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Old Member Returns - 2nd 350Z, 3rd Z.


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Hi all - 


I thought forums were dead? Anyway thought I’d do my part to keep this one going! 

 

Keeping this short as I’m on my phone and formatting this is a pain, but I’m now in another 350Z after a while out. 
 

Rewind 6-7 years ago I had this, as my daily and only car - 60 odd miles a day, which I loved. Did everything well, and was completely reliable, European trips, Nurburgring etc. 
 

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Although after buying a house with off-road parking I was in a position to have two cars - And while I loved the 350Z it wasn’t special enough to be a dedicated weekend car. 
 

So it went and in came this. 
 

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Elise 111R (Toyota 2ZZ engine) - Essentially an Exige in an Elise body. 
 

I did love it. However in the same vein as a sports bike, it was so fantastic when you were on it, anything but a clear road just ended in frustration and feelings of a wasted trip. 
 

It was also pretty perfect out the box, and being a development engineer that spends their day behind a spreadsheet - I was getting itchy wanting something to tinker with. 
 

So I went in the complete opposite direction and wired a stupid amount of money thousands of miles away to buy this sight-unseen, which after a massively stressful (and expensive) 6 months turned up on the back of a flatbed looking like this. 
 

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Which after 3-4 years of every spare hour (and what felt like every spare penny at times), ended up like this - 

 

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Which was (is) a 1971 Datsun 240Z restomod, with a C5 Corvette engine. So 5.7L, 350bhp, 1060kg. Old on the outside, but everything under the surface is as trick as you can get - All adjustable, rose-jointed, massive Wilwood brakes, re-wired, the lot.  

 

Long story short, this summer it went to a new home, and despite that cash burning a hole in my pocket and my aspirations as stupid as ever I told myself to wait out until car prices returned to some form of normality. 
 

Although perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to get another toy to tide me over? No harm in logging into 350Z-UK surely? 
 

I’ll go into more depth on this when I’ve got more time - But long story short I accidentally bought a members car, KuroKid, I think I was on route to collect within 30mins of the (out the blue) message as we’d been generally chatting over Instagram about LS swaps and my 240Z. 
 

Thread from his ownership here - He obviously loved the car and took good care of it. 

 


Here’s a 1am petrol station return photo, the sign of all good car buying trips! 
 

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I’ll go into more detail in my next post, but it essentially went up on jackstands immediately after getting home for the next month or so, and after a hundred little fixes, and some posh parts I’ve now got myself a car that can drive to a track day with a boot full of tools in relative comfort, lap all day without breaking a sweat, and drive home. All without the worry of sending a house deposit sized lump of metal sliding into the tyre wall.
 

Perfect. 

 

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It was genuinely the most fun I’d had in a car in a long time. Delighted to be back in a 350Z, these really do punch much beyond their weight. 
 

Anyway keep checking in, will add more detail how we got to this point (the good, and not so good…)

 

Cheers all 

Edited by RyanT
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  • 3 weeks later...

Cheers for the response chaps! 
 

So in an effort to fill in the gaps above.

 

In short I wanted a simple, reliable, fun car I could drive to the track, use and enjoy all day, staying out for as long as I wanted per session, be fast, while not dreading the drive home. 

 

It wasn’t even a day before the car was being taken apart. The lovely BuddyClub seats were mounted really high which made the car really odd to drive and uncomfortable as you sat bolt upright which just isn’t how buckets work. 
 

Turns out one of the lower mount inserts had pulled out of the shell, so the higher mounting position was being used, as a work-around. So out the seats came for repair, alongside a massaging with the angle grinder of the rails and bolt lengths to get them as low as possible.  

 
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This shows just how much lower I was able to get it. Absolutely transformative actually sitting in the car instead of on top of it, and actually comfortable. 

 

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So much better. 
 

Next job was a knocking from the rear, which the previous owner advised as likely drop links. So I had those ordered to fit - Only to be welcomed by: 

 

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Oh, that’ll be the knocking then. 
 

