Tag Archives: 280ZX

Scaled Down

22 Apr

Pretty cool when you can build a 1/10th scale radio controlled version of your actual car.

The model:




And the full size version:




Guess which one runs lol. One of these days I’ll get the real one back on the road. As with most projects, lack of time/money. Ran great, insanely fast, but ran out of injector at 16 psi on a T66. A series of “might as well” changes ensued, and well, I never it finished the changes, as this took over:



OG Type R

21 Aug

I’ve only seen 1 of these bad boys in person…and it was in poor shape at best. They built 1009 of them to homologize the spoiler for use in racing around the world. Other than that, it was a standard 280ZX tarted up with some stickers. The damn thing came with hubcaps (the one shown here has the wrong wheels on it). Following in the tradition of Porsche, the spoiler was made of that funky mid to late 70’s rubber stuff. Porsche must have had ownership rights in the factory or something because they used it on everything. Had sort of a half Nerf, half dense foam feel to it. But it made 380 lbs of downforce – not too shabby.

Time Machine

21 Aug

Get into the wayback machine to 1980 – and all the cool kids had the Datsun 280ZX. Ever see the “Black Gold” commercial on youtube? Hilarity.

This car is #1 of #3000 10th Anniversary Models made – and has just 1000 miles. To the best of my knowledge they only came in black/gold or black/red. It just so happens we had one of these about 10 years ago that had very low miles, but was in a bad accident. I’ve still got parts from it waiting for the day where I can continue working on my ’79.

Classic Z1 – Part 1: Drag me to Hell

1 Nov

Over a series of posts, we’ll take a look back to where Z1 Performance began.  We’ll chronicle some of the projects, and events from back in the day and share some old photos and stories along the way.

Z1 Performance, the brainchild of a few die-hard Datsun fanatics, saw Adam’s 1979 280ZX as a veritable guinea pig in a project that would strive to blend old school and new in a timeless package.

Mike was the owner of Z1 at the time and an experienced mechanic.  Along with Billy (an equally knowledgeable tech) they had been restoring, repairing, modifying and racing Z-cars for years prior.  They had the experience, parts and knowledge required to get this project off the ground.  Together with Adam’s vision, they targeted the ultimate street car of the time; the 993 911 Turbo, capable of running mid 12-second 1/4 runs with a full interior, A/C, and stereo.

This ZX was not destined to be a trailer queen.  Rather, it would be a fully functioning daily driver as comfortable cruising to work as it was on the drag strip.  As the project grew legs, progress was made quickly.  It wasn’t long before we were all spending Friday nights at Long Island Dragway for test-and-tune.  The boys would have hours to make countless runs, note changes and results.

Phase 1 was simple: Turbocharge the higher compression N/A 280zx motor using OEM Datsun turbo parts along with a rising rate adjustable fuel pressure regulator.

Phase 2 required the stronger Turbo motor’s internals, a front mount intercooler (Starion core) high flow fuel pump, larger turbo and a programmable ECU (Electromotive TEC II).

Phase 3 would bring along a fully built motor, aggressive cam, massive injectors, larger turbo and intercooler plus loads more boost.

Once armed with the ECU, Adam scoped out the few dyno’s available in the area at the time and gain some experience tuning the L series for boost.  We’ll have to search for dyno sheets!

Success wasn’t always the name of the game, and driving the ZX to and from events and testing would often mean long nights prepping and repairing.  I recall one particular test session at LI dragway when the original N/A tranny finally let go…after perhaps one run.  After a tow back to the shop (and a large bill), Mike and Bill had another tranny bolted up in under and hour and we drowned our sorrows with pizza and beer.

Through it all, we built not only fast cars, but solid friendships that would stand the test of time.  While Mike and Bill have since moved on to other careers, they are still very much a part of the Z1 family and continue to offer their assistance, experience and knowledge in their free time.

LI Drag1

Is it a prybar or a boost controller?

LI Drag3

Likely waiting for an authentic LI Dragway hotdog in between runs

LI Drag2

Sitting pretty!

LI Drag4

There we go!

LI Drag7

That's right, a brushed aluminum gas cap in '96. Z1, setting trends!

LI Drag8

Compensating for something?


Now that's competition!


Would this be called "attack mode?"


Who won the holeshot?



Z1 Dyno 1

On the dyno, after a quick stop at the airport for jet fuel! No joke.

Z1 Dyno



All of it, impossible without this man (Mike). That hat was stlyin in '96!

I now want to grow the thickest mustache possible!

26 Nov

Black Gold Suckkkkaaaassss!

My second first car

20 Aug


If it wasn’t for Nissan, my first semester grades during senior year of high school would have been much better. In my defense, it was hard to concentrate in class when you’re first car was being custom built just for you and the job was almost complete. No, I wasn’t a rich-kid. No, the parents weren’t helping out at all. It was just nice to have friends in high places. Friends with a thriving business specializing in high performance Z-cars. Friends with a clean chassis and enough spare parts to piece together a sweet ride. My 1982 280ZX Turbo was almost completed! When released, it was THE fastest production car available and put the hurt on the current Corvette, 911SC and even the Ferrari 308GTSi.

Now you understand my hesitance to stay focused during social studies. So, I’d daydream about the fresh charcoal gray paint, HKS intake, custom exhaust and the electronically controlled Recaro’s they just had lying around.

Delivery was imenent so I had the car insured with the same company my Father used. And that’s when it happened – the VIN # came back “Turbo” and my Father forbid the Z as my first car (despite me funding it all from working over the summer and throughout the school year). The guys at Z1 didn’t mind at the time – now they had another lovely Z to drive around in!

Unfortunately, a turbocharged car was out of the question. So, I searched high and low for my second first car! I decided the naturally aspirated FC3S RX-7 was the car for me. I loved the 944-esque exterior and the Rotary powerplant was legendary with old school tuners. After looking at several junkers, I found a clean 1988 base model FC. It had around 80K on the clock and aside from blown shocks, it checked out 100%. Compression was strong and it even passed emissions with flying colors.

Within a few months, I had new KYB shocks and a set of linear Suspension techniques springs. Then I scored a set of 16×8 ROH wheels at the junkyard and threw on some 225/50/16 dunlops. Within a year, I added a K&N intake, custom single exit exhaust and the rear spolier and side strakes from an ’87 RX-7 sport. The RX-7 was a sexy superb-handling dream machine and it treated me well.


Fast forward 8 years. The FC had undergone some major changes. I’d eventually changed everything including the swap to a ported Turbo motor. However, it all became too expensive to maintain. After my second TII motor in a year, something had to give.

It didn’t take long to find a suitable buyer. The kid was from CT and seemed nice enough. My FC was gone (much to the shock of anyone who knew me). “One day, I’ll build another,” I told my girlfriend.


It’s August 20th and I’m freaking out!  I’m getting married in nearly 3 months!!  So, my Fiance comes to me with some depressing news. It seems she’s been trying to buy-back my old RX-7 for a wedding present (yea, she ROCKS). Unfortunately, she found out the car was totalled in a bad accident a few months ago and the remains were sold as a parts car to another enthusiast. In that moment it all came back to me. I could smell the turbo rotary’s putrid exhaust. I could feel the powerful motor thrust forward on full boost. I will build another one day…I’m thinking an ’89-’90 convertible with a Turbo motor swap. For now, let’s hope I don’t spend my time in the office daydreaming or I’ll never be able to afford it!