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Authentic Scarab - Built 2/28/79

1976 Datsun / Nissan Scarab (Modified 280Z)

1976 Datsun Authentic "Scarab" #153

Two Owner, 72,319 Original California Miles

Rust Free Car with Interesting History!


As with most good ideas (at least when it comes to things automotive!) many of the good ideas come from California. A good example is Scarab Engineering, founded by Brian Morrow, that produced the "Scarab", a V8 powered Datsun Z car (240, 260 or 280Z), in the mid seventies / early eighties.

Specifically, production of the Scarab began in 1974 and ended in 1981 primarily as a result of legal action by the EPA against Scarab Engineering. The EPA claimed that the use of earlier V8 engines in later model cars was a violation of smog requirements. A long (and expensive) battle resulted in the demise of Scarab Engineering and the last car is believed to have been built sometime in 1981.

What was so special about the Scarab? Well, unlike some aftermarket performance products, the Scarab's that were produced by Scarab Engineering were sold as a "turn- key", high performance "Z" cars. They were engineered utilizing specially built components and "Z" cars that were sourced either by Scarab, or provided by the customer. All of the cars produced were built to a high standard and included all of the components to make the cars well balanced, drivable but considerably higher performance Datsun "Z's."

While component parts (kits) were also sold by Scarab, the factory produced cars contained all of the parts to convert the car to Chevy V8 drive-line. Perhaps most important the cars included components that made the cars safer, improved handling and, needless to say, made the cars significantly faster. The Scarab design was unique in many respects including the fact that the conversion did not add significant weight and, with the use of custom designed components (engine mounts, transmission mounts, bell housing, etc), there was no cutting, welding, or modifications required for installation of the engine/transmission. The cars also included revised springs, struts, shift linkage, radiator, fan, pulley, drive-shaft, motor/transmission mounts and much, much more.

Each car that came from Scarab was built to similar specifications although customers could specify engine and a few other options. The factory produced cars left with the coveted Scarab emblems and these were never sold as part of the component kits. The approximately 200 cars produced by Scarab had Scarab emblems in several locations including:

- On the roof "sail panel" (behind the side rear window)
- On the lower side if each front fender
- On the right rear side of the spoiler
- A dash plaque reading "Custom Built by Scarab"
- A plaque placed below the VIN ID plate o the left side (back) of the door jamb with the cars Scarab ID #

In late 1981 a few cars (exact number unknown) were produced with somebody kits / options that included fender flares, larger rear "whale tail", etc.


Much of the historical information contained in this write-up comes thanks to Craig Sparkes. Mr. Sparkes is undoubtedly one of the more knowledgeable owner / enthusiasts when it comes to the Scarab cars. Not only does he own and authentic Scarab, but he has done considerable research (over the course of 13+ years!) and has worked tirelessly to identify all of the remaining, original Scarab cars. As an owner of Scarab cars, he is knowledgeable about the cars and has assisted owners and prospective owners in separating authentic cars from inferior copies (of which there are many). His extensive research has led to the identification of only 18 cars, all in the USA. They are in locations as follows:

Car #

# 1 - Missouri

# 3 - North Carolina

#5 - Colorado

#90 - California

#133 - Alabama

#153 - California (This Vehicle)

#154 - Arkansas

#155 - California (Mr. Sparks's car)

#157 - Wisconsin

#161 - Michigan

# 162 - California

#189 - Florida
Four (4) additional cars were produced that appear to be correct Scarab cars but they do not carry the door ID plate. They are located in Ca., Illinois, North Carolina, and Nevada.

So, how does Mr. Sparks know how many cars were actually produced? Well, Edelbrock produced specially cast valve covers for the Scarab (with Scarab script) for the cars and only 200 sets were manufactured (Craig actually verified this with Edelbrock). The valve covers were ONLY used on cars that they produced and car # 189 is accounted for and currently in Florida. So, logically, we can assume that somewhere between 189 - 200 cars were actually produced.


