440 CA18

Our other CA18det powered Mk1.  Built with less race action and more street driving in mind.

The car

Aussie built 440 it retains the original silver blue metallic and blue interior it came with from the factory.  Rescued from being a paddock basher on a farm,  the shell was mostly rust free coming from a dry climate and was a great basis for a conversion.  It’s currently undergoing a ground up rebuild.  Runs full registration and is fully engineered in Victoria.

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The interior

Just a few upgrades like new carpet, GT gauges, center console, basic stereo and speakers, Recaro bucket seats and the ubiquitous sports steering wheel.  A boost gauge will also be added to keep an eye on things and a refurbished padded dash top will complete the inside.


Car ran the factory Nissan CA18det engine, turbo and ECU for years without drama.  The small standard turbo spooled up very quickly making the car challenging to drive in sub-optimal weather conditions.  However, a few little niggles started to creep in – mainly traced back to the loom and sensors  – so we decided it was time for a freshen up.  Things slowly got out of hand, resulting in a full rebuild.

Complete engine

Technology has moved on since Geoff first built the CA18 for Julie’s car, so we will be doing things slightly different with this engine.  The aim is not for outright horsepower, rather a strong and drivable street engine that reaches full boost quickly. The great thing about ECU’s these days is that you can adjust the ramping of the boost according to variables like road speed, gear position, or throttle position and so on.  In other words, you can build an engine that makes fantastic power, but tune it with the ECU to make it very controllable.

The engine in this car features:

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Fuel will be delivered through 1000cc Bosch EV14 injectors controlled by a ViPEC V44 ECU.  Sparks are provided by a M&W CDI with Honda plug top coils.  A turbo-back 3 inch exhaust with a high flow catalytic converter and straight through muffler take care of breathing duties.  Exact turbo size is yet to be decided but is likely to be a twin scroll Garrett on a custom manifold with oil and water fed by braided lines.  Custom intercooler will be painted black and cooler piping will fill the rest of the engine bay.


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Running the original Nissan 5 speed with a short shifter that reduces lever throw.  A custom tail shaft runs through a tail shaft loop to a narrowed Borg-Warner ‘Salisbury’ style diff from a R31 Skyline.  4 pin LSD with 28 spline axles have held up well to the standard engine, but we will see how it handles things once it’s all back together.  4.1:1 ratio suits the engines willingness to rev.

Suspension and brakes

Front struts have been braced and converted to narrow spring platforms to provide ride height adjustability without losing suspension travel – ‘keeper’ springs keep things captive at full suspension droop.  Caster and camber can be changed at the strut top and 24 mm swaybar (or anti-roll bar) is adjustable for camber. Strut inserts are 4 way adjustable Koni’s modified to fit the Mk1 strut tube and strut tops.  Tie rods have been braced with thick wall tubing pressed over the skinny original tube that bends when you look at it.

A locally sourced 280 mm ‘Hoppers Stoppers’ kit will be fitted as the Volvo 4 piston setup originally on the car was designed to fit under 13 inch wheels and there are much better options available now.  15 inch wheels are freely available and give much better tire selection, so there is little issue in not being able to run 13 inch wheels as the Hoppers kit requires minimum 15′ wheel for clearance.  Brake master is one of our 7/8 bore tandem cylinders mated to a VH40 brake booster.

Out back is single leaf spring mated to a Caltrac arrangement – GT anti-tramp bars are mostly redundant once the Caltrac’s are fitted – and an aftermarket swaybar. R31 Nissan Skyline disk brakes and handbrake arrangement are retained for simplicity.  In future we may consider installing a Watts link to this car for improved lateral location of the diff.

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