I have a long history with the ZX, or better know as the redheaded step child of the Z. It started with a blue 1981 I found in a field. I saw it over and over again. It was the first Z car I every saw and I loved it. One day I talked to the owner who said it was his sons car. After looking at the car, I bought it for $800. Over the next few years I replaced almost everything, from suspension to windshield trim. It had some rust issues, questionable body reinforcements, and no body shop wanted to touch it, so I kept it looking like a beater. As youngsters do, I put a way too large stereo system in and low and behold it was stolen, and was taken for a joy ride. I was devastated when the car was found. It was gutted and wrecked. I sold it to the junk yard guy for a $100 because he wanted the huge K&N filter I put on. I was without a ZX for a few years... I was cruising along and I saw a black 280zx in front of a junkyard. There are a lot of junkyards in Idaho. I inquired about the price and the junk man sold it to me for $400. It was a good price considering that the engine was blown, missing t-tops, sitting outside forever. You get the idea. A buddy and I took out almost everything. I rebuilt the suspension with some parts from Zcarparts.com, making the car much lower. Back in 2006 there were a very limited amount of suspension parts. Now-a-days you have a number of places to get control arms, big brake kits, and coil-overs. All the good stuff. My plan was always to swap in a V8 at the time the only engine that was proven was the small block Chevy. I had the engine and transmission on order. I then had a life changing moment. Its hard to comprehend what I was thinking at the time, but I dropped everything, got a u haul and moved. I ended up moving to Seattle to go to school at the Art Institute and stashed the car in my grandfathers field, as you do in Idaho. It sat for many years. My grandfather is a Greaser from the 50's. Hes got some good car stories. Anyway, I finally retrieved the car after I got married in 2011, when I moved out of a small downtown apartment. It was a very exciting and frightening time. The car sat disassembled for so many years it was hard to know where to start the project. The project would be on and off again over the next few years. Jumping from one part of the car to the next. Analysis Paralysis set in. Should I upgrade the Suspension to T3, should I go carburetor or Fuel injected? It was awful and nothing really got done. I adopted a new strategy. I broke the car down into 3 main components. Chassis, Engine, and Bodywork. I then broke these down further into the systems of the car. The first thing I need to tackle was the steering and suspension. I replaced all the bearings, installed a new steering rack, tie rods, bushings, and when over every nut and bolt to double check I didn't forget anything. The next system was the brake system. This one took the most time and is the one I most recently completed. When we first stripped the car a decade ago, I may have gotten a little over zealous and took out all the brake lines. Oops. My only starting point was the master cylinder and the brake booster. I checked the booster and I was operational. I rebuilt the master cylinder to save a few dollars, mistakenly. I bent new stainless brake lines, bought rebuilt calipers, Stoptech cross drilled and slotted rotors, Porterfield brake pads, and standad rubber brake lines. I decided not to go with the larger brakes because at the time the only ones I could find were ArizonaZcar, and Toyota calipers from a 4runner or something. Also I wanted to stick with a smaller wheel. I think it looks cooler. The master cylinder was sticking ,locking the brakes up. At first I thought I messed up the calipers somehow. I bought a new master and the brakes worked awesome. I would also like to recommend a reverse bleeder, they are super quick and easier then the two man way. With the brakes being completed during the first months of the pandemic, This completed my Chassis category of projects. I have now moved onto the engine portion of the build. I feel really luck and blessed this. My father-in-law was trying to sell his 2003 GMC 2500 HD truck. It had a LQ4 6.0L V8. Some guy came over as we were cleaning one of his barns. He was asking how much he wanted for the truck. I had to quickly step in and say he was going to sell to any one but me. I ended up buying 4 tickets to New York and renting a house for a week, in trade for the engine. I made quick work and it now sits next to its new home. The engine has been in and out of the engine compartment a few times checking for clearances. So far the oil pan and accessory brackets have been updated to make the engine fit. Currently waiting to get the okay to buy the transmission, clutch, bellhousing, etc. The fuel system has been updated to a larger fuel lines, walbro 255lph pump, and miscellaneous -an fittings and adapters. I consider the fuel system to be complete, except for the fuel regulator. I am still thinking about were I want to mount it. I need to mount the post filter and regulator where the battery once was. The battery try has long been moved. I want to mount it along with many of the electronics to the spare tire compartment on the passenger side. My plan for the vehicle is mainly track with some street. I want to do some SCCA solo and track nights, Silver State Classic Challenge, Some various hill climb events, and maybe some occasional drag racing.
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