I replaced the drop links anyway as I was in there, gave everything a clean. 
 

Next job was a aluminium under-tray, as I noticed the existing one was barely hanging on and was essentially zip-tied in place. 
 

Now, this is where things snowballed…
 

“If I’ve got it up on jackstands with the under-tray off - I might as well do a complete fluid change” 

 

“if I’m changing the coolant, I might as well replace the radiator while I’m in there with a big Mishimoto one” 

 

“If I’m draining the oil, I may as well fit a bigger sump while I’m there, and an oil cooler for good measure”. 

 

“if I’m fitting an oil cooler, I should really fit an oil temp sensor and gauge too” 

 

So, one of these:

 

649AA7A5-D770-438F-A8E4-2E9A06AE7E7A.jpeg.e7fb6344a17255c1dae34032f4b074bf.jpegWent for the Mishimoto thermostatic oil cooler kit, which quality wise is great. But a frustrating lack of torque settings within the instructions. 


And one of these: 

 

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Anyway, much cursing, zip ties, padded tape and braided line wrestling later - It was all neatly fitted. 
 

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Then on to the larger Stillen sump -It was reassuring to see such clean internals when removing the OEM sump. 

 

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I was a bit disappointed with the roughness of the casting on the Stillen oil pan, so cleaned it up with a wire cup attachment - Just to make sure nothing was going to shed and end up in the oil. 
 

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Much better. 
 

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Then an oil temp gauge neatly fitted into the drivers door panel. 

 

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So, Mishimoto radiator, thermostatic oil cooler kit, oil temperature gauge & Torqen undertray all fitted.
 

2-3 litre increase in oil capacity always appreciated! 

 

Time to put the thing back on the ground. 
 

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Or was it? 
 

I noticed the rear discs looked oddly small compared with the backing plate. 

 

Off came the rear wheels and low and behold someone has fitted non-GT pack, much smaller rear discs to this car and somehow didn’t notice something wasn’t right…  

 

Check the lip worn in the pads. 
 

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So again true to form, I let things snowball. 

 

I was planning on fitting braided lines and replacing the brake fluid with fancy Motul 660 stuff, and if I was going through all that effort plus having to replace the rear pads and discs - I may as well upgrade the entire lot, right? 

So an Akebono (370Z Nismo) brake upgrade was underway… 

 

Take some RockAuto (Akebono branded, but raw calipers)
 

07B31654-C742-4908-92A3-0A36578184EC.jpeg.0f9746458d04931d519e4be881269926.jpeg
 

Several evenings with some high temp paint, decals and lacquer - 


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Some massive high carbon discs 

 

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Some trick track pads - 

 

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And some adaptor brackets - 

 

B5D02F3D-5350-4372-92B3-3E3948FB972A.jpeg.aeb5b2862d9911937f34dfb566a9cd66.jpeg

 

You have yourself a massive 14inch front, 13.8inch rear big brakes kit with OEM reliability for which you can get spare parts from any dealer or motor factors, perfect. 
 

However things are never as straight forward as they should be, and things rarely bolt on. 

 

The rear brake nuts and pipe were properly fused together, and ended up twisting off. So I had to grind back to good metal and re-flare with a new nut. 

 

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And it turns out the big brake kit was juuust a bit too big, and made contact with the wheel barrel. 
 

So out came the angry side of the grinder - 

 

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Upon Googling it looks like this isn’t unheard of. In reality it was just removing some mismatch and casting imperfections, to give it enough clearance. I think if you were to buy calipers from Nissan they go through an additional machining / finishing process so you wouldn’t have to do this. Not that it matters either way. 
 

Oh and I also switched the wheels out for some OEM rays with sticky AD08R’s. 
 

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We got there in the end! Hel braided lines and posh Motul 660 brake fluid to finish off. 

 

FE055036-C0C6-4C15-9A22-D273683136A8.jpeg.258dd9d55ded34a82a12260ce3d783c3.jpeg
 

… I quickly got the car back on the ground before I found something else to get carried away with.  
 

