When I wrote the last entry on the ZONC show, I was tempted to slip a couple more cars in to the fray, but I felt that these two in particular deserved a little more attention. They are cars of a very special sort – the ones that will make any Nissan fanboys, or JDM worshipers in general, weak in the ball-joints.

Both cars sport heritage that is legendary among followers of both vintage and modern alike. The commonality between them (besides the Datsun/Nissan name) is that they both nod towards the iconic Nissan Skyline, a car that has a bloodline littered with victory at the racetrack, pride in the mountain tougues of its native Japan, and loyalty of near cult-like admirers.

 

The first car here isn’t a Z car, but it is a 2000 GT model KGC10 Skyline. While it wasn’t sporting it’s original L20 engine, it did have a beating, throaty sounding L28, made even grizzlier thanks to a set of individual throttle bodies – a proper upgrade for any old school ride to put some more hair on your chest. Hopefully those trumpets don’t scare the joey kangaroo on the windshield washer fluid pouch hanging on the inside of the fender.

 

While not the beast of an inconic Skyline as the GT-R of its time, the 2000 GT still makes for one heck of a respectable machine, and has plenty of appeal, as demonstrated by the orange shirted onlooker.

 

The appeal carries further as you peer inside the Skyline. The seats are not original, but I’ll be damned if that isn’t a great looking interior. The black leather and vinyl accompanied by the faux wood trim, polished wooden knob, skinny hand brake, and AM/FM radio…all of it just spells out classic. This is a car that just carries an air of boy racer turned (mostly) gentleman.

 

 

Next up is a Z car of the S30 variety (which are always the best kind, lets be honest). This particular 240 is quite a sleeper. It’s a clean sleeper, no doubt, but a sleeper nonetheless. It’s also the sort that once woken up, will likely chase you down then eat you and your children both before having a smile and a nap.

Its exterior, while kept simple and stock, looks terrific. It could be your father’s town cruising Z…until you start to notice the custom 2-peice Panasports that just barely squeeze over large red calipers, which squeeze the large drilled brake rotors. And then you notice the heart of the monster – this is no regular Z, but a Godzilla in Z’s clothing!

This 240Z has had a Skyline GT-R RB26 transplant, and it looks like the surgery was a success, if the engine bay is any indication. The Skyline motor matches the silver body paint very closely and just looks right, sitting snug in the bay of a Z car. The owner said that he intended it to look like it could have come from the factory that way, and he’s done just that.

I’ll part with you until later, where I’ll wrap up the rest of the show with some quick snapshots.

ZONC, or the Z Owners of Northern California, recently held their annual show down on South San Francisco’s Brisbane Marina. The show itself was a pretty humble gathering, with a small group of Z owners – nothing like the large gatherings in Long Beach – but there were still some nice standout cars that showed up.

Cars ranged across nearly the whole spectrum of Zs, from early series 1 240Zs to the current 370, although the 240 crowd was the largest and most attractive, with 350s being the second most populous.

 

 

The majority were not show cars either, as many were daily driven or merely street tuned. Nothing to write home for, but a good gathering nonetheless. Somehow in this respect it felt more like a meet than a show. I think what was missing was a large barbecue and a slather of red meat.

 

The gathering, as I should refer to it, was not all Z cars though. A few GTRs showed up, including a R35 V-Spec, and also the R33 below.

 

 

 

I’ve run into this particular R33 Skyline before at Performance Options in Oakland. The car was built and tuned by Joey at Performance Options, who happens to be the same guy who did the camber kit and setting for my RSX. The Skyline is owned locally is running an aggressive street setup on what I believe are HKS turbos on pretty high boost, if I’m not mistaken.

 

There were of course the obligatory 510s and 1200 / 1600 / 2000 Roadsters that showed up as well. Despite being a Z owners club, this is still the Datsun family of course, and Zs, 510s, and Roadsters seem to roll together well, though each sort of owner tends to have a very specific and biased reason for owning whichever pick of vintage Datsun he/she does.

 

One Roadster in particular was pretty noteworthy. It sported a hardtop, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen on one of these cars before, panasport rollers, and most significantly, an SR20 powerplant – a terrific choice to shoehorn into the little engine bay all while keeping it in the Nissan family.

 

 

The interiors of the Zs were done very nicely for the most part. I’m partial to a classic stock interior myself on the S30s, and maybe a nice tastefully modded simple interior on the modern Zs, as evidenced by the Z33 below.

 

 

I’ll leave you with a couple shots of these super clean orange 240Zs before returning later for more coverage from the ZONC show. While not my favorite 920 Gold (none of which I’ve seen in person since selling my own 71 240 some time ago), these orange Zs still do it for me. Something about the oranges, whether 920 Gold or Burnt Orange just sells that 70s spirit. I’ll be back with more highlights from the show soon.

 

Ken Block is a revolutionary driver. He’s very controversial in the motorsports realm, but so was Elvis in the music world when he broke out. Still there are no ifs, buts, or maybes about it – Ken Block is a genius. He may not be the fastest guy on the grid, but I’ll run naked through San Francisco if he’s not changing the game when it comes to how driving is seen, celebrated, and appreciated stateside (and even globally).

Speaking of the city on the bay, Ken’s latest – and maybe greatest – short film, entitled ‘Gymkhana Five: Ultimate Urban Playground; San Francisco’ just dropped. I honestly wanted to get another editorial into this blog before posting more videos, but this one just can’t go ignored. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so astounded, delighted, frightened, and genuinely stunned by a solo driving video since I was a young boy watching Jean Louis Mourey’s incredible 1988 short ‘Climb Dance’ documenting Ari Vantanen’s record-breaking run up Colorado’s Pike’s Peak (watch the original here).

Anyhow, there’s nothing more to say about Block’s latest modern masterpiece other than noting that this man is nothing short of a genuine artist behind the wheel. Hats off to you, Ken Block, and to the beautiful city of San Francisco, and to those who actually allowed such a film to be made.

For those who can’t view embedded links, click here to view Ken Block’s Gymkhana Five.

…recently uploaded new campaign videos to YouTube. Ok, before you call me out for calling them ‘campaign videos’ – I’m aware that they are viral videos, and haven’t been created (yet) as TV-going commercials, but let’s face it: they are companies that are in it for profit, and those videos are monetized. I digress – less than one paragraph into my post I’ve meandered into territory that is insignificant to the post. The point is this: these videos are awesome, simply put.

The first features the Benz SLS AMG droptop, out to break the world record for fastest ball catch. Besides the skill and calculation that went into this production, it’s a beautiful juxtaposition of perhaps the most conservative sport in the western world with blasphemous powerful, tire-smoking Hoonism. So go ahead – watch an AMG convertible catch a golf ball at speed without as much as a single dent!

 

Next, from Karl Benz’s rival Bavarian badge comes a piece of video art featuring the new BMW M5 as a bullet fired on its own power out a giant tunnel (read: gun chamber) aimed at three art-constellation targets…all of which the V8 saloon shatters with triple-digit force.

 

In my opinion, as cool as both are, the SLS AMG wins for verisimilitude. The BMW video is under speculation for its veracity. I don’t think it matters much whether or not it’s real, it’s still very, very entertaining and creative, but it speaks less for the driver’s skill being that it is likely a composite of real footage and CGI. If it turns out that it’s real, I’ll eat my words, but that car looks too perfect after smashing through barriers at those speeds. If anyone is going to attempt it in real life though, I nominate Jezza, since he’s already fond of car/gun mash-ups. Hopefully his back will hold up better than when he put a Lorrie through a brick wall.