Under the Hood: #280 Sidewaz Rally Datsun 280Z
Over the years, the sport of rally has been blessed with a number of exciting builds, from the Group B monsters that once traveled the world to current WRC-spec machinery and the Open class cars that we see in the Rally America National Championship today. But while new rides make a major splash whenever they debut, old school rally beasts always attract plenty of attention whenever fans get a chance to see them.
Greg Healey’s 1978 Datsun 280Z is certainly in the latter category, and has been ever since he debuted it more than a decade ago. Healey and Phil Barnes will return the Sidewaz Rally ride to the stages at Rally Colorado later this month, after Healey and fill-in co-driver Jimmy Brandt took it to a pair of Group 5 podiums in both regionals at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. Learn a little more about one of the most unique cars in the Rally America paddock:
When did you pick up this car and where did you get it?
I bought it out of a barn in 2004, and made it a rally car.
Any nicknames for the car?
Cindy Krolikowski calls it Moe.
Why was this the right car for you to use in Rally America?
It's different, classic, and really gets attention at Parc Exposé, since most of the younger crowd don't know what it is, and the older crowd all had friends who had one!
Aside from safety regulations, what have you done to improve its performance?
Lower final drive, mild engine mods and better suspension.
When it’s not rallying, where’s the home base for this car?
In my garage in East Greenbush, NY.
When was your first event with this car and how did you do?
Maine Summer in 2005, and we won our class.
Has anybody else rallied this car over the years?
A couple friends have driven it in rallycross events, but no one else has driven it on a stage event.