Swap Insanity: Dinky Datsun Roadster With L33 Power In Progress

It’s a strategy that has worked consistently for gearheads throughout the ages – find the smallest car you can, and install the biggest engine you can. It’s a simple matter of exploiting power to weight ratio, and it doesn’t take a physicist or engineer to tell you that 350 horsepower will get 2,000 pounds moving a whole lot quicker than 4,000 pounds.

That’s probably the exact reason the guys from Roadster Werx decided to shoehorn an all-aluminum L33 5.3L truck engine into their 1969 Datsun 1600 Roadster – dubbed “Project Kaiju”. From our research we found that these dinky Datsuns weigh in at just over 2,000 pounds nicely optioned, and originally came equipped with a 1.6L 4-cylinder that wheezed out about 95 horsepower. By dropping in the L33 the guys at Roadster Werx are more than tripling the car’s original output – not a bad upgrade by anyone’s standards.

However, fitting a small block V8 into a car that’s less than 5 feet wide isn’t exactly a bolt-in-and-go affair. As you can see from the video above, the L33 takes up just about every available square inch of the 1600’s engine bay. It’s 11 pounds of engine in a 10 pound bag, but it’s still in the realm of possibility judging from their test fit. The car is currently being torn down for a full frame off resto before the L33 is mounted in for good.  

Be sure to check out the Roadster Werx website periodically to get all the updates on this crazy machine. Can you imagine the kind of crazy burnouts this thing will be able to produce once it’s done?  

About the author

Clifton Klaverweiden

Clifton has been a car fanatic since his late teens, when he started the restoration of his '67 Camaro. He considers himself a student of automotive science and technology, and particularly loves all things LSX. And, although he has an appreciation for everything, from imports to exotics, his true passion will always be for GM musclecars.
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