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Car drives amazingly, the brakes feel fantastic. 

 

Although I wish the steering wheel was bit closer to me, and the gear stick too. 
 

In went a Personal Neo Grinta, and the old gear knob I had custom made and managed to keep from the 240Z sale, alongside a shifter extension. Perfect! 
 

Oh and you can also see the 380RS pedal I bought too. 

 

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CA6877AA-EBE8-4F41-BEDB-FBF1B33304D1.jpeg.f2cf135e9b255c5abaf486a47c3b0a21.jpeg
 

I’ve missed out loads I’m sure, it was weeks and weeks of fiddling, and finally got it finished with days to spare before the first track day, to which it performed faultlessly. 
 

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Kept pace with my mate in his very trick Megane Trophy, during open pits was able to stay out longer than anyone else - Brakes endless, temps rock steady, car felt fantastic. 
 

So aside from booking in more track days, what’s the plan? 
 

Potentially a square set up would let the chassis shine more on track, perhaps a 265 square, and I want to get the alignment looked over. 
 

Oh and also book it in for some welding, I think ‘rust free’ must mean different things to different people as I poked my finger through the rear wheel well cill (you know the place, where that plastic piece catches all the mud). 
 

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Cheers for reading.  

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Edited by RyanT
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1 hour ago, Azurez33 said:

You got moving fast! FairPlay looking god mate 


Thanks! Compared with the 240Z everything is so easy to source, fit (and not insanely expensive). It’s most of the enjoyment of building a project car, with less of the downsides.

 

Having an issue and being able to find 10 tutorials immediately on YouTube is the dream too! 

 

 

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2 hours ago, RyanT said:


Thanks! Compared with the 240Z everything is so easy to source, fit (and not insanely expensive). It’s most of the enjoyment of building a project car, with less of the downsides.

 

Having an issue and being able to find 10 tutorials immediately on YouTube is the dream too! 

 

 

I’d have to say the z is a pretty expensive car to modify if I’m honest mate but can understand the 240 even more so! 

but yes bet the YouTube tutorials Defintely make it so much easier! and wait to see what’s next! 

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  • 1 month later...

Few winter updates on this one as I continue to get it 100% right for my first year of trackday / road trip enjoyment with it. 

Blackfriday came and went, so picked up some final bits which were on my list. 

Installed a Torqen plenum spacer, and gave a good excuse to get everything inside squeaky clean. 

 

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And spark plugs ‘while I’m in there’, they’ve probably been done recently but at least now all consumables have been replaced by me. 


FD1DF14B-FE1A-4FC0-A126-6CCDB4C18C20.jpeg.c8964b6733b479f696ec76dad0abff58.jpeg
 

Then imported / installed a SteeringSolutions so I can mount and retain the cruise control controls. Really smart product. 
 

41A4976D-6D49-4A15-B466-E56AD756C039.jpeg.458ad7fbcf4bdba598f9108c76a70bf3.jpeg
 

I then spent some time like this, fiddling to get the clutch positioning adjusted - Horrible. 
 

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Then some nice things arrived - 


Obviously Enkei RPF1s, 18x9.5 ET15, so square set up with 265/35 NS2Rs on all four corners, up from the 225/245 standard and allow me to rotate front and rear. 
 

Will really increase the neutrality of the car and I’m really looking forward to having a play with it all on track 

 

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oh, and I fitted some facelift rear tail lights, which I’ve just remembered when looking at this pic.

 

Bad picture, but centre caps arrived and fitted. 
 

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Another little job I’ve been meaning to do is to fit heated elements to the Buddy Club bucket seats, which has the wiring and switches is already there is very easy. 


Every track car should have heated seats, right? 

 

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Perfect! 

 

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Think that’s about it for now - Off to Horsham Developments at the end of the month to get suspension / engine fettled and then get booking as many track days as possible! 
 

Cheers all - 

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