Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Project S30: Zs in my eyes

This past month has truly disappeared in a blur and it's taken me what feels like forever to actually sit down and write this post as there is so much that has happened in the last few weeks. The last time I posted on here with some actual writing was the morning before NZPC Hardpark in Wellington as I blogged hastily from a friend's Macbook in the Speedtech Motorsport workshop office. The night before I had stood outside my friend's Wellington apartment in the dark and waited impatiently for my partner to arrive, unaware of the surprise I was about to get. My jaw dropped as the sleek shooting-brake silhouette rounded the corner, the unmistakable S30 headlights heading straight towards me. He pulled up next to me and wound down the window sporting a cheeky grin. Project Z had arrived!

My first impression was that it sounded like a ported rotary, but as the car pulled closer I could hear the sound of an aggressive cam and the rumble of an aftermarket exhaust. The L28 was a lot louder than I had thought it was going to be. I was surprised when I opened the door to feel how light it was, and as I jumped inside I was even more taken aback by the strong odour of petrol mixed with that amazing old car smell. It was at that moment I actually realised what we were dealing with here. It may be old, but there's no doubt that this car is made to be driven. We'd just purchased a 1975 nostalgic Japanese muscle car.

A few people here in NZ have asked me how the car can be a 280Z model still with the S30 chassis code. This particular car was imported into New Zealand from America in 1976, where the S30 chassis continued for another generation hence the 280Z badges. Because of this it is also a left-hand drive model which I think is pretty cool (as all cars here in New Zealand are RHD). I wonder if this is the only S30 of its kind here in NZ?

I've also had a lot of people asking about what we plan to do to the car, so here is a quick run through of our plans.

Photo from Speedhunters

Photo from Mayday Garage
Photo from Speedhunters

After many hours of research, one thing soon became very clear - it took me a while to realise, but all of the photos of cars I had picked out and filed in my 'inspiration' folder on my desktop all had one thing in common - they were longer. That was when I found out about the 240ZG, a Japanese market variant of the Nissan/Datsun 240Z. The special ZG model included riveted over-fenders, fender mounted side mirrors, acrylic headlight covers and most importantly a more protruding front end known as the 'G-nose'.

Photo from Speedhunters
Although only a small amount of these cars were produced in Japan, reproduction parts are still available to perform a conversion to replicate the 240ZG and as far as we are aware this is not something that has been done here in New Zealand yet either. Were hoping to have this done to our Z within the next few months.

We'll also be adding a rear spoiler and either getting a new rear bumper or having the old bumper reconditioned.

The car runs the factory fitted L28 inline six and from what we can see it has an aggressive cam, some head work and a set of ceramic-coated headers. Currently the motor is still running the original 'Jetronic' fuel injection - which was probably okay for the mid 70s but seems pretty horrible now. The plan at this stage is to convert to a triple carb set-up.

The Z also required a new cooling system which we're in the process of installing - thanks to Adrian at Fenix Radiators!

Plans for the interior include a half-cage, getting the original seats re-upholstered, new carpet as well as a new dash and steering wheel. I currently have my eye on a woodgrain Nardi wheel.

One thing we have already acquired for the interior is this beautiful woodgrain shift knob.

The car will also need new suspension to sit at a low but functional ride height, which is really important to us as this Z won't just be for show. As for wheels, nothing has come up yet but we do have one specific wheel in mind that we are looking into. What do you guys think looks best on the S30 chassis wheel-wise?

Lastly, I thought I'd share on here what fuelled my passion behind this new project. When I was in Japan last year I had the pleasure of meeting talented film-maker Luke Huxham and I've been closely following his videos ever since. When I watched his recent video 'The JDM Purist' it made me fall so deeply in love with Japanese cars and Shakotan style that I thought my head (and heart!) might explode. If you watch for the 0.19 minute mark...

...you will see the exact moment I knew that an S30 was going to be in my garage one day. I've had Zs in my eyes ever since.


  1. Such a cool car. RIVERSIDE has a g nose 240 on hayashi streets in Christchurch too.

  2. I guess the g-nose kinda divides the Z community, some like it, some don't. I think more than just the nose is needed to pull off the look. Anyway, Hayashi Streets or SSR Longchamps are my favorites for wheels.. Good luck with your project!

  3. Wicked read. Should be a cool thing to follow

  4. Gotta say, great choice of car, but poor choice of mods.
    G-noses are the most unoriginal mod you can do.
    Well maybe besides bolt on fender flares, watanabe wheels and a sharkfin spoiler.
    Ah well, each to their own - just sad that so many Zs end up looking the same.

  5. Looking forward to following this build. Haven't seen any Zeds built this way in NZ yet. Will be awesome!!
    As for wheels, I reckon you can't beat the good old Watanabe RS in a short by wiiiiiiide size. But what about Work CR01? TE37v?

  6. RS Watanabes or TE37Vs work perfectly on this thing.

  7. Work Eqiup 03 with bronze lip!!!!!

  8. Mother of god I cannot wait to meet you DATSUN
    Taz I am soooo proud, you are truly amazing!
    See you soon


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