Datsun Z: Playboy’s #18

No, I don’t read Playboy. But i DO read Autoblog, and they had a mention of Playboy’s 25 Greatest rides.

What do you know, the Datsun / Nissan Z made no. 18!

I’m sure in anyone’s list of greatest cars to make it into this world, the Datsun Z is on most of them. It’s just a fantastic car with great lines, modest performance, and a price tag to match (both originally and current).

Here’s the Press Release on Autoblog’s site – see if your car is on their list:

Ferrari GTO Speeds to the #1 Spot

Take a drive through auto history in Playboy’s new comprehensive list of the best cars of all time. Jaguars, Lamborghinis, and Porsches all find their way onto the list, but the Ferrari GTO gets top honors in The 25 Greatest Rides.

The cars range in price from $7,000 to more than $35 million and date back to the 1940s. Playboy editors Ken Gross and A.J. Baime share their definitive list in the magazine’s May issue (on newsstands and on Friday, April 20).

Following is the list of cars that made the cut:

1. Ferrari GTO
2. Porsche 911
3. Shelby Cobra
4. Jaguar E-Type
5. Mercedes-Benz Gullwing
6. McLaren F1
7. Chevrolet Corvette
8. Aston Martin DB5
9. Lamborghini Miura
10. BMW 507
11. Lamborghini Countach
12. Jaguar XK120
13. Ferrari 275 GTB/4
14. MG TC
15. Ford Shelby Mustang
16. Chevrolet Camaro
17. Ferrari 458 Italia
18. Datsun/Nissan Z
19. Chrysler 300
20. Pontiac GTO
21. Mazda Miata
22. VW Beetle
23. Chevrolet Bel Air
24. BMW 2002
25. Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Top 20 Nostalgic Japanese Classics, Z in 3rd

Editors of the latest Nostalgic Hero magazine have just pulled out a list of the Top 20 Nostalgic Classic cars. To no surprise, Nissan / Datsun filled 7 of those spots with the likes of some amazing machines: Datsun Fairlady 1600 / 2000, C210 Skyline, and the Bluebird 1800 (Datsun 510) to name a few.

In 3rd, you’ll see the esteemed Nissan / Datsun Fairlady 240ZG.
While it’s great to see a Z on the list, I think I would’ve liked to see the Z432 over the ZG. The 240ZG is great, but sometimes that G-nose doesn’t look right. I suppose it all depends on the rest of the look.

1970 240 ZG


20. Hino Contessa 1300 Coupe
19. Suzuki Fronte Coupe
18. Subaru 360
17. Datsun Fairlady 1600/2000
16. Daihatsu Midget
15. Nissan Sunny Coupe 1200 GX5 (B110)
14. Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-ES (C210)
13. Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO MR
12. Isuzu 117 Coupe
11. Toyota Celica Liftback 2000GT
10. Isuzu Bellet 1600 GTR
09. Nissan Bluebird 1800 SSS (510)
08. Toyota Corolla Levin 1600 (TE27)
07. Honda S600/S800
06. Toyota Sports 800
05. Mazda Cosmo Sport
04. Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-R (C110)
03. Nissan Fairlady 240ZG
02. Toyota 2000GT
01. Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-R (C10)

Of course at the top is the awesome C10 Skyline GT-R. No matter what variety that two-door C10 model comes in, it’s awesome.
With the rest of the list, I haven’t heard of most of these, so it was a great list to check out some “new” cars. Let’s check’em out.

Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-R (C10)
Nissan Skyline C10

Suzuki Fronte Coupe
Suzuki Fronte Coupe

Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-R (C210)
1973 Skyline HT 2000GT-R

Isuzu Bellet 1600 GTR
1970 Isuzu Bellett GTR

Toyota Sports 800
Toyota Sports 800

Source: Japanese Nostalgic Car

No Bumper = +5% MPG

You read right: by removing the hefty bumpers on the Datsun 280z, i was able to get a solid 5% MPG increase (19.5MPG).

While safety takes a nose dive, an extra 1 mile per gallon actually translates into quite a bit over a tank ~10-12 miles.
Though the real question here is: ‘is it worth it?’. Probably not. Which is why soon enough i’ll be putting on the 240z bumper (better than nothing, right?).