The Scarab included the following:

- GM V8 (Typically 327 c.i. but could be any Chevy V8 by) customer request

- Carter AFB 625 CFM 4-Bbl carburetor

- Borg Warner 4-speed manual transmission

- Rack & pinion steering

- P7 radials

- Koni adjustable shock

- Front & rear sway bars

- Teflon compression strut bushings

- High performance rack & pinion mounts

- Specially designed radiator for improved cooling

- High performance water pump

- Variable flex fan

- 22 quart capacity system

- Borg Warner T10 & Hurst linkage

- Specially tuned suspension handling package

- Adjustable Koni shocks

- High performance brakes

- True magnesium alloy, 3-piece BBS wheels

- Contoured Recaro reclining bucket seats

- Built in headrests

- Door panels with glove soft hand sewn Scottish leather

- Deep pile carpet throughout

- Sound proofing

- Front air-dam with brake ducts

- Rear three-piece mounted spoiler

- Functional hood vents for engine compartment breathing / cooling

- Exterior rally mirrors

The Scarab has a weight distribution of 52/48 and weighed in at just over 2,600 lbs.


0-30 mph 1.9 Sec

0-40 mph 3.1 Sec

0-50 mph 4.2 Sec

0-60 mph 5.6 Sec

Standing Mile = 13.2 (112 mph)

Fuel Mileage: 20 mpg Highway


This 1976 Datsun 280Z was purchased by its original owner in 1978 with the sole intention of converting the vehicle into a factory produced, authentic Scarab. The car was completed on February 28, 1979 and carried Scarab # 153. The car was originally built using Scarab's 327 c.i. Chevrolet power, mated to a four-speed Borg Warner manual transmission.

This car (Number #153) is made even more rare due to its unusual "production history" as researched and documented by one of the Scarabs foremost authorities. Specifically, approximately two years ago, another Car # 153 surfaced. At that time, the cars original owner listed it for sale and proof of the cars originality was offered (including photos and scanned copies of the Purchase Order). At the time (and to this day), it was believed that this car was, in fact an authentic car based on its documentation and the details of the information provided. So, are there two authentic Scarabs, both carrying the #153? Well, it is the opinion of the expert / experts that this is indeed the case.

To understand how this occurred, some additional history is important. Brian Morrow, the owner of Scarab Industries who built these cars was considered by many to be the best business man. It seems that Mr. Morrow was a very good car builder, but not an especially good business man. This is probably the reason, in part, that the company did not succeed.

During 1979, he was in the midst of fighting the EPA lawsuit and somewhat distracted by building two cars for the racing purposes. So, when Scarab Industries went bankrupt in mid-late 1981, everything left was sold off and Brian disappeared. So there are NO records from the company. However, over the past 13 years (and after considerable effort), Mr. Sparkes was able to piece together a fairly accurate picture of events, cars produced and the 18+ cars that remain.

The "blue # 153 listed for sale here has a build date in February of 1979 and the "red" # 153 has a date in June. No Scarab cars have been identified with build dates in between those dates suggesting that an error was made and the two cars were stamped with the same number. The other important fact is that the red car has a build date just a few days earlier than car # 154 (one of the track / race cars). The logical conclusion is that Brian lost track of his numbers either on your car or on the blue car and duplicated the serial # resulting in two Car # 153's.

It is absolutely critical to point out that a close personal inspection of car number 153 (Blue car) revealed that the car has too many authentic Scarab production items to not be a true, produced Scarab car. The photos that have been provided of the red #153 also suggest that it is authentic. As an aside, the red car # 153 is the only identified "factory" car with the optional wide body kit (the other example being car # 157).

When the car was first completed, it owner used the car primarily as a street "sleeper" and participated in some Saturday night stoplight to stoplight "activities. He decided that the Scarab needed more power and the car was returned to Scarab to have a turbocharger installed. The necessary changes were made to the engine and the car left Scarab complete with a turbocharger and a rare, in-dash turbo gauge (more on that later). A few years later, the car developed a problem with one of the pistons and Gale Banks of Banks Turbo's was commissioned to build a small block 400 designed for a turbo. The engine was installed and was back on the road again, this time with even more horsepower. A short time later, in a friendly street "competition", the Scarab was beaten by a twin turbo powered (Chevrolet) Jaguar so the car was brought back to another facility (by this time, Scarab was no longer in business) for even more power. This time a twin turbo, 400 c.i. Chevrolet with significant modifications was contemplated.
Unfortunately the development of the engine/drive-line proved to be problematic and they could never get the car sorted to the owner's high standards. Some eight year later and after a substantial investment, the shop went bankrupt and the car was behind a locked gate. The owner moved on to other projects and the car was left at the shop for many years.

