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Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to head in a very different direction when it came to participating in high-performance driving events and time trial competition. I parked my modern, 400-horsepower sport sedan and picked up a 1978 Datsun 280Z with the goal of transforming it into a reliable and fun track car.

My thinking was simple: since I drive brand new vehicles every day as an automotive journalist, I wanted my track toy to represent something completely outside of that experience. I also wanted a light car that would be reasonably affordable to maintain and simple to work on — and a Datsun checked off each of those boxes quite nicely.

Still, it’s definitely been a learning process. I grew up around classic cars and have owned antiques in the past, but I’ve never put them through the stress test that regular track driving represents. I made some mistakes and discovered a few surprises, but I definitely don’t regret it, as the rewards of slipping free from things like electronic stability control and power steering have been matched by the distinct pleasure that comes with showing up on pit lane in a unique vehicle.

Check out these five things I learned while driving an old car on the track.
Read more about the 5 Things You Learn Driving an Old Car On the Track at
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