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John Wayland with White Zombie
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White Zombie Triumphant

A not-so-meek little, white '72 Datsun electric car that blows the doors off its musclebound gasoline competitors.

By EV World

Once upon a time there was a humble little 1972 Datsun 1200 sedan. It was efficient and affordable, but had to work hard just to get out of its own way.

Then along came John Wayland of Portland, Oregon who saw the car's potential. Stripped of its timid gasoline heart and lungs, along with just about everything else except the driver's seat, it might make a formidable drag racer with the right combination of motors, controller and batteries.

That is how this non-descript Datsun 1200 became the muscle car killer known as "White Zombie." Powered by a unique pair of in-line, 9-inch electric motors that use a common shaft, a Zilla 2K controller and 840 pounds of Enersys lead-acid batteries, the car dominates a field of high-powered, high-priced muscle cars from Mustangs to Vetts to Vipers.

On a pleasant July night in Portland, EV World got to witness the Zombie in action. Using a combination of digital photos and video, we assembled a short, 1:23 minute video montage to help give our readers get a sense of what the man and the machine are like.

Although Zombie turned in its best time after EV World left the track, Wayland explained the next day, that the last run wasn't totally uneventful. His driver found at the end of the quarter mile that he couldn't stop the car. The accelerator was stuck and the car just kept going, grinding a flat spot on the right front tire where it locked up on the pavement as he frantically tried to brake the car. Out of desperation, his driver pulled the emergency cut off switch, killing power to the massive twin motors under the hood, allowing him to slow the car and drive it back to the pit area, accompanied by a distinct thump, thump, thump.

As someone noted wryly the next morning, this is why tires are made round.

Undaunted, Wayland was determined to put new tires on the car and race it that night, if he could figure out why the car wouldn't energize. That last, hair-raising run down the track had apparently done more than just cook his tires. It had also fried something in the controller.

But then you'd probably have "issues" if 1,400 amps of electric power suddenly coursed through you too.

For more information on the electric car fraternity in Portland, checkout Crash Course and The 3G Electric Motorcycle.

Times Article Viewed: 13726
Published: 19-Aug-2007

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