327 HP
315 LB-FT
Curb Weight
3500 LB
Rear Wheel Drive
Engine Size
3.0 L
Transmission Type
MPG (City/Highway)
17/21 MPG

Story... ooooh boy. So in 2005 I was in Tulsa Oklahoma having graduated as an aviation mechanic and decided I wanted myself a fun car. The Z32 had always stuck out in my mind and I decided it would be a good starter car. For my 21st birthday I bought myself this 1992 300ZX 2+2 with 208k miles. There was a bit of an unnerving noise but a friend thought it was an exhaust leak so I wasn't too worried. This is where I began to learn the Z32's reputation first hand. I decided to take it on a road trip to Austin 2 weeks later and the engine died north of Dallas. I was still somewhat new and I thought I had dropped a valve. It took me 3 months to get it towed back up to Tulsa. Of course it wasn't a dropped valve, it was a bearing and the engine was pretty much toast. It took me a year to save money and get a motor ready to swap. Again on my birthday I got the call I was waiting for from the mechanic that was installing the engine. Unfortunately it was not good news. The timing belt tensioner had failed and the belt had slipped. It took 3 months to have the heads repaired and I finally had a running Z!! The mechanic instructed me to take it easy for 500 miles for the new heads to set in. 501 miles and I was finally able to give it a rip, and it died... Dead stick as I shifted out of the top of 4th. Wouldn't crank, absolutely seized. Neither I nor the mechanic had noticed that the oil pan was dented into the oil pickup and it had been starved of oil and spun several of the rod bearings. #4 was just a pile of slag welded to the crank.  Another year of waiting, saving, wondering if I should cut my losses went by and then a friend mentioned that he had bought a wrecked Z for some parts for his own car. He offered me the engine if I would help him with his work. The Z had been run hard, but hey it's an engine. We pulled it and prepped it for my car. I wasn't taking chanced anymore. I did everything I could. Seals, timing belt components, gaskets. Everything short of bearings and a re-hone. It was a great learning experience for me and greatly improved my confidence as a mechanic. I finally had my Z running and I was moving home to California, but Oklahoma wasn't going to let me off that easy. A week before I was moving Tulsa got hit by a gnarly ice storm and I spun on ice and nailed a curb and a sign. Broke one wheel, bent another and folded the rear lower control arm. The sign tagged the front fender and front bumper. The next morning adding insult to injury, the neighbor's tree fell on my Z. Luckily the damage wasn't bad. I had to rush to get driving straight enough to at least be able to drive it up on the trailer for the move. Back in CA I addressed the suspension and wheels, eventually picking up a set of stock Twin Turbo wheels and bumper. The engine ran great for around 60k until I started hearing a less than wonderful noise from the engine. I knew this engine wasn't going to last forever, it had a hard life before I got it, and I had definitely used it for the sports car that it was. I started looking at a replacement engine, but also looking at a TT swap. I found a decent TT motor and had a friend with donor turbos, this was happening. In about 2 months I sourced all of the parts and got the motor ready to drop in. In essentially a 4 day weekend I, with the help of a few friends, successfully TT swapped my Z. I had reached the dark side, I finally had my dream car. This was 2011 and it's been running great since. The entire time has been spent fixing the odds and ends that break with age and upgrading where appropriate, addressing the chassis and suspension to handle the increased power and trying to find traction. Ten years after purchase, I'm finally starting to autocross in it. It's about time...

Discuss this build

[]John P

has the Z been kind to you since TST or have you had to wrench on it some more? do you have a youtube channel or at least any pics of the short throw shifter mod that you did?

[]Dan Jennings

Yeah it's been pretty good. Since then I've installed a prototype kevlar dual plate clutch, Nismo clutch LSD, Stillen Sways, Sabelt GT140? seat, Schroth harness, :breathe: and Veilside flushmount wing. The sways made a huge difference on the poise of the car and made it tons more confident in corners, and the diff made power delivery so much more solid. I can get on the gas SO much earlier leaving a corner now.
I don't have a youtube channel and the shifter mod was done so long ago that I don't think I have pictures. The big thing I did was to bore out the bronze replacement shifter bushings and make a close fitting sleeve for the bolt to clamp onto. It's definitely a machinist's fit, tuned to the exact width of my shifter to have no play. This is why I never got into selling them.

Edit: Actually I found a post I made about it when I did it!

[]Dave Read

I know that car... the matte red is gorgeous.

[]Dan Jennings


[]Kit Lau

Saw you on Smoking Tire, nice ride!!

[]Michael B. Gonzales

Awesome build Dan! And great job on The Smoking Tire today.

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