Conversion to 1275 Engine & 5 Speed Gearbox

I am creating this post after the fact. Twenty-one years after the fact to be precise!

Unfortunately, I don’t have precise records, but in 2000-2001 we decided that the 948 cc engine just wasn’t powerful enough to provide the driving fun that I had hoped to experience. After shopping around a bit and doing some research my Dad and I decided to purchase a 1275 motor from Bill Perry at Rivergate. Bill completely rebuilt a 1275 that he had and added a new aluminum head. We also purchased a Datsun B210 5 speed gearbox conversion and had Bill assemble everything as one unit, crate it, and send it to us, essentially ready to install.

The engine numbers 12V/587Z/L7183. This engine was sourced from either an Austin-Healey Sprite, MK4 or from an MG Midget, MK3. The 587 engine was produced for North American Sales and was apparently rather rare in the States, so it may have been a Canadian car. The “L” stands for low compression, that is 8.0:1. The engine was produced  from 8/1971 to 8/1972. The engine, as produced at the time, would have been painted black.

Bill recommended using a Crane “Fireball” XR700 optical trigger ignition system and we installed one shortly after receiving the engine/gearbox package. We also purchased and installed the speedometer adapter kit available from Rivergate.

Rivergate Prepared 1275 Engine and Datsun 5 Speed

1275 Engine and Datsun 5 Speed

Before too long we also converted the original starter to a high-torque gear reduction starter and the generator to a Lucas alternator.


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About valv8988

Welcome to my website covering the history, restoration and “personalizations” to my small collection of classic cars. Feel free to email me with questions, suggestions and/or comments. I would love to have your feedback! Cheers, Lin Rose Harrisonburg, VA

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