Now if only that guy on eBay would get back to me…

For anyone looking to purchase 240z bumper conversion brackets for their 280z, I’m not having a good purchasing experience with eBay user: v8-240z.
I’ve already sent two emails (via eBay and personal) and I haven’t heard back yet on anything (‘hey i got your email, i’m working on it”, or “shipped, here’s the tracking”, or “i don’t want your business”).
I would suggest zspeed240‘s listing instead.

240z front bumper brackets - stainless steel

240z Steering Wheel refurbished – part 1

A few weeks ago, I picked up a series 1 (slotted spoke) Datsun 240z wood rimmed steering wheel for the 280z at a great bargain.

Took some time this past Sunday to give it a good clean up and re-paint!
Sanded, 2 coats of primer, 3 coats of paint and a 2 coats of matte clear coat.
Didn’t come out too bad, but I think it could use a buff and another coat of clear just to be safe (and some of the matte clear came out patchy).

I’ve determined the wood grain on the wheel is actually worn pretty heavily, and needs a stain to bring it back to it’s former cherry color glory. That’ll be for “part 2”.

240z steering wheel - series 1 - start 240z steering wheel - wood grain close up

240z steering wheel - wood grain close up

240z steering wheel prep'd masked off 240z steering wheel primer grey coat close up 240z steering wheel primer grey coat

240z steering wheel black coat close up

240z steering wheel - black paint coat 240z steering wheel spoke finished

No Bumper – Let the MPG Experiment Begin!

Obviously the Datsun 280z was never purchased as a gas saving, fuel sipping, economy car. Prius’ step aside in horror and repulse as the 280z zooms past their 60mph earth loving vehicles. :] But on the flip-side, with the rise in fuel costs (currently $4.40 for 87 grade gas in the San Jose area), I need to take action.

I found something interesting this morning: my average fuel economy, 18.5 MPG, is actually better than the average passenger car in it’s time!

Fuel Economy History Chart - Daily Datsun

Since my first tank, I’ve consistently maintained 18.5MPG on the 280z (my worst and best being 18MPG and 20MPG respectively).

Now fast forward 35 years, and it’s not quite the same. Though the fuel economy from the late 80’s to the mid-2000’s was stagnant, cars in the past 5 years have had a huge increase in fuel economy (the 2012 Hyundai Elantra pushes 40MPG highway). Though the 280z may never see those types of numbers w/ it’s L-series engine, the alternative to drive train replacement is to reduce weight. This weekend, Kris and i popped off the front bumper, est. a weight savings of ~25-30lbs.

280z Front bumper removed -

Best to have all the right tools.

280z Front bumper removal -

280z Bumper shock removal -

Stock bumper shock, ~5lbs each

280z Bumper shock -

Remounting the horns. There’s one on both sides.

Remounting the 280z horn -

While I wait for the new 280z bumper mounts (made to hold a 240z bumper), I’ll roll around bumper-less and see what kind of MPG we can get!

Seat Covers Coming In!

Pop open the door, what’s the first thing you see? Yes, the seats. Or in the 280z’s case, torn up seats :]

Looks like a cat got to it as normal tearing would’ve probably gone width-wise.

Datsun 280z basketweave seat -

Datsun 280z basketweave passenger seat -

These original seats for the late Datsun 280z are called ‘Basketweave” and replacement covers sell for about $299 on BlackDragon Auto. Yikes.

Initially I wanted the 240z version with the horizonal “jelly rolls”(as i like to call them). They just scream, ‘classic’.
But even those are $200/piece (w/ replacement foam) from Les at Classic Datsun Motorsports – and sad to say, after two emails and almost a week later for a price quote, I haven’t heard back from them.

240z seat -

In the end, I guess it has worked out. I just picked up some great looking ’76 seats covers from Mark D over from the All Datsun Classifieds / ClassicZCar forums.
He was selling them for a great deal: $150, and I’ll reuse my current foam. Although they’re not my first pic, the look has really grown on me. Can’t beat that they were at a great price… and they have the vent holes. love those.

1976 280z seat covers -

When then come in, i’ll be sure to post how I’ll put them on, and perhaps make a helpful video for it.

Bumper time!

One of the visual drawback to the 280z, in my opinion, are the bumpers.

They’re big, thick, and heavy. We have rising safety standards of the late 70’s to thank for that.
A very popular change up is to put on the thinner, more attractive 240z / early 260z bumpers.

