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Z Restoration Progam


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I'm starting a discussion about the Z Restoration Program. Far too often, I see the program described as "Factory", have been guilty of using the F word myself, and objections have been justly raised in the past about the misleading term. I hope to gather accurate information about the restoration program in a comprehensive thread. Please refer back to the thread "wow-just listed". http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15893&page=1&pp=15 where this thread idea started.

I want to assemble a comprehensive discussion of the subject. There are many aspects about this program that apply, such as the financial health of Nissan in 1996 and the discontinuation of Z car sales in the United States. There is no doubt that the Z Restoration Program was a marketing ploy, but a lot of interesting stuff can be discussed including the “value” of these cars. I want facts and references; serial numbers, colors, special fitment features – an accurate accounting of all the cars. I have started a bibliography. Look up the references. This is going to be along term project, so go out and do your homework and come back with your contributions. No bitching, dissing, or bad-mouthing allowed. The F word is out – don’t use it.

V12horse – “There is a big difference between saying "Factory restored" (Which this car was not!) and being restored by respected restorers authorized by selected Nissan dealers (Which this car was!). I don't want to start a war about this, but I hope you and others realize the difference between the two”.

Bambikiller240 – “It was not the dealers that authorized the refurbishment of theses cars. AFAIK, It was Nissan USA”.

“Nissan is proud to announce our Z Restoration Program, a trailblazing venture committed to elevating vintage 240Zs to their original glory and, thanks to today’s technology, even beyond”. (Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. Nissan Z Restoration. 7-97-5M-CMG)

See the two brochures -yellow and red - shown on the left side of the attached picture? I have those. The red one is entitled "rebirth" and describes what is officially termed as the "Z Restoration Program". Initiated in 1996, the Nissan program contracted private businesses to restore selected HLS30U types purchased by Nissan and resold through selected Nissan Dealerships termed “The Z Store”. The actual Nissan production facilities in Japan (factory) had nothing to do with the program. The 40-odd cars were produced by Classic Datsun Motorsports, PierreZ, and I thought Banzai Motorworks, however:

Daddz – “I can safely say without a doubt that Banzai Motorworks was not involved in restoring any of the 50 or so Z cars purchased by Nissan N.A. However, Mike did sell 50 of his reproduction "OK" stickers to Nissan N.A. (When it's good it's good).

The only two shops ever mentioned in the magazine articles of that era were Classic Datsun and Pierre Z. In one of the articles there was mention of a mass purchase consisting of somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 cars. There is a photograph depicting a bunch of them all chained together much like prisoners; only problem is that about a third of them ever saw the loving hands of either shop.

You may recall that on ebay in two separate auctions some of what was left of the program was sold off very cheaply. In the first auction a BRG 240Z still installed on its dolly awaiting re-assembly that sold for approximately $6-8,000. As proof of that car's tie to the program was a letter from Nissan, N.A. written to the State of California asking that the new owner not be responsible for any fines or fees should the car be re-registered in the State of California. In another auction a lot of about 10-15 cars was offered at a ridiculously low sum of money and if I remember the auction wasn't completed. In that second auction it made mention that the cars were awaiting the "factory restoration"--the auction wording not mine-- and that since the program terminated early the remaining cars were to be sold off”.

So fire up your scanners, practice your copy-clip technique and lets see if we can assemble a discussion of serious, complete, and accurate information about these babes. I gathered some information from PierreZ when I was out in California last spring. I’ll be working on posting some of it. Especially the way the engines were installed. Why, might you ask, am I interested in this? Because, I’m restoring two cars. I think this is THE standard by which we look at restorations of the 240Z. There is no intention implied that there are not other shops performing equal or better workmanship. The Z Restoration Program is simply a benchmark.








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I along with many others will be watching this thread with great interest. Being in Australia it is very hard to get information like this, as a lot of it is gathered by people on the ground talking to other people.

To my way of thinking anything other than a boat ride to Japan and back would discount a (insert F word here) restoration. I am also very interested as to how many aftermarket parts have been used in these cars to bring them back to "as new" condition.

I look forward to all the information that will be forthcoming.


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Go for it, 26th-Z. I am glad to see a thread like this being created, and I too will be an interested follower.

There's been such a lot of cr*p written about these cars and the whole project over the years - especially when the cars have been offered for sale - that I'd be pleased to see some substantiated and corroborated data about them.


Alan T.

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As I recall the now-defunct "Z Car Magazine" (later "Z Car and Classic Datsun") had good coverage of this topic while it was current. This included the revelation that the two aforementioned shops were actually doing the work even though Nissan initially wanted that information kept from the public. There were interviews with Les and/or Pierre and photographs of some of the work in progress. When I get back home after the holidays I'll re-read the articles and post any interesting information obtained that hasn't already been mentioned here.