The second and current owner learned about the car and its rarity, and made an offer to purchase the car. After considerable negotiation, the owner reluctantly agreed to sell the car under the condition that it would be "brought back to life" and returned to a configuration that was closer to the original Scarab.

The new owner took a few years to decide what approach to take with the Scarab but finally decided to complete a restoration, retaining as many of the cars original components as possible (interior, badging, spoilers, wheels, ID plates, etc). The car was completely gone through and received new running gear, mechanical components and, high quality, complete re-paint and freshening of the cosmetics.

In 1995 the owner heard about the "Pony Express" a high performance, "On-Road" driving event held on Nevada public roads. The event (and other, similar events that he entered between 1996-1999) provided the opportunity to drive your car over the course of 100 miles in various speed categories. The goal was to get as close to the maximum speed of your class. During his initial event in 1996 he entered in the 110 mph class finishing 9th with an average speed of 108.779 mph. Another event, 6 months later (same speed class) resulted in a 2nd place finish with an average speed of 110.048 mph.

Well, feeling the "need for speed" (or more speed), the car underwent a mechanical upgrade including the addition of a 5-speed transmission, Tokico adjustable struts, Ibock springs, and urethane bushing. The car was entered in the 120 mph class and then the 130 mph division with the following results:


Pony Express 6/97 120 MPH 3rd 120.071

Elko Gamblers 9/07 130 MPH 2nd 133.431

Pony Express 6/99 130 MPH 1st 129.991

The car was clocked at 150 MPH with an estimated top speed of 165 MPH (limited by V rated tires).



Chevrolet 350 c.i. - 4 Bolt Main & Bored .030 Over

KB Hypertech Racing Pistons 8:5:1

APR Rod & Main Bolts

Roller Rockers

Chevrolet Cast-Iron Angle Plug Heads (Ported & Polished)

Edlebrock 600cfm 4- BBL Carburetor

MSD Ignition

Sanderson Block Hugger Headers

2.5 inch Rxhaust with Turbo Mufflers & Equalizer Tube

Howe Aluminum Radiator

Black magic Electric Fan


BORG WARNER WORLD CLASS T5 Camaro Manual Transmission

Overdrive .73 Gears in OD

3" Drive Shaft

Chevrolet Truck U-Joints

Datsun R2000 Limited Slip Differential with 3:14:1 Gears


Eibach Progressive Rate Springs

Tokico Illumina Adjustable Struts

Front & Rear Sway Bars

Hurst / Airheart 4-Piston Brake Calipers

BBS 3-Piece Racing Wheels (15" x 8")

Yokohama AVS VR 15 Tires


240 Z Bumpers & Front Grill

Beautiful, High Quality Paint (Complete including underside of hood, door jambs, etc.)

No Rust (Refer to undercarriage photographs)

No Damage History / Excellent Panel Fit

Street Legal (All lights, turn signals, etc. functional)
NOTE: Car carries a permanent license/registration in the state of Montana and a clear transferrable Montana title. PLEASE CHECK YOUR STATE REGULATIONS TO BE CERTAIN THAT THE CAR CAN BE LEGALLY REGISTERED IN YOUR STATE.

Original Scarab Body

Modifications, emblems (RARE!)


Recaro Seats (As per Scarab production cars)

Panasonic Stereo & 8 CD Player / Kicker Speaker

Momo Steering Wheel

Roll Bar


Horsepower: 310 @ 4500 rpm

Torque: 375 lb per sq ft. @ 3200 rpm


This is a very attractive example of the highly rare Scarab "Z." Perhaps most important, the car is totally free from any rust and the quality of the paint and body is very good. There is no major damage and, outside of minor imperfections that are consistent with the vintage of the vehicle, the car is very presentable in every respect. The car has remained in California all of its life and is registered in Montana due to the owner's move and establishment of his primary residence in that state. However, the car has not been exposed to the elements and has been used minimally over the years accumulating only 72,319 miles from new.