There are a few options here:
1) Fiberglass / Carbon fiber bumper (new) – For those who like bright and shiny, there are several options in materials you can get for a brand new bumper. Motorsport Auto has replacement bumpers in both fiberglass and carbon fiber – $160 – $300. Fiberglass / carbon fiber is great, because it’s lightweight, but unfortunately not that strong in case of a crash. Like most modern cars, fiberglass is used as just a cover to look nice. Unlike modern cars, there’s nothing underneath here: no bar, no frame, nothing.

2) Stainless steel bumper (new) – Hop on eBay and you’ll find a company selling stainless steel reproductions of the thin 240z / 260z bumper. They’re supposedly exact matches to the original, and since it’s stainless, it’ll be at its best for corrosion protection.  But not without costing a pretty penny: at $1000 – $1400, is it really worth it?

3) Original steel bumper (used) – Every now and again people are selling their original steel bumpers from the 240z / 260z, $130 – $200 a piece. Whether on Craigslist or eBay, this is truly the best option in my opinion. Not only will you be using something more durable / original than fiberglass or carbon fiber, but also re-using instead of helping the cycle of re-producing.

So i picked me up a used steel front bumper!

Straight outta Fremont, and guy was selling his slightly dented 240z bumper for $80. A sweet grab on Craigslist if i may say so. Actually it was originally $120 if I remember correctly, and it dropped down during the course of the week. Snagged!

Safety / Mounting – These two topics go hand in hand, and rightfully deserve a new post, but i’d like to just briefly touch on the topic. Of course the Datsun 240z / 260z bumper won’t mount directly to the 280z without some modifications. Long story short, I’d like to maximize safety (and reduce extra cost) by utilizing the current bumper shocks on the car. Many people would opt to go for aftermarket brackets, but those just hold the bumper in place and offer minimal safety.

Enough talk, time to pound it out!

240z bumper -

there’s a slight bend on the left side, where supposedly an old lady back into it

240z bumper -

the resulting gash / dent needs to be pounded out

240z bumper -

Snow White 240z in HRE wHeels

eGarage recently had a great article / pics of a Datsun 240z rebuild in Poland.

Owned and rebuilt by Tomasz Boguslawski, the story details his family history in Poland, his love of cars, and the rarity of having a 240z in Poland.

The pictures truly tell all. You’ll see all the nice add-ons that make Z cars looks great – a fantastic job, well done and inspiring!

Source: eGarage

eGarage Datsun 240z HRE wheels

Love the ZG flares, lightweight polyurethane bumper and head light covers. Also it’s got the aftermarket front valance (best besides stock in my opinion), euro-type side marker, and awesome looking HRE wheels. You know he had to convert 4-lug to 5-lug on that one!

eGarage Datsun 240z HRE wheels

Keepin’ it real with the original L series engine. Gold strut tower bar to match.

eGarage Datsun 240z HRE wheels

eGarage Datsun 240z HRE wheels

eGarage Datsun 240z HRE wheels

Just take the wheel and steer!

Guess what just popped in recently? A new steering wheel!

Well, of course not a new one, but a original 240z series 1 steering wheel from a ’70 240z.

My current wheel is the stock 280z type, foam padded (as most foam of 35 yrs, it’s deteriorating) with a vinyl aftermarket cover… nice.
But that’s all about to change.

The 240z steering wheel has a thinner handle, slotted spokes and yes.. wood grain!
I haven’t deciphered yet whether it’s REAL wood, but it’s gonna look great regardless.
I’ll certainly re-spray the spokes in black, but I’d really like to re-finishing the handle in a dark black stain (but light enough to show off that grain).

240z steering wheel -

And to top it off, I was able to find this on eBay for 1/2 the normal price of a used 240z wheel!

240z steering wheel close up -


Now to make a shift knob to match..


SR20DET powered 240z

A few posts ago, I noted a Godzilla-like beast of a 240z could be had for a whopping $45k.

Well, there’s a new money monster in town – try a frame-up fully restored, immaculate, SR20DET powered 240z…for a wallet crushing $125,000! Holy crap!

Turbo’d SR engine from an S15 Silvia, 5-gears on the floor, custom trick headers, custom cnc wheels, a slew of performance parts and a pristine interior, all started from a frame restoration done right. This no-expense-spared whip cranks out +400hp and gobbles asphalt like cookies. Click here for a full parts list on the build page. Go ahead and jaw drop at the following pics, or head to the links for more on the build.

SR20DET 240z

SR20DET 240z

SR20DET 240z

SR20DET 240z

Absolutely incredible.

Build page: link
Final sale page: link

Source: (love this page!)