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Way to go 26th-Z! I'm in full support of some research into this topic. If you are interested in talking with someone who was part of the factory restoration project, give Les Cannaday a call at Classic Datsun Motorsports. http://www.classicdatsun.com

He was one of the shops selected to perform the restorations for sure....

-- Mike

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This is going to be quite an undertaking and I’ll need as much help as I can get. Don’t you think? Should be fun! I know there is a lot of published information out there – magazine articles and such. If anyone would like to mail information to me, use my business address; 513 Central Avenue #101, Sarasota, Florida 34236. I will gladly return material as requested, but I don’t mind copies at all. If you have magazines, post the issue and date for the bibliography. In order to obtain information, I’ll need to write e-mails and letters. Any introduction you might be able to give me would be appreciated so that I’m not given the brush-off as if I were some quack or ricer fanatic.

I seem to have more information about the PierreZ operations than anything else. Most of the info I have is PierreZ related and I have this nifty video. Perhaps still photos can be made from the DVD to post. I have almost nothing about Les Canaday’s involvement.

Nissan contacted Pierre Z Car Center in September 1996 based on references they had about their work. An agreement had been reached by October and the first car was completed in February 1997. Nissan envisioned restoration of approximately 200 cars and Pierre Perrot proposed limiting his private customer services in order to accommodate the Nissan project. Facilities had to be organized to physically restore the cars and special equipment such as body dollies and rotisseries had to be fabricated. Initially, the agreement was for restoration of one car to see how the project was going to work. (See photo below) By May of 1997, the project was in full swing and Katayama san visited the facilities at Pierre Z Car Center in Hawthorne, California.

A number of candidate cars were purchased based on their condition and “restorability”. Primary emphasis was placed on the condition of the body shell – meaning “rust free”, and matching serial numbers were verified. The cars were disassembled by hand and all parts were cataloged and examined. Parts that could not be restored were replaced with new (NOS) or original (OEM) or from donor cars. We will get into the parts conversation more in depth as we will see that parts became a defining issue with the program. To the best of my knowledge, all the selected candidates were 1970 – 1972 model years. I am not aware of any serial number accounting at this time, however I believe all the cars were HLS30U types.

During this time, ten Nissan dealers were selected to sell the “Vintage Zs” based on the past sales performance and interest of the dealers. They were:

Jake Sutherlin Nissan, Tampa, FL

Sutherlin Nissan, Marietta, GA

Esserman Nissan, Miami, FL

Coggin Nissan, Jacksonville, FL

Universal City Nissan, Los Angeles, CA

Performance Nissan, Duarte, CA

Stevens Creek Nissan, Santa Clara, CA

Bankston Nissan, Irving, TX

Courtesy Nissan, Richardson, TX

Brown's Fairfax Nissan, Fairfax, VA

I don’t know much about the dealer distribution program. It seems that initially, the distribution was California focused, but as you can see, there are three dealers in Florida for me to contact. I find it very interesting that Bob Sharp Nissan is not on the list and that the list does not contain distribution in the Northeast and Midwest.

For those of you who own one of these babes, or know someone who does, please describe the car and post photos with the model date, date of original manufacture (on the door jamb) and serial numbers including the Vintage Z number. As parts and originality seem to be an issue, the peculiarities of your car would be very interesting. I can assure everyone that strict adherence to part / year correctness was NOT made and that many cars were equipped with modifications. We can get into that issue as well.

Thanks for all the interest! :classic:




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Speaking of NOS parts, I can remember my local dealer calling me to see If I wanted any of our regions NOS parts. They had a list of the available parts and called to let know that it would be my last chance to get them due to the restoration program requesting them. I will try to find my parts receipt to get a date. Also just to make sure we don't double up on research I have requested information from Les at Classic Datsun such as Ser#, Color, which of the 10 Z Stores they went to, etc... JLP

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Would you put me in touch with Marc, please, Juan? My e-mail address is cwenzel at earthlink dot net I'm still raising the troops and would love to speak to him. If anyone wants to write me, put Z Restoration Program in the subject line. Thanks

I had the chance to express some other thoughts to a private message this morning. I want to emphasize respect for the privacy of car owners and copyright laws. I plan to put watermarks on information I scan and describe where I got the information. I don't think we really need to know who owns what cars. What comments do you have concerning copyright issues, Mike? Let's keep this discussion professional.

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Hows it going? Long time no see!


Hi Christopher. I'm the one that Juan was talking about, who purchased the shell from Marc.

Marc still has parts left from the Z restoration program. The shell's title was still under Nissan, and I have the letter written to the State of California asking to wave the fines/fees for re-registering. He's a nice guy, and he helped get me in touch with Matt Maloney, a body shop manager who painted a few of the cars for the program. My car is at the shop that Matt currently works at (he brought his paint and body guy over from the old shop) awaiting paint. I'll go ahead and e-mail you his contact information.

