Jump to content


Anybody here from England, look at what I found!!!


Recommended Posts

Hi Toecutter,

This Samuri conversion 240z has been talked about on our UK zclub site. As on the practical classic cars website, the owner is not wanting to sell and, speaking to someone else, he "intends to restore".....but its just rotting away. Even if it was saved, its going to need some serious work

I have added another pic of said car, that I got sitting on my computer, and its from 2005...




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Enigma, reading that first artical by Nick Howell I noticed in the accompaning pic of Big Sam that there is a car that looks like the one in question behind Big Sam. I've pasted the pic below, I assume this would be a pic taken by Nick Howell in the UK back in the day. The car at the rear even has the same tinted chrome rimmed light covers, see below;


Link to comment
Share on other sites


The picture you attached was not taken by Nick Howell, and none of the cars pictured ( including the wreck ) had proper factory-style metal rimmed headlamp covers. I think you are mistaking the white pinstriping around the headlamp area for the chrome / stainless rims? The two cars had the American-style aftermarket flush-fitting tinted covers.

I honestly don't know why people get so excited about cars like the 'Samuri' in the first post. That car would have essentially been little more than a standard UK-market car with a jazzy paintjob, a bit of pinstriping, some signwriting and a bit of 'tuning'. That 'tuning' - more often than not - consisted of cut-down standard springs, a ported cylinder head, triple carbs and an aftermarket exhaust system. The earliest cars even used a standard camshaft. People are talking about it like it is some long-lost race warrior that needs to be saved for posterity.

There were some properly prepared and tuned 'Samuri' conversions, but they were in the minority overall. This one looks like it has been further adulterated later in life with a crap wing and a sunroof that does not fit. Nice.

The race cars built by 'Samuri Conversion' were a different kettle of fish, and the car(s) that we know as 'Big Sam' ( that name has been used on two different bodyshells ) were even more special. The first 'Big Sam' was converted from an ex-Works rally car ( so it already had a very special bodyshell ) by privateer racer Rob Grant, who entered it in many GT races throughout Europe - apparently without managing to get the attention of the media. Grant is one of the pioneers of privateer Z racing, and is something of an unsung hero. Many of the modifications on what became the first 'Big Sam' were carried out by Grant and his team, and he usually gets almost no recognition for this in the 'Samuri' or 'Big Sam' stories.

The 'Samuri' converted road cars benefitted from the kudos and reflected glory of the race cars, but in reality they often consisted of a few tweaks and some fairly basic tuning and showed that - above all - the cars offered a very good base to work on.

Its a shame that whenever you see a piece of writing on these cars it always has so many mistakes in it. There's an article on the subject of 'Samuri Conversions' in the latest issue of Motor Sport magazine here in the UK ( a publication with a long history and a high reputation ) and it is choc-full of mistakes and bad research, and will simply serve to reinforce old myths and previous mistakes. Very sad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow now thats informative. Yes it was my bad eye re the SS headlight trim. I noticed my error soon after only to find the forums have now got a lock down edit. after 5 minutes have passed you can't get back in to edit a post arrghhh...anyhow waffling, thanx for the straight up. still a shjame to see that car rot away like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, the above articles illustrate some of the bad research and plain mistakes ( not to mention fanciful thinking ) about some of the cars concerned.

Take the first two paragraphs from the "History" page linked above.


"HS30LW -00023 or 00026 - Started life as a light weight, "factory works" rally car. Assigned to Shekhar Meta and Dave Doughty for the 1972 East Africa Safari Rally. The team finished 10th Overall that year, and took third in class. Below is the rest of the story about this historic Z Car.

After the 72 EAS Rally, HS30LW 00023 was shipped back to Datsun UK under whoes auspices it had been initially prepared for competition at Old Working Garage. After receipt from Africa by Datsun UK, was stored .... "

Sorry, but to be blunt - this is complete garbage!


*There's no such chassis number prefix as "HS30LW" ( where the hell did that come from???!! ).

*The car pictured between those two paragraphs ( 'Big Sam' version 2 ) is a different car altogether!

*Nissan's 'Works' 240Z & 260Z rally cars were assigned standard 'HS30', 'HLS30', 'RS30' and 'RLS30' chassis number prefixes and standard production sequence body serial numbers.

*'Big Sam' ( version 1 ) was based on 'HS30-00025', which Rauno Aaltonen had driven on the 1970 RAC Rally ( its competition debut ).

*Neither 'HS30-00023' nor 'HS30-00026' ( presuming that's what these 'HS30LW' cars are supposed to be ) competed in any East African Safari Rally - let alone the 1972 event. Neither did 'HS30-00025' for that matter.

None of them were ever 'practice', 'chase', 'recce' or 'high speed tender' cars for the Safari either.

*The name of ( one of ) Shekhar Mehta's navigators was Mike Doughty - not "Dave".

*Old Woking Service Station here in the UK never actually built the Works rally cars, so to say that any Works cars ".....had been initially prepared for competition....." there is well wide of the mark. As far as the Safari was concerned, Nissan built batches of cars in Japan for the event and shipped them direct to Africa in the majority of cases. One of the exceptions being the '73 Safari winning car, which had already competed in the 1972 RAC Rally before being used on the Safari.

Old Woking Service Station was an important part of the Works rally car jigsaw, but to make it sound as though they built the cars themselves from scratch is nonsense, and just illustrates the low level of understanding about what was going on.

*The current bodyshell of 'Big Sam' ( I call this 'version 2' ) is another ex-Works rally 240Z body ( 'HS30-00025' was destroyed in an accident ) of a later vintage, and was originally LHD. This bodyshell also did not compete or take part in the East African Safari Rally, but the main part of its Works rally career is known. The fact that it started life as an LHD car should be a big clue as to what it's initial event was intended to be - but people seem to prefer to believe the big 'Safari' myth even though the evidence shows that it is completely untrue.

'Big Sam' is an interesting car ( actually two cars ) with a fascinating history surrounding it, but the vast majority of magazine articles, book chapters and anecdotes about it contain myths, poor research and silly speculation - not to mention the odd plain lie. Even some of the characters that are part of the story don't get it right...........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great information about Samuri-cars, thank you HS30-H :)

Anyway, it makes me really sad to see such a nice Z to be left like that. It should be saved, and not be left to rust away. Even if it is waiting for restoration it should have a nice garage or something to protect her :cry:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.