When you visit Nikolas Motorsport, you will see any number of unique cars on the premises. While not a direct part of the business, these cars are a part of our lives. Owner, David Nikolas has spent most of his life involved in racing. Starting with motorcycles (both road racing and drag racing) he moved to cars in the late 1970s.
One of the first cars up was a complete restoration on a BMW 2002 tii. This car had european turbo flares, chrome trim deleted, and a highly modified engine and suspension. It was subsequently upgraded to a turbo engine. It made a great street and track car. However, it finally got to the point where metal fatigue had affected almost every structural component (you can only weld in reinforcements for so long).
Following the tii, was the pictured full race IMSA McClaren 320 Turbo clone. The original car was driven by David Hobbs. This car was a beast. With full roll cage, custom flares, highly modified turbo engine, bigger diff, and custom built suspension. Unfortunately, this car falls in the category of “I wish I never sold it”.
A stint driving and maintaining a 1968 McKee OLDS Can Am car was next. This car was liveried as the Smothers Brothers car, and was the first race car Paul Newman ever drove. It was used in the movie “Winning”
The first major race car restoration David undertook was the 1981 “Budweiser” March 817 CanAm car. This car was truly a basket of parts. It is one of two remaining March 817s, and was driven by Al Unser, Teo Fabi, and Bobby Rahal. It was owned by Newman Racing. The restoration required fabrication of suspension components, engine/transmission structural components, fitting of an engine, and all of those many items like wiring, shifter, body mounts, body repair, etc, that are required to build a car from the ground up. This car has been successfully campaigned in vintage race events across the country for the past 20 plus years.
In recent years the opportunity presented itself to purchase the remaining inventory of the Brabham racing team which went out of business in the early 1990s. Along with a warehouse full of spare parts, jigs, hardware, etc. came a fully restored Brabham BT-60. This beautiful car was equipped with a Judd V-10 engine, and featured a tub built of carbon fiber. This was the first Formula One car that world champion driver Damon Hill drove during the 1992 season. While the car and most of the parts are now gone, David has many interesting components on display at Nikolas Motorsport.
David’s most recent project is a 1988 Fabcar GTP car. After Fabcar completed contract work for Porsche in the 962 GTP program, they designed and built a single GTP car for a private customer. While very similar to a PORSCHE 962, this car had many upgrades/design differences and ran a small block Chevy engine. After a number of sidelined attempts to rebuild the car after a fire, Fabcar CVM III-001 was purchased by David and arrived in pieces. David spent a number of years researching the car before significant work was undertaken. After a complete restoration/rebuild, it is now complete, and has been run in vintage races as well. As is the case with any race car, this one is still in the development stage.
Through the years there have been a number of other race cars which David has driven, repaired, modified, etc. In the gallery that follows you will see a number of photos from the past.