SPECS
Horsepower
315 HP
Torque
330 LB-FT
Curb Weight
2180 LB
Drivetrain
Quaife LSD, 280ZX Turbo CV half shafts
Engine Size
3.2 L
Transmission Type
280Z 5 Speed
Top Speed
151 MPH
MPG (City/Highway)
LOL! MPG
VEHICLE STORY

When I was growing up in the mid 70s, my dad had a 1972 240Z.  I loved riding around in it with him.  He had to sell it after just a couple of years, though, because it really wasn't a practical family car.  I always wanted to own one myself.  A couple of years after I graduated and got a job, I got into autocrossing and was racing my wife’s daily driver. It was getting to the point where I wanted to do things to the car that would be difficult to get done in a weekend and have the car ready for the daily commute by Monday. My thoughts drifted back to the 240Z, and I thought that it would be the perfect car to work on setting up as an autocross/track day car. One day a co-worker brought in her pristine, white '72 240Z.  She let me drive it to lunch one day and it was amazing how the sound and the smells brought back all those memories.  My wife encouraged me to buy one, so I started a year long hunt for a rust free S30 (1970-73 240Z).  One morning, before work, I decided to check the usual websites, even though I had just checked the night before.  There was a beautiful, blue 1972 240Z with the white interior.  I called and talked to the owner and it sounded very promising.  He had tried to sell the car for $3000 from his home on the Hood Canal, but didn't get any interest.  So, he brought the car over to his Redmond, WA house and dropped the price to $1750.  I was supposed to go to the opera with my wife that night, but she told me to go see the car instead. I went right after work and was the first person to see the car.The car was in great shape.  The owner had recently had it stripped and repainted its original color  (a previous owner had painted it an ugly pastel green color.  He also had the seats reupholstered, and new floor mats (which are essentially the carpets in a 240Z. So basically it was in like new condition inside and out. The car ran and drove great too. I put some money down that night, and came back the next day to pay the rest and pick up the car. The owner was kind of hoping that I would pass on the car because he had, had a ton of interest and wanted to raise the price. :) He was happy the car was going to a good home, though.  Shortly after purchasing the car, I signed up for a autocross novice school to take it to. The car was a blast, but it was very apparent that the stock suspension and skinny, 195/70/14 tires were NOT going to cut it on the autocross track. My first modification was a set of Ground Control Coil overs and Energy Suspension suspension bushings. Then I bought a used set of 15x7” wheels with Kumho V700s. The car was a blast to drive and we worked on dialing in the suspension the rest of the season. The car was always sideways, whether you were going slow, or going fast, so it became an exercise in how fast you could go sideways! We had created drifting before drifting became popular! One day I had a fellow Z owner, who had MUCH more experience racing Zs than I did, ride with me on an autocross course. The first question he asked me after tripping the lights was, “Does this thing have a rear sway bar in it?” “Yeah,” replied. “It has a 1” bar up front and a 7/8” in the back.”“GET RID OF IT!” He insisted. As soon as I unhooked the rear sway, the car was absolutely transformed. Suddenly the rear end worked as it should. It was absolutely amazing. What excitement it lost in the white knuckle ride, it made up for in actually being able to compete for placing, and winning in its class. In the off season we pulled the motor since I had no idea what service it had received in its 198,000 miles. It was in such great shape, that it didn’t even need a rebore! We just put in a new set of stock sized rings and replaced all the bearings and gaskets. Shortly after the rebuild I took it to a dyno day and hit 124.9 hp, which is above average for the stock 2.4 liter straight six. The Z community told me that 117 is usually the norm. It still wasn’t enough for me though, and I began a three year process of accumulating parts to build a 3.1L stroker motor.  The 3.1L storker uses a 280ZX turbo block bored 2mm over to accept the 240SX pistons, 240Z rods, and a diesel Maxima crank. I used a N47 head off of a 280Z because it resulted in just about exactly 10:1 compression. Since I know power is made in the head, I had Rebello Racing port, polish and assemble the head, but I did everything else. Triple Mikunis served as the induction.That engine was a monster and more than doubled the power of the car over the stock engine. It was truly a blast to drive on the autocross course, but I could only successfully tune the carbs for the track or the street. I could never get them to do both, so I began to dream of fuel injection.  My chance came when the head gasket began to leak after a track day. I pulled the head off and discovered cracks in 5 of the 6 pistons. Thank God the head gasket failed when it did, or I would have suffered a catastrophic engine failure soon after. After doing some research, I found the head gasket was no longer available, which meant I would have to have one custom made, and obviously I needed to go to forged pistons, which was going to cost me as much as just having Rebello Racing turn my engine into a 3.2L. To get to the 3.2L, Rebello does an offset grind on the crank to get even more stroke. They use H beam rods and forged pistons. While he was in there, I had him through in the cam that he developed specifically for this engine. When he tunes it, he can get this engine to run 333hp!  While Dave Rebello was busy with the engine, I started accumulating parts for the fuel injection. I wanted to keep the period correct looks of the Mikunis, but have something that I could actually tune. So, I bought a set of TWM independent throttle bodies and I bought an SDS (F) ECU that controls fuel and spark. The F version of SDS uses GM coil packs for the ignition.  All that go meant the need for more whoa! I did that by installing Arizona Z Car's big brake kit front and back.  The bigger brakes required me to go to a 16' wheel, so I figured I might as well go wider too.  I went from 225 wide tires at all 4 corners to 245.

Discuss this build

[]Joseph Stephens

Now that was an enjoyable grail car story. I wanted a 350/370Z, but now after looking at so many badass S30's like yours, I think I found the right Z. Love the build, and definitely love the color!

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