A look at the Sydney – London Datsun 260Z

Sydney-London_Prep 1423The Sydney – London Classic Marathon is passing through South Australia over the next few days, so to prepare Any Given Reason went and had a look at what is sure to be one of the front running contenders – the Datsun 260Z of Geoff Olholm and John Doble.

Note – keep reading for leg maps and stage times for the South Australian stages

Sydney-London_Prep 1414Longtime Any Given Reason readers will be familiar with Olholm and his Coconut Car Racing Team – AGR checked out the Rally Raid Desert Warrior he used in the 2011 Dakar Rally, and followed his 2013 Dakar Rally campaign where he was first privateer and 11th outright in an Overdrive built V8 Hilux.

Sydney-London_Prep 1430Like all of Olholm’s cars, the 260Z has been prepared for the rally in the Adelaide workshop of Garry Kirk. It looks like your regular gravel rally Z-car, but with a few minor additions for both strength and reliability.

Sydney-London_Prep 1426The 260Z isn’t new to the world of marathon rallies, having been previously used in the 2009 East African Safari Classic Rally. It has received a complete teardown rebuild since then, and is in stunning shape.

Sydney-London_Prep 1427It would want to be, too, because over the next month-and-a-bit this will be the sole home for Olholm and Doble as they cover up to 1,000km a day. The team will be on the road from around 7am until 4pm with typically around 100-200km competitive per day. Every day, for a month. Now that’s a challenge.

Sydney-London_Prep 1424The Zed is powered by the same Nissan six it left the factory with, however significantly modified with a triple Weber setup and a thousand other little things to ensure it produces good, reliable power for a straight month of competition.

Sydney-London_Prep 1429The suspension is typical Zed car in concept, however with a few important modifications. There are big bash plates and guards everywhere, and the stock suspension arms have been modified and plated for extra strength.

Sydney-London_Prep 1431In long distance rallying time is not just made in outright speed, but in how quickly you can overcome problems and obstacles that are bound to strike. The Zed carries a pair of spare wheels in the boot, and the 90 liter fuel cell custom fits around them.

Sydney-London_Prep 1432For example, time is not lost in not having to forage through a toolbox to find the rattle gun to change that wheel in a hurry because there’s a charged one ready to go with easy access.

Sydney-London_Prep 1415There’s a huge amount of logistical support going into the Sydney-London Rally campaign, part of which includes a support van which will travel with the event the whole way to London. The specially liveried and fitted out Renault Master van will be crewed by Garry and co-driver Rob Duck, and will be on-hand at service each night and ready to assist a stricken 260Z should the need arise. Everyone looks to the competition crew as the ones having the fun, but I think in this case Garry and Rob are in for quite the adventure as well.

Sydney-London_Prep 1428The van will carry a spare of everything on the car, excluding an engine. The amount of work and planning that has gone into simply fitting out and packing the van is a huge effort in itself – as one example, this is the custom box the crew have made for the spare gearbox.

Sydney-London_Prep 1418Whatever happens it is set to be one incredible adventure, with some interesting overseas entrants as well including three Tuthill prepared Porsche 911’s. The rally is passing through South Australia in the next few days, and the details you need to get out and see a stage or service are here. All times listed are first car due.

Wednesday 16 April:

TC 13B Renmark Out: 08.00 / SS14 Border Track 08.43 (27km) / SS15 Pine Hut Road 13.46 (15km) / SS16 Tweeden Reverse 14.29 (31km) / SS17 Goldfields 15.23 (15km) / TC 17A Barossa Service In 16.10 (Barossa service is at the Novotel Tanunda)

Thursday 17 April:

TC 17B Barossa Out: 07.30 / SS18 Frankton 08.18 (26km) / SS19 Turbine Row 11.00 (13km) / SS20 Mount Dare 12.25 (71km) / SS21 Beetaloo 14.58 (23km) / TC 21A Port Augusta In 17.30

Friday 18 April:

TC 21B Port Augusta Out: 07.00 / SS22 Bunyeroo Gorge 09.53 (39km) / SS23 Moralana Gorge 12.26 (26km) / SS24 Kanyaka 13.53 (26km) / TC 24A Port Augusta In 16.15

Saturday 19 April:

TC 24B Port Augusta Out: 06.00 / SS25 Old Paney 09.03 (93km) / SS26 Nullabor 16.18 (23km) / TC 26A Border Village In 18.48




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  1. Tom Gilbert April 16, 2014 Reply

    Now that, that would be fun!

  2. Alexander Pickering April 16, 2014 Reply

    Andrew, NEED Tuthill Porsche love!!
    P.S. What is the story with the Mercedes SL/C in the photo - another upcoming story ?

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