Archive for the ‘Classics’ Category

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.


If Nissan makes you tingle this video will make you blush. I know I did. From GT cars to bluebirds, this video has some nice variety that will put you in high gear for today’s touring as well as walk you besides nostalgic stages with pedigree-laden racers of yesteryear. Turn up your sound and enjoy.

It All Ends With ‘Z’

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Classics, Vehicles
Tags: , , , , , ,

I will start out by mentioning the obvious: it’s been a long time since H4H’s last post. Due to the complex nature that is sometimes referred to as “life,” I have not found myself writing much in the past few months.

That being said, I’ve had a few nice chances to take some cool cars out and also attend a couple nice events since then. I suppose being that it has been a long time, I will make a comeback with something else that has been resting for a long time but is back in the game.

This middle-aged cat is none other than one of my favorite classic Japanese cars, the Datsun 240Z. Manufactured in the last quarter of 1970 and sold as a ’71, it is a series one S30 chassis Z, and also happens to be burnt orange, which is quite possibly the best looking color on a Datsun, period. There is something so catching about an orange Datsun, something that tickles your nostalgic armpits.

It may be that it is so period correct, or it may be that no other car has ever been able to pull such a color off quite so well since, but there is something undeniably seventies about the color that makes it fit so well. Shag rugs were made in the same color, Velma, Daphne, or Shaggy from Scooby-Doo wore it (be it sweater or hair color) in the popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. It could be a color dyed into a zoot suit and shown off on the disco floor.

Either way, the color is right at home on the timeless styling of the Z’s lightweight frame. Granted, the Z is not quite as light as its boxy brother, the 510, but it’s still lighter than any newer variants of the Z since, starting from ’73 onward. The North American market S30s became bulkier, heavier, and also less attractive as the years wore on, largely due to increasing safety and smog regulations. But the series one has really stood the test of time on a styling level.

As for performance, the Z is no screamer compared to cars of modern time, and can’t even come close to touching performance figures like that of its youngest brother, the 370Z. However, the 240 has really got it where it counts: character. It’s a thoroughly involving drive and keeps the driver connected very directly. There’s no power steering, ABS, radio or A/C (at least not anymore), ECU, differentials, or driver aids of any sort to get in the way of you and the road. It’s really just driver, car, tires, and tarmac.

That sense of contact with the road is what makes this Z shine from behind the wheel (not to mention the cherry stained wood grain of the steering wheel itself). And for being 40 years old, this particular Z also is very much original and intact, boasting all original body work and interior, with the quilted leather even holding up without ruffling or tears. Under the hood also sits an original L24 that has been stroked to 2.8L and features a more aggressive cam with valves and springs to boot.

Having spent the better part of this past decade in a garage in Orange County, the Z has undergone a good amount of work to ensure that it runs strong. It’s received a new alternator, clutch hydraulics, belts, hoses, gaskets, and of course, all new fluids. It is a middle-aged car still, and needs the occasional check up. But much like Dos Equis’ most interesting man in the world, while it is aging, it keeps its charm, good looks, and game without so much as a slouch.