Behind The Scenes Roadkill Episode 64: Rotsun Gets Ford Power

0161971 Datsun 240z Roadkill Rotsun 50 Swap

Oh Rotsun. Why you hurt us when we love you so?

Wait, I forgot: SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t watched episode 64 on Motor Trend on Demand and you don’t want to see any clues about it before it comes out on YouTube in 35 days, just save this for later and go read something else on


0371971 Datsun 240z Roadkill Rotsun 50 Swap


If you have MTOD, enjoy the new episode? It’s got many things that are liked by us, including boost, engine swaps, puddle jumping, drag racing, gross interiors, leaking water pumps, and many burnouts. Some of those things we don’t like, but you’ll have to watch the episode to figure out which.

In this episode, the world’s most revered rust bucket gets a new heart, in the form of a used Ford 5.0L Mustang V-8  our of an ’87 Mustang. The little 5.0 was improved by the Power Stroke diesel turbo off the previous Chevy 4.3L that was in the Rotsun. We heard Ford 5.0L V-8 blocks break in half at 500 hp, but why would that stop us? Things start well of course, with at least one moment where DF calmly says, “It might be on fire.”

When the shoot began the Rotsun was already partially stripped. F&F had previously removed the junk V6 and five-speed. “The V6 had a broken crankshaft and the trans was missing Reverse and Fifth gears,” says Finnegan.  “Remarkably the Fox body 5.0 and trans fit into the ’71 240Z chassis with zero modifications. We had to build a trans crossmember and engine mounts but we didn’t have to cut any sheetmetal. The trans tunnel had plenty of clearance and the shifter hole was in the right location. Even the oil pan cleared the front crossmember. We reused the stock tubular exhaust manifolds after flipping them upside down and then built the turbo kit out of leftover junk from the Mustang, the Rotsun and stuff we found lying around the shop. I think it took about 6 days to do the entire swap and the only thing I’d like to go back in change is the cold side plumbing.” He says that in the future, he’d love to finally install an air-to-water intercooler or water/meth injection system, which was originally done on the V6 Freiburger and he installed. “It was an AEM water/meth kit (you can see the injector bung at the side of the carb hat) but somewhere along the line that disappeared. Anyway, the car is legitimately fast now and the turbo spools much quicker than it did on the Chevy V6. The car needs an automatic trans and a solid rear axle. That’s the only cheap and reliable way to thwart the next inevitable breakdown.”

1111971 Datsun 240z Roadkill Rotsun 50 Swap

Scroll on through for some of the magic moments in filming Roadkill Episode 64.

Something to Say?

6 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes Roadkill Episode 64: Rotsun Gets Ford Power

  1. At last… a happy ending… kinda… so far… and whatever qualifiers I can inject here. But it lives… and that’s the important part. This episode distills the essence of Roadkill. Only thing missing was an epic road trip. But this was… satisfying… to say the least. (gotta go; Freud is on the phone about my comments)

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  2. At first, I wasn’t looking forward to a V8 swap for the Rotsun. The V6, in my opinion, was what made the car so unique. I REALLY wanted to see that NASCAR V6 that Freiburger mentioned make a debut. But by the end of the episode, Freiburger and Fin’s reactions really sealed the deal. Watching the Rotsun be FAST for once (and not having a catastrophe outside of faulty door latches) was so worth it. Can’t wait for more.

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