Stephen Eades, owner of Rock Solid Motorsports (RSM) had a vision for a badass shop car and it wasn’t your typical Mustang or Camaro; he needed something different. His goal was to build a car that would represent his business, while still having a nasty streak at the track. The 1978 Datsun 280z known as “Du Hast” that Eades created is a lightweight machine with tons of LSX power and can lay down wicked times at the track while he rows his own gears.
When Eades decided to move forward with his shop car he knew it had to be something that would really stand out, but he also had to keep things on a budget. After doing some research the Datsun became the best way to check all the boxes he needed when building a 1,000 horsepower pocket rocket.
“I wanted to build a lightweight car that would be easy on parts, and have a layout under the hood I needed for my vision. The Datsun 280z became appealing because of the long engine bay, a hood that opens from the rear, weight obviously, and you don’t see many of them in the racing world. I also wanted to be unique and use a manual transmission to bang gears with,” Eades says.
The chrome-moly chassis for the Datsun is a 25.1G SFI certified build that weighs a scant 2,700 pounds with Eades belted into the car. Originally the roll cage was built at home before Eades moved RSM to its current location, and that adds to the labor of love this build has been. The car still maintains its stock front framerails and under the hood is basically stock except for a few reinforcements that Eades added. The car is still an all-steel body with stock glass, roll-up windows, stock steering column, and all the original lights remain in place.
For the front suspension a Techno Toy Tuning coilover kit that uses VW Scirrocco strut inserts, Eibach springs, and chrome-moly tension rods that Eades made himself. The lower control arms are the factory units that Eades modified to fit inside the fenders for the correct wheel clearance. The stock front brakes are still used with an upgraded Wilwood master cylinder and proportioning valve.
A Rhodes Race Cars 4-link kit makes up the rear suspension along with the 8.8 rearend from a Ford F150. Eric Yost from Customs By Bigun designed the rest of the suspension and narrowed the rearend, before he installed the 3.73 gears and spool. A prototype anti-roll bar from PAC Springs helps keep the car straight on launch, while the JRi coilovers handle the dampening duties.
The heart of Du Hast is a 346 cubic-inch iron LSX-based motor that was built by Tick Performance. Inside the motor is a stock crankshaft that uses a set of Callies connecting rods and Wiseco pistons to round out the rotating assembly. Stock 853 casting heads that received a valve job and use a Tick Performance valve spring and pushrod kit work with the Stage 3 turbo camshaft Tick installed.
An Edelbrock Super Victor intake works with a Nick Williams 92 mm throttle body to bring all the boosted air in from a pair of 66 mm Bullseye turbos. A faceplated T56 transmission with a 30-spline Viper output shaft and twin-disc clutch from Monster Clutch sends the power to the carbon fiber driveshaft from the Driveshaft Shop.
For the turbo setup, Eades used a set of Kooks universal upswept turbo headers, Turbosmart 45 mm wastegates, and dual 50 mm blow-off valves. Since the goal was to put a lot of miles on the car the design had to be very street-friendly. “I wanted to build this system to be driven on the street with no issues. The turbos are placed high for great oil drainage and above the radiator, so they get plenty of fresh air,” Eades days.
Controlling everything is a FuelTech FT500 ECU with dual wideband sensors for each side of the engine. Eades also uses FueTech’s integrated boost controller with assistance from a CO2 bottle to help keep the boost in-check on each pass. “Other than the FuelTech FT500 there’s really no other electronics or anything fancy on this car — it wasn’t needed with the FT500. I got some help from Kevin Mullins on the baseline tune while he taught me the basics of the FuelTech software,” Eades explains.
The only real goals for the car are to get faster and help promote RSM at the track and, thus far, things are looking pretty promising for Du Hast. “So far we’ve only been to the track a few times testing and the car has already run a 5.91 in the 1/8–mile struggling for traction, while turned down on pump gas. I’m just trying to get a feel for the car and learn how to make it work. The manual transmission is a blast and challenge, but so far I’m loving every minute of it,” Eades says.
Eades will be taking the car out testing again very soon to try and chip away at the car’s ETs and putting more street miles on it, as well. The plan is to get Du Hast running deep into the five-second zone at the track while keeping it as much of a street car as possible. What’s not to love about a light-weight car that makes gobs of power while still having a clutch?