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Thanks Eric! I had remembered that there was at third shop involved - Datsun Alley. I was also told today that Marc sold the business. More as that develops.

Let's add to the bibliography of essential reading:

Long, Brian; "Datsun Z, Fairlady to 280Z", Veloce Publishing 1998 - chapter 8, "Buying and Restoring an Early Z".

The pictures I posted of the silver car came from Nissan N.A. press pack about the Z Restoration Program. Those and several more are published in Long's book. "An amazing restoration - the result of around 300 hours' work. Nissan North America will sell the restored cars through a limited number of dealers across the States, with prices running at around $25,000". The postscript paragraphs of Chapter 8 describe the essence of the program. Many of the points we have discussed in the past, in past threads, are brought to light in this reading. We are going to discover / uncover quite a few issues that have been points of debate in the past; that which may debate what Nissan published to the press concerning the intent of the program.


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Nissan North America will sell the restored cars through a limited number of dealers across the States, with prices running at around $25,000....

Is that the value the insurance companies will use, or would they go with the N.A.D.A. book value of about $3,000 - $8,000 because the 240Z "isn't a very desireable car." :(

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Since Brown's Fairfax Nissan is about as far North and East as the program went I will endeavour to contact them this week to see if they have any information with regard to the program. Fairfax is only about 30 miles from my house and I can stop by my grandfather's house since he lives about 10 minutes from the dealer (good excuse to drop off one of my cars for winter storage?).

An interesting fact that some or none of us may have been aware of is that one could have bought the restored cars using Nissan Motor Acceptance for financing! One of my fellow ZCCNV members has a bunch of information and since he doesn't post here he asked if I post for him. When I receive the information I will be sure to post in this thread and credit him appropiately.

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Thanks Bob and thanks Jerry! I'm taking the day off Thursday to devote to a research mission. I have arranged an audience to one of the great collector LibraryZ. Bob, your connection is another great LibraryZ. We should find some interesting information and expand our bibliography. Jerry, I have not contacted Les. Go for it!

I want to mention that I am hoping to come up with some other interesting information from my visit to the LibraryZ. It seems some documents I have been looking for are closer than I thought. Should be fun.

I also want to mention some of the private e-mail I have been receiving and thank everyone for their interest and writing to me; their suggestions, contacts and comments. I think I discovered the origins of the F word. I also think we might run into some sensitive issues about the Z Restoration Program as we get further into this.

I want to reiterate my intention to establish a comprehensive bibliography of the published material on the subject. Not that all the written material is completely factual, rather identifying what was said and in what context. It would be a dream to account for all the cars. Lets see how far we get. How many of you saved pictures from Restoration Program cars that have been on eBay or other classifieds?

Here is a blurb from the Nissan publication "Rebirth"; 1997. "When available, genuine Nissan parts are used. And in those cases when non-Nissan parts are used, quality non-OEM parts are approved by Nissan engineers, specifically for use on these restored cars".

"Some vehicles shown with optional equipment. See actual vehicle for complete accuracy". And ..."not all model years, colors or option combinations will be available".

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Add to the Bibliography:

Sport Compact Car magazine, August 1997

Autoweek, May 26, 1997

Automobile magazine, June 1997

Here are a couple of scans from the Nissan publication "Rebirth", copyright Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A.



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26th, this is great idea - even for us over here in Australia.

Given that the Z-restoration program can be classified as relatively 'recent history' in the overall scheme of Z-cars, there must be a good number of Nissan people connected with the project still alive(!) I suggest that your research includes a little 'human' investigation too: Who at Nissan N.America came up with the idea? Who oversaw the project? Who decided to pull the financial plug and why? What were the project's objectives?

If you can find the right people to speak to, the information you get will be arguably more valuable than the dribs and drabs that you will be starting to recieve right now - and it will be literally from the horse's mouth!

I know this PM doesn't help you much but I want to wish you good luck and I'll watch developments with interest,



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Good idea Halz. Of course it might be near impossible to get in contact with the people who were behind the program, but it would be great if someone could find them and they were willing to help. This is an excellent project Chris, I too will be watching from the sideline :)

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I recieved a phone call from Les (Classic Datsun) last night, we discussed the Nissan restoration program to length. He is very forthright with information on the program. I requested that he gather any documentation on the program which he would be willing to share. Les is a very busy man but I am sure as time allows he will share some insightful information along with documentation on the program with us. :D

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That appears to be the same checklist that is available on a site (I forget exactly where). I have it somewhere on my computer. I can't believe this guy is auctioning it on eBay.

A google search for "factory restoration checklist" turns up the following hit for a PDF file.


Download and print it out yourself and save the money for the eBay auction. ROFL

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