The 5 Coolest Cars in Adam Carolla’s Garage
1969 BRE Datsun 2000 Roadster (at top)
When racing engineer (and father of the Shelby Daytona Coupe) Peter Brock decided he could turn Datsun’s 2000 Roadster into a SCCA race winner, Datsun North America wasn’t interested in lending support – or even a car. A few phone calls later involving a well-connected friend at Nissan Japan, and a pair of 2000s (plus a little cash to make them go faster) were secretly shipped to Brock’s workshop in Southern California. It didn’t take long for the little Datsun to start winning races, even besting the Toyota 2000GT race cars built by Brock’s former employer, Carroll Shelby. By the end of the ’69 season, the car pictured had won the class championship with driver Frank Monise behind the wheel. Datsun North America was interested now, and thus began Brock’s winning relationship with the Japanese automaker.
1971 BRE Datsun 510 Trans-Am 2.5
Following the success Brock Racing Enterprises had in 1970 with the Datsun 240Z in SCCA racing, owner Peter Brock convinced Datsun North America to let him try his luck with 510 two-door sedans in the just-announced 2.5-liter Trans-Am series. Just a handful of cars were built and this one was the sister car to John Morton’s ’71 and ’72 championship-winning car. Originally driven by BRE team driver Mike Downs with the number 35 slapped on the side, the car’s goal was to keep the Alfas and BMWs away from Morton, while scoring as many points towards the manufacturer’s championship as possible. In late ‘72, the car was raced by guest driver Bobby Allison of NASCAR fame with the number 85. Amazingly, after its road racing days were over, Peter Brock took the car drag racing, winning the B Modified Compact class at the ’73 NHRA winter nationals.
Bob Sharp Racing 1979 Datsun 280 ZX AAGT
Built by Bob Sharp Racing without the advantage of factory support, this is far from a standard Datsun 280 ZX. While the car is technically production-based, the standard front-mounted inline-six was replaced with a mid-mounted (and heavily modified) turbocharged 4.5-liter V-8 engine from the Japanese-market Nissan President. Output was estimated at 933hp and the car was designed to go head-to-head with the likes of Porsche’s new 935 race cars in the All American Grand Touring class. Unfortunately, the Porsches were significantly lighter than the Datsun, which was also plagued with cooling and reliability troubles. Sam Posey and Newman both drove the car, but its best finish was 6th place at Portland in 1981. The radical Datsun was retired after just two seasons as the AAGT class was dissolved and the car was made obsolete.
Lamborghini Miura S and Miura SV
One Lamborghini Miura is never enough, right? Carolla seems to agree. The orange car is a P400S, one of approximately 330 built between ’68 and ’71, and carries a host of revisions over earlier P400 cars including slightly more power and additional creature comforts, like power windows and optional air conditioning. The blue car is a later P400SV and is even rarer, being one of just 150 cars ever built. Besides the SV badging on the back, these models are easy to distinguish by their lack of headlight “eyelashes” – those metal strakes that surround the light. SVs had wider rear wheels and fenders than the S model, another small output bump to about 380 hp and many were equipped with a limited-slip differential. Bet you didn’t know: Miuras shared a few bits and pieces with early versions of the humble Fiat 850 Spider, the most prominent being the headlights and front turn signals. Carolla owns two more Lamborghinis, a ’67 400GT 2+2 and that car’s successor, a ’68 Islero (check the gallery).
Datsun 260Z Camel GT Pace Car
With the two Lamborghinis above, we’re technically at five cars, but here’s a bonus. This Datsun was built up by Bob Sharp to pace the Camel GT race series in the mid-‘70s. Built from two 260Zs and essentially wearing 240Z bodywork, the car’s fender flares, rear spoiler, “G” nose, roll cage and fuel cell are fairly identical to Sharp’s IMSA GTU race car of the time. The engine is Nissan’s 2.8-liter inline-six that’s said to be making somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 hp. The primary differences between this car and Sharp’s actual race car are the passenger seat installed for VIP pace car ridealongs and the use of street bushings in the suspension to make the car ride a little more comfortably. After the Camel GT series ended, this car wound up abused, then neglected for years. It was modified and raced on the vintage racing circuit for over a decade before being restored back to its original pace car origins by Carolla.