You could say our good friend and mechanic Anthony from Dahtone Racing knows his cars. He’s the man responsible for our RB26/30 S15 project and countless other high calibre builds.

Dahtone Racing is a Sydney based mechanical workshop, who’s roots stem from a family business established well over 25 years ago. When Anthony told us that he was organising a grand opening for his new 600+ sqm purpose built workshop we knew we had to go down and cover it, with no shortage of quality cars attending.

It was a sunny day in Sydney, so we washed the S15 and went down to the open day. We also got a chance to sit down with Anthony and ask him some questions about his plan for the workshop.

So Anthony, what is Dahtone Racing?
Dahtone Racing is a high-performance workshop in Smithfield, NSW

What does Dahtone mean?
The name Dahtone was started by my uncles who owned a body shop specialising in vintage car restoration, “D A H” is the first three letters of our surname and “tone” meaning to improve and perfect the body of the cars.
 From there it sort of became the family business name and they attached it to the other business they opened and I followed suit.

How did Dahtone racing get started?
Dahtone Racing started after doing my apprenticeship with my uncle at Dahtone Automotives, it was time for me to move on and do my own thing.

I was never really interested in the daily grease and oil change work, I always wanted to move into the performance and custom modification side of the industry. 

I always loved cars, always loved modifying things to be my own style and my own way. 
So it seemed like the natural thing to do.

Your new shop is pretty massive, what can you tell us about it?
Yeah it’s a pretty big step up from our last shop which was only 180sq/m. This one is 640sq/m, we started from scratch and set it up exactly the way we need it to be so everything can be as clean and efficient as possible for a performance based workshop.

We have a dedicated engine room to keep all engine related work in a clean and separate air conditioned environment.
 
There is a fabrication room big enough so we can take a whole car inside and work on it. That way we can do all the cutting, grinding, drilling, welding, etc and we don’t have any swarf and metal filings on the main shop floor.

We set up 4 hoists starting from the front of the shop so we can leave all the dead cars at the back which reduces the need to roll cars in and out of the shop every day.
 It all helps to keep things running smoothly.  As they say “work smarter not harder”.

Why the change in shops?
They say with workshops you never have enough space and it’s 100% true. 
We out grew the Woodpark Road shop within the first couple years and had to get another unit next door, with our good friend Shak at SCL Speed Shoppe, for storage.

I was content working in the old shop on my own with help from mates every now and then. 
I worked that way for nearly 10 years and it allowed me to do pretty much EVERYTHING on the cars from building engines to fabrication to electrical and all the rest which kept me happy with the standard of work I was putting out and I had total control over what left the shop.

 After about 2 or 3 years at Woodpark Road the business had grown to the point where engine builds were taking over 6 months and we had a 12-18 month waiting list.

First and foremost, I didn’t feel it was fair to the customers to wait that long. 
It also put a lot of pressure on me to keep up with everything and as soon as you had one job with a problem it would delay all the other bookings.

A shop at the end of the street came up for sale in July last year so just out of curiosity we decided to go and have a look. It seemed like a really good fit, size is great, location is only 400m from our old shop, the complex is small which means less traffic and it was the opportunity to own the shop rather than rent so we could renovate and built it the way we wanted from day one and not worry about a land lord. 

9 months later here we are.

What was the goal when you started the business?

To be honest I just wanted to build cool cars with my own hands. I always wanted to have a shop full of GTR’s to work on.
 It started off in the Auto Salon days with show cars and things like that. Now it’s more tough street cars.

What do you specialise in?
We specialise in Nissan’s and Subaru’s mainly, but our number 1 is the R-chassis GTR’s.

Do you have any crazy customer stories?
I have a couple guys who are just absolutely ruthless on their cars. There’s this one guy who just loves banging limiter in his RB26/30 S15.
 Probably nothing we should put on the internet though haha.

What are you currently working on?
We have over 20 cars in the build at the moment.

 Brodie’s R34 GTR street/drag car would have to be the biggest one. 
Billet RB32, 88mm GTX55 and Al’s Race Glides TH400 but the fit and finish of the car has to be like OEM. We want that car to look like Nissan built it with all the factory features like A/C, power steering, etc.

What’s your favourite car you have worked on (apart from my S15)
Nothing comes close to your S15 haha. 
I would have to say Brett’s REAP3R R34 V-spec 2 Nur would have to be one of my favourites.
 To be able to build an all-out big HP engine setup on such a rare and expensive car while not cutting or drilling any holes in it was a challenge but the result is awesome.

What are you building for yourself, and what else do you own?
I’m 4 years into my own R32 GTR build, RB26/30, GTX42, Getrag, etc. One day I might finish it.

I also have a 1970 Mercedes 300SEL which I will start on once the GTR is completed.
 We’re putting the complete W211 E55 running gear in it.
 Will be a nice Sunday cruiser for the family.

What’s your dream car?
It probably sounds stupid but my R32 and my Mercedes are pretty much all I ever wanted.
 But a 1950s Mercedes 300SL Gullwing would be nice.

What are the services you offer?
We do pretty much everything except for dyno tuning, such as:
– Engine building
– Custom fabrication
– Electrical
– Fluid plumbing with both braided hoses and hard lines
– General mechanical and service work

Between Mark and myself we handle everything without the need to sub-contract anything apart from tuning.
 It’s something we are very proud of.

What are your future plans for the shop?
Not much planned for the future to be honest, just want to keep the place running nice and smooth and keep building awesome cars. Wouldn’t mind getting into the R35 market soon as well.

Is there anything you would have done differently if you could go back?
Not a thing. I am truly blessed with the way things have gone over the last 10 years.