mazda 1977!!


Thanks guys for sharing my car!

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I'm curious why RB25 instead of RB26? Budget issues?


My main reason for RB25 was it wasn’t worth the extra cost since I was building it anyway. .1 liter for an extra 1-2k isn’t worth it. That paid for my Haltech or internals. I know there are some other small differences but just wasn’t worth the extra!


Anyone I know running an RB25 instead of a 26 is doing so for reliability.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Ah, gotcha!


I like how the S30 looks unique compare to most S30 out there, one of them being wider without using bolt-on flares; I don't mind the imperfection you mentioned because this felt closer to what I would've done...


The rear quartet looks so American yet fits the car. The color combo is nice (the best part is the non-shiny/not-perfect paint), same for the wheels design.


Yep, exactly how I'd do it! I wouldn't swap anything BUT an RB into an old Z. Really cool build