The car has been documented as original by Craig Sparks (who actually personally inspected this car #153) who confirmed the presence of original Scarab components, emblems, and other identifiable items. While the car does not have its original engine & transmission, it is equipped with Chevrolet (actually improved) drive-line as it would have been "in the day." It runs and drives very well and the mechanical components are strong. While the car was entered in high speed events, it was never abused by its mature, cautious owner/driver. As enthusiasts know, there is a difference between abusing a car and driving it "enthusiastically." This car has not seen "jack rabbit" starts, smoking tires, etc. The car is very drivable on the street and, while high performance, it idles smoothly and does not hesitate, or balk. The car has been well cared for. It passed the recent safety inspection with no significant findings.

The interior is very nice including the original Recaro seats, high quality door panels and other interior items. The dash has the typical Datsun dash cracks and is covered with a dash pad. The carpet is excellent and the rear cargo area is clean and also in very good condition. The instrumentation is functional (of course, the rare Scarab turbo gauge is disconnected, but in place) as are the lights, turn signals, and brake lights.


This is an affordable, highly rare Scarab. With only 18 cars identified it truly represents a piece of automotive history. Additionally, the Scarab was a high quality "build" that had the potential to be used on the street or for the occasional track / autocross day. This car will appeal to the enthusiast that is looking for an affordable, high performance car that is truly unique. You'll sure to be the first on your block (perhaps even the first in your state!!) to have one of these!!
Please let us know if we can answer any questions.


* ATTENTION: California Buyer's.This car is not California Smog legal. While it carries a legal, Montana title, it will not pass smog and will be sold to California buyer's (and other states that do not allow its legal use) as an "Off Road" vehicle intended for use off of public roads (racing, etc.)

* We have had very good success utilizing UShip.com in locating transporters (especially for relatively short distances), and recommend giving them a try. For long distance enclosed transport we recommend Showtime Motorsports (enclosed transport only) for competitively price national moves.

* As with virtually all collector/specialty vehicles, we find that parts and resources are readily available for this (and most every vehicle), thanks in large part to the Internet!

* In addition to the purchase price of the vehicle, California buyers will be subject to sales tax, documentation fee, DMV transfer fees and license/registration. Out-of-state buyers will be responsible for the purchase price of the vehicle and any local taxes/fees will be the purchaser's responsibility to pay in their respective state.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if the vehicle is delivered or driven in California and driven on California roads, sales-tax, license registration and transfer fees will be assessed per California law.

* While we encourage telephone calls to discuss this vehicle in greater detail we will not respond to inquiries asking "What is the reserve". Also, if you would prefer that we call you to answer any questions about the vehicle; shipping alternatives, etc. please e-mail us with your telephone number and will gladly get back in touch with you.

* As with any collectible vehicle of this vintage we are unable to provide a warranty or guarantee of condition. However, we make every effort to accurately represent our vehicles, and highlight both positive items as well as areas that require attention. We ask that prospective buyers consider our EBay history/feedback, standing in the community, length of time in business, and other factors when purchasing a collectible vehicle from Classic Cars Ltd.

* Please keep in mind that, as with any used vehicle, minor cosmetic issues/flaws may be present that add to the "patina" of the car and are a part of even the best restoration, or even a relatively new, used "pre-owned" vehicle. Also, ownership of a collector / high performance car (or any other type vehicle, for that matter) is more enjoyable if the owner is familiar with the "realities" of these unique cars. Unlike more modern day vehicles, these cars require regular, ongoing care/maintenance and some mechanical knowledge, patience, and understanding can make the experience considerably more pleasant. That said, collector / "specialty" car owners will tell you (emphatically) that they love their cars and wouldn't trade them for anything!!


As always, we recommend that you carefully review the seller's background of any collector car being sold over the Internet. We believe that it is important to ask yourself a number of questions including, but not limited to:

- How long have they been in business?

- How much experience do they have with collector cars?

- How many positive collector car vehicle sales have
completed (positive EBay feedback)?

- How detailed/complete is the description of the vehicle?

- Do the photos show details of the interior, exterior, top, chrome, etc. or are they simply "Glamour Shots" taken from a distance?

