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The Primadonna Z Story - 56K Part 1


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Hi Guys,

I have had a couple request for more information on the Primadonna's built in the late 70's/early 80's.

This is the story, from Jack Atkinson (Designer, Builder).

I added the photo's to illustrate the story. There are hundreds more photo's but this should give you the idea.

Because of picture restrictions on this post. This story is done in 2 parts.



There has been a little debate and some misinformation over the years about the Primadonna Z. Since the dreamer of this creation does not talk much, I’ll fill anyone in who knows of its existence. Anyone who thinks they know how or why certain aspects of the design came to be are strictly speculating.


Long before I was a Primadonna Z, I was just a 240Z. My name was ZBAIT. A name the dreamer gave me because nobody could catch me on the rolling hills above Redwood City, California where I lived.


I was adopted in September of 1972 and it didn’t take long for him to start messing with me. At first, he said I needed just a little tweaking. However, in the early 70’s he used to take me to Laguna Seca and Sears Point Raceways to show me what I could be. He started me off with little bubble flares, an air dam and a rear spoiler. Strictly, off the shelf stuff. At first, I liked it but then at the next year’s races I saw these new flares on the Walt Maas Far Performance 240Z. We realized I would be hotter with this setup so the bubbles were popped off and I had a new look.

We were happy for a couple more years when I noticed a change in him. He started showing a lot of interest in this thing called the 935. He told me how he fell in love with an Italian Boxer.

I felt so inadequate. Then one day he stripped me down and said it could take a couple of years to rebuild me but when he was done, it would take 20 years for me to be fully appreciated.





He was only 25 working on me outside of his apartment. He didn’t have a shop or a garage, just an aluminum box he built that he slipped me in. I fit like a glove and my box fit perfectly in his parking stall. He didn’t have fancy tools, not even a workbench, just worked off the curb. It was here where I was truly born. My designer and a young neighbor friend would sit for hours talking about how to make me the ultimate Z.


Then one day he rolled me out of the metal box and fit me with the most exotic tires and wheels imaginable. I had an extended windshield, a huge whaletail and wing just like those 935’s.


It was at this time he met his real love Yolanda and together they took me everywhere. I created quite a stir whenever I’d stop. Other makes were always trying to get a closer look on the road and their owners would wave, smile and try to make me go faster. I was a gunslinger.


We were well known in the Z Owners of Northern California and were very active leading many other Z’s on tours from Oregon to Death Valley, California. Then things started to change.


See Part 2 for the rest of this story.


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