Wednesday, March 11, 2015

10k: RB25DET NEO Swap: 1982 Datsun Maxima Wagon

From 1980 through 1984, Nissan imported their Bluebird 910 based rear-drive family sedan using the Datsun (and later Nissan) brand with the 810 Deluxe and 810 Maxima model designation.  It is only of interest to enthusiasts because it was the only time we could get a rear-drive Maxima here in the states, but stock/original examples are not going to impress anyone with performance, handling, or speed.  An RB-series turbo inline-6 borrowed from a Skyline might change that impression.  Find this 1982 Datsun Maxima Wagon with RB25DET NEO Swap offered for $10,000 in Hollister, CA via craigslist.  Tip from Brian P.

The first complaint you'll hear from a Californian is "how am I going to smog this", but this car started life as a diesel.  It then went through the opposite transformation from the diesel powered 280Z, and is now a properly fast monster that carries a diesel registration and is exempt from emissions inspections.  It is perplexing that the stinkiest of polluting vehicles on California roads (pre-1998 diesels) require zero bi-annual or transfer based smog test...but don't hate the playa, hate the game?

Under the hood is a RB25DET NEO twin-turbo turbocharged inline-6 taken from an R34 Skyline (non-GT-R) which would have been rated at 280 horsepower and 267 ft-lbs of torque...mind you, I said rated.  True horsepower from the glory days of the Japanese horsepower wars is not clear, but the seller has bolted additional performance enhancers in place -- expect it to eat through rear tires.

It is difficult to tell condition of the paint from the stylized and long distance pictures taken of the exterior, but it is clear that the interior is ugly.  If you ditch the gaudy wheels (and flatbrimmer streched look) but leave the ride height alone, and it could be a good looking wagon.

See a faster diesel titled California special?


  1. Ever see a gal who really isn't your type, but somehow you're really attracted to her? This is too stanced to be a proper Q-ship, but it's blocky styling is cleanly executed like the squared-off shoulders of a zoot suit. I could even live with the terrible fabric and attention from the ricer crowd. Looks like a winner!

  2. If memory serves, the DETT-designated engines are the twin turbo variants. This one, I believe, is a single turbo engine. Still, I imagine it is quite a bit of fun stuffed into this RWD wagon. I would be a bit concerned about how the stock rear end handles the additional power, simply because I know I would not be able to keep my foot out of it.
    As a kid, I loved these early Maximas for their squared off box-on-box styling. I could see myself driving this thing, after replacing most of the interior.

  3. I can't recall entirely, but this may be the first car I ever owned with a voice warning system. It declared, "The door is ajar," which it clearly wasn't... for it wasn't a jar, it was a door. Object recognition was not part of the feature.

  4. "Your door is ajar" was in a 1983 Chrysler 300e.....and many other Chryslers. It said that when you weren't in the car too which would help run the battery down along with the courtesy light because they didn't know how to put a timer to it yet...

  5. Clue me on how to get a Diesel title?

    1. There are two (legal) ways:

      1) Buy a car that was originally manufactured and sold as a diesel, so it already has a diesel title. Easiest option.

      2) Take a pre-1998 gas powered car and swap in a diesel engine that may have been available in that chassis from the manufacturer. Take the swapped car down to your local DMV, pull up to the inspection lane, get a vehicle verifier to fill out a form for "change of motive power" from gas to diesel. Walk into the DMV, state that you need to get your title changed, hand them the completed form from the guy outside, and wait for your smog-free title to show up.

  6. Tis car would say "right door is open", "lights are on", "key is in the ignition" and maybe a couple other things. I wold know, as it was my first car. Diesel and all. Same age as me. Luckily, girls weren't interested so it just hauled me and my friends and our surfboards around...slowly.

    This car was originally a diesel which makes for a brilliant swap. As long as you don't raise the suspicions of the CHP, you should be able to get away with driving it forever.


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