1968 Datsun 1600 Roadster

In 1969 my 23 year old Dad bought a new car, it was a Datsun 2000 Roadster. He wasn’t able to pick it up so my Grandmother drove it home after my Grandfather dropped her off at the dealership. The story goes that she got home and more than 20 minutes later my Grandfather got home asking what her rush was. She said she kept it at 40 the whole time.

She was right, she kept it at “40” but 40 in this case is 4000 RPM’s and in 5th gear, that was in the neighborhood of 80 mph. Those crazy little sports cars with their tach in the center threw her off!

This Datsun was his second roadster, his first was a 1600. He loved both of these cars, but had a real soft spot in his heart for the 2000 with its larger engine and 5th gear! If you talk cars with my Dad, he always comes back to the little Datsuns and he has a bunch of stories about his cars. Well, for a long time these stories rattled around in my head and around 2008 I stumbled upon a 2000 roadster in Alaska, in a shipping container… Untouched for around 30 years. I really thought I should buy it, but it was in Alaska and I was not, so the distance really added costs that I couldn’t justify. I figured one day I would get my hands on one though.

In 2014 I was in the midst of preparing my condo to sell and shopping for a house. I headed over to our local cars and coffee and there was a little Datsun 1600 Roadster for sale. Ugh, I don’t need this, and sheesh, this one has had some work done to it so who knows what is under all that extra paint… But it sure was tempting. The British roadster guy ended up with this little car “kinda by accident.” I chose the responsible route and passed on the little car.

In 2015 I was getting the itch again. Man, I really need to just pull the trigger if I am going to do this! Turns out my friend Rhett bought the car from Cars and Coffee and I asked him what he was doing with it. The price started coming down every time I talked to him and at some point, the car was in my shop…

Immediately I had to debate, do I tell my parents? Do I wait till I am done and then show them? Hmm.. I opted to tell my Mom and Sister and not tell my Dad. Lets surprise him.

I dug into the little car and yes, my suspicions were correct, it certainly had a lot of undesirable traits. Rust, more rust, some dents… and a little more rust.

I started working around the car replacing sheet metal and making new parts. This project was going to teach me how to make parts, not how to buy them. I bought an english wheel, a bead roller, a mallet and sandbag and some hammers and dolly’s. There’s a lot to learn.

Front Passenger footwell:

Rear Inner fender:

Trunk area:

Front Passenger Fender (in Process):

And there is much more. Over the last year I recieved a couple tools as gifts from my parents that were specifically intended to work on the car… though my Dad didn’t know. My mom even made a special trip out here to work on the car to surprise my Dad too!

I have been getting fairly close to finishing the metal work for the car. Depending on motivation that could be done in the next couple months. But there is still a lot to do. From interior restoration, engine tune up, replacing belts and hoses and more I have been making the list…

Now, if this is all such a big secret, why am I publishing it on my website? Well. Turns out this thing is taking longer than anticipated. I am having a tough time keeping my mouth shut when I call home and my parents are planning trips out here. So I thought to myself, maybe its surprise enough… and maybe I can recruit help. So I called up my Dad last night and told him all about the car. I would say that his reaction was “Speechless.” Then I asked if he wanted to have some part in the restoration? Maybe restore the seats? Maybe the radio and center console? He sounded pretty interested in his speechless state… so Center console is going in the mail for him to restore. I suspect that radio will work better than the day it was new!

Most of the paint and bondo and other fillers are off the car right now, I am looking forward to getting it on the road, but expect more updates as I continue to make progress.

If you want to follow along on the forum that I have been posting it all too take a look here: 311s.org

As the Days blur to Nights

It has been an incredibly busy time in the life of Josh McGuckin. With two races coming up fast and two cars that seem like they will never be finished it has been a rush to try to make all the parts and assemble everything.

With Project Baja we need to have a running car that is ready to race by, gulp, July 7th. Holy crap that is way too soon and we are having terrible luck with parts right now. Shipments are being sent to the wrong place, the wrong unit, sent back, or they are simply delayed. It is very stressful right now, but we are pushing forward to make that car happen.


We have been fairly fortunate to have some good folks stop through the shop. Emme Hall was one of our recent guests. She was ready with her work boots on and we showed her how to make sparks the PB&J way.


Because we can’t seem to get enough punishment, we were offered a slightly larger work space which we have accepted! This sounds great and really, it is great. It is just really bad for timing. Our new space is about 150 ft away from our current space and we have to move in this week. THIS WEEK! HOLY CRAP! Last night we were down there throwing a bit of epoxy on the floor to clean it up a bit and make it easier to clean in the future. Tonight that will finish up and tomorrow we are putting in Pallet racks to create better more usable storage. All that time we are also working on the car, so there will be a bit of a rotation of people doing many things at a high rate of speed…


Of course if you know me you know that I have been helping out the RaceKern team for a while as well. I can’t just abandon them and even though I have helped out a lot less than I have in years past I am still down there helping whenever I can. The Kerns are gearing up for Pikes Peak again. When is that again? Oh yes, that is July 4th-8th. Oh and when is testing again? FRIDAY! Holy CRAP. Seriously, how does all of this stuff get jammed together!?

So the EVO (aka EVIL) is still in many parts, but it does run now. It has suspension, tires, wheels, engine, exhaust and more! What doesn’t it have? Basically, it has no body panels from the front quarters back. Yeah, that is a lot. However parts are popping off molds, fasteners are flying about this way and that and hopefully this thing will be bolted together by Thursday… Wow, that seems so close and wow there is so much left to do!






Late nights are pretty common these days and I am sure that sleep will become more and more rare as the month wears on.


We’ll be back at it again tonight, Keep your eyes peeled for new posts soon and listen to this engine sing for a quick minute before you run away!

Esinem Designs

Back at Metro I made some friendships with some good folks. Each has gone their separate way to figure out their career and I got a call from one of them just the other day. Jed has been doing a lot of projects out of his garage in order to get started. Furniture, custom work, bar’s and more. “And more” is something you may want to explore on his site… some of it is pretty funny.

Esinem sounds like S and M… so when you see “Paddles” on his site you may get an idea what I’m talking about. The cool thing about Jed is that he is open to anything. When he was looking for costume stuff with his wife for a 1920’s Gangster party they were having he found his way into a vintage shop. He found some wooden… toys. and was surprised at the quality of craftsmanship and when approached by the shop owner he found himself in a new line of work. Two weeks later he was producing paddles for the shop and to this day they have been a success! It is a fun story that you would expect from him even if you could have never guessed it.

Recently Jed has been making some custom pieces and was commissioned for a Magicians table. Something portable, something antique, something cool… When I got a call from him he asked if I would come take a few photos of it. It is a very cool piece and the Magician was very impressed as well. I’ve been horribly busy, so I unfortunately didn’t have enough battery power to keep shooting all the details, but you’ll get the idea.

Check out some photos and check out his site when you have a chance. http://esinemdesigns.com/

Magicians Table

Magicians Table

Magicians Table

Magicians Table