(Words by Kaleb Kelley, Photos by Tony Huntimer) We all know that Chad and Brian at BANGshift are not only purveyors of racing nostalgia, but also the lovers of all things weird. When David Carroll gave me a call about his new Vega project, I knew it had BANGshift written all over it. David’s plan is to take a weird car and give it a facelift racecar-style with a modern powerplant, but let’s start off with some backstory.
David’s an interesting guy who likes to not only go fast, but stand out while doing it. He’s owned 4×4 Chevy trucks, 8 Miata’s, 3 Nova’s, Two Camaro’s, a Mini Cooper, Datsun Roadster, Fox Body Mustang, MGB, Suburbans and most recently, a 1975 Datsun 280Z. Z’s are popular and their popularity is snowballing, but this isn’t your average Datsun. He built it with a purpose. A street car that can hold its own on a race track or an autocross course. It’s his ultimate track toy that serves a dual purpose as a weekend boulevard bruiser. Under the hood you’ll find a commonality in many modern-day builds, an LS powerplant. It may not be common in a Datsun, but it does feel right. With the LS3 Road Assault Package from Tilden Motorsports, this 2,800-pound car throws down 540 horsepower to the fat Falken’s out back.
Not only is it fast, but David’s learned to drive the hell out of it too. He did a few GoodGuys autocross events and local autocross events, but where I first saw the car was at OPTIMA’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car series. I’m a photography for the series, so I see all of the cars, have to know the cars, and have a list in my head of my favorite cars in the series. The second I saw David’s incredibly confusing, heavily stickered Datsun, it earned its place on the list. Then, I heard I start up. It gained a few spots. Then, I saw him powerslide around a corner during the autocross… Yeah its easily become one of my favorite cars of the series. Not only is the car awesome, but David’s as good of a dude as they come. That’s why I’m excited to see this new build and his new Youtube show, NorCal Garage. WATCH THE FIRST EPISODE OF NORCAL GARAGE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE
Meet his new baby; Project De La Vega. The name came from him bringing home a big “surprise” for his wife, A.K.A. buying a car without consulting her. The only way he could talk her into keeping it was to let her give it the hallowed project name. She’s a big Mask of Zorro fan and decided that the man under the mask, Don Diego de la Vega, was the proper namesake for David’s new car.
The autocross bug gets the best of us. It gave David a big helping when he first discovered it. Since he’s already into turning, he figured this lightweight Vega project must be the corner carver of his Chevy dreams. The car kind of started as an idea to put wide flares and fat Falkens on all four corners. Then he realized he needed a lightweight, powerful engine. This is where things got fun.
He plans to put one of Chevrolet’s new LTG 2.0 inline-4’s under the hood. With Chevrolet Performance selling this engine in crate motor form with a 6-speed transmission, it seems like the perfect fit for his lightweight Vega. With this featherweight powertrain, he’ll get 272hp and 295 lb-ft of torque straight out of the box, I mean..crate. He hopes to turn that up a little bit to get well over 300 horsepower to the rear wheels. With dual-overhead camshafts with continuously variable valve timing, direct injection, forged internals, a Rotocast aluminum cylinder heads, and last-but-not-least, a twin-scroll turbocharger, this is technological piece of work. No basic carbureted sbc’s for this Vega, it will receive the best lightweight power Chevy offers.
With many of the details being worked out, the car’s build will be an adventure as all builds are. David’s first plan is to get a proper roll cage in for safety. I’ve seen his driving and a roll cage is a needed addition to his new car. As he decides what components to use, we’ll update you with what he does for the suspension, brakes, interior, rear end and the rest of the dirty details. David and his eccentric brother-in-law, Landon, are taking this to the next level and making YouTube videos as they build this car and calling it NorCal Garage. There pilot episode introducing the Vega just dropped, so check it out and subscribe to stay up to date! Stay tuned for update on Project De La Vega BANGshifters!