- Does the seller have a Surety Bond to protect the financial transaction?

- What about insurance, licensing by the state, and a local business license?

- Does the seller (if a business) have any DMV (Motor Vehicle) complaints and/or other history of legal action, grievances?

- Does the seller enjoy a favorable local and national/international reputation?

- Can the seller assist with funding sources, transport and out of state/country sales?


* Classic Cars Ltd. has been in the same, small, California town for over 15 years. We operate a small "brick & mortar", indoor showroom, and specialize in the sale, consignment, and purchase of sports, high performance and specialty vehicles of all types. We have a particular interest in sports cars and unique vehicles.

* The majority of our vehicles come from local, private owners and collectors, and many were sold new in California. We appreciate that rust free cars, with excellent documentation and history are especially attractive to our buyers both locally, and around the country. As a result, we do not purchase our collectible cars from "distressed" sales, such as wholesale auctions, salvage sales, or lien sales. We do not sell vehicles with salvage titles, or those that have a history of significant accident damage or repair.

* Please review our feedback on eBay (user name Never22Many) representing over 450 positive transactions to buyers all over the United States / World.

* We are fully insured, bonded, and licensed for collector car sales all over the United States/World.

* Classic Cars Ltd. carries a $50,000 Surety bond to cover financial transactions

* We enjoy excellent relationships with a number of transport companies and, as a result, can often times obtain preferred pricing for vehicle shipping. Please give us a call and we will be glad to refer you to suitable transport companies. Needless to say, we would recommend a quality, enclosed transporter that is experience with moving high quality, collectible cars.

* We frequently sell vehicles to out of State / out of country buyers, and will be glad to provide references for buyers in your area.

Thank you,

Classic Cars Ltd.


Body Type / Style:Coupe
Exterior Color:Blue
Interior Color:Black Recaro
Transmission:   5 Speed Manual


100% Street Lgal
5-Speed Transmission
AM/FM/Casette Radio
Aluminum Racing Radiator
Custom Interior
Dual Side Mirrors
Fire Extinguisher
  Fire Extinguisher
Front Spoiler
Front Sway Bar
Lowered Slightly
Recaro Seats
Roll Bar

72,319 Original Miles

California Car

NO Rust

Removable Decals From Road "Events"

Original Scarab Rear Spoiler

Beautiful High Quality Paint / Body

No Accident Damage / History

Very Straight / Clean

Louvered Hood

240Z Bumpers (Front & Rear)

Scarab Added Air Dam / Spoiler

Scarab Added 3-Piece BBS Wheels

Street Legal (Check Your State For Smog OK

Nice Body Gaps

Excellent Door Fit

Right Rear Quarter

Clear Montana Title

Left Rear Quarter

Removable Event BBS Decals

Left Front Fender

Louvers Close

Front Hood

Left Headlight

Authentic Scarab

Fewer Than 200 Ever Produced!

BBS Wheels - Close

Fender Mounted Emblem

Spoiler Mounted Emblem

left Rear Tail Light - Close

Right Rear Tail Light - Close

Reaqr Window

Original Scarab (Recaro) Interior

Dash - Driver's Side

Very Clean Interior

Dash Cover (Minor Cracks in Dash)

Mesh Headrests

Very Nice Condition Recaro's

Left Door Panel

Right Door Panel

Tidy Rear Area / Roll Bar


RARE Scarab Turbo Boost Gauge

Center Gauge Cluster

Momo Steering Wheel

Very Clean Underside of Hood

Engine #1

Engine #2

Engine #3

Engine #4

Engine #5

Engine #6

Engine #7

Engine #7

Engine #8

Driver's Side on Lift


Passenger Side on Lift

Left Rear Underside

Right Rear Underside

Left Rear to Front

No Rust Undercarriage / Floors

Safety Check Jsut Performed

No Rust Front Fender Wells

Rust Free Rocker Panels

Driver Side Rocker Panel - No Rust


Rear Suspension #1

Rear Suspension #2

Rear to Front Pass. Side Underside

Front - Underside

Beautiful Example

Only 18 Known to Exist Today

Pleasanton, CA 925-846-1451 Email