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matthewkylelewis

Hey everyone! New member, looking for a Z...

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Hi guys, 

My name is Kyle, I'm 28 and live in Alabama. I'm looking to get into my first Z. My goal is to build a track capable car that can still be daily driven on occasion. I'd like to keep some type of Nissan engine in it just for puritys sake. I'd also like to do some sort of transmission swap where I can run an auto with paddles. Trying to get a feel for what can be done with these cars so any input is greatly welcomed. I've been hunting craigslist for a Z... Thanks!

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Paddle shifters would be almost impossible. But maybe you can do it.

What track will you use, Barber's? We don't have too many around here.

Are you looking for an S30 Z or something newer? I will help if i can. I'm up in Gadsden, 1hour north of Birmingham.

Good read here for an s30 build.

http://datsunzgarage.us/engine/

Edited by siteunseen
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Barber is at the top of my list. I fell in love with it a few years ago attending an Indycar race, I'd like to do Road Atlanta too. Looking to stick with the older Z just for the look of the body. I don't care too much for the ZX models. Are there any shops in Alabama you recommend to help tackle a project like this? I'm in Troy but I'm in Birmingham fairly often. 

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46 minutes ago, matthewkylelewis said:

Barber is at the top of my list. I fell in love with it a few years ago attending an Indycar race, I'd like to do Road Atlanta too. Looking to stick with the older Z just for the look of the body. I don't care too much for the ZX models. Are there any shops in Alabama you recommend to help tackle a project like this? I'm in Troy but I'm in Birmingham fairly often. 

You have a high bar! I hope you can get there. I'd try for a Porsche  if you have deep pockets. These old Zs are not too much for racing competitively any more, endurance track time more or less is all. Closed off parking lots and such. You need to see what you can find on Facebook. Atlanta is your best bet. Talladega has a road course infield. 

Get you a nice Z and restore it. You'd be ahead of the game and this forum will start to work on you as far as racing a classic Z. Great cars but not so competitive anymore. There worth so much money you'd be underwater racing one. My .02 cents.

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5 minutes ago, siteunseen said:

You have a high bar! I hope you can get there. I'd try for a Porsche  if you have deep pockets. These old Zs are not too much for racing competitively any more, endurance track time more or less is all. Closed off parking lots and such. You need to see what you can find on Facebook. Atlanta is your best bet. Talladega has a road course infield. 

Get you a nice Z and restore it. You'd be ahead of the game and this forum will start to work on you as far as racing a classic Z. Great cars but not so competitive anymore. There worth so much money you'd be underwater racing one. My .02 cents.

Oh I don't plan on racing it, I'm just looking to do some open track days and spirited driving on the road. I would love a Porsche but yeah I'm lacking the deep pockets. I'll have to do this in stages (finishing up a K5 Blazer right now).

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What is your budget?

Here is my 2¢.

Consider starting with a Miata or Porsche Boxster. You can find them relatively affordable, and they have better parts availability than our cars, especially for suspension parts! Horsepower and torque move the car, but the suspension and tires are what will make the car drive fast. Dollar for dollar, either one of those cars will be closer to ready than an early Z. Keep in mind that Miatas and Boxsters are depreciating. Z cars are shooting up (at least until more of us old farts drop out of the market). They also are safer than a stock Z.

Consider starting with SCCA Autocrossing. If you find a good instructor (and most local groups have at least one), you learn how to control your car. It's much better to learn how to set up a line in a parking lot than coming down from the bridge at Road Atlanta down toward the concrete wall.

The Mitty is coming up in April at Road Atlanta. It is a vintage racing event that draws a fair number of Z cars. I've attended it for a number of years and have made many friends among the participants. I can introduce you to someone who took a former 240Z race car and dropped an LS3 into it for a track day car. I can also introduce you to the guy who resurrected the BRE 240Z. He will have John Morton, the original BRE driver, driving the car again. Greg Ira, a multiple SCCA champ in Z cars may also be there. You can find out about the Mitty at http://www.hsrrace.com.

If you insist upon a Z, learn to drive it stock and work on it before you try to do much in the way of modifications. An engine/transmission swap can be a good way of finding the next part to fail (like a half shaft or brakes). Get the suspension, tires and brakes ready first. You'll find a lot of dead, worn-out bushings and other suspension component problems in a lot of Z cars. Replace the seatbelts! Don't rely upon 40++ year old belts to stop your body if you mess up. If you want to install a cage, get recommendations from track guys for the best welders they know. These cars are like beer cans compared to modern cars, and a good cage could make the difference. If you do a cage, get 4 point belts mounted properly at a minimum for track days. 

 

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If I'm starting with a project I'd like to stay around 5-10k. Because I'll no doubt be dumping money into it.  For something that is alot closer to my end goal I'd be willing to spend a good bit more.  I was looking really hard at a Porsche as it's always been my dream to own one but I hate how the boxster looks.  What about a Cayman? I was a little worried about poor reliability and super high maintenance costs so I thought a Z would be a more practical buy.  

The Mitty is on my calender though! I met a really nice guy at the Rolex 24 last month who sold me on it. 

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Caymans haven't been around as long as the Boxsters, so they are still north of $15K. Boxsters are dipping down below $10K.

With the spike in Z car prices, $5K to $10K is likely to be a project involving a fair amount of body work. These cars aren't known for rust resistance.

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It will work better than trying to swap one in. 

It might be good to make a list of what you want in a car and prioritize the list to see what really suits your desires best.

Edited by SteveJ

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On 2/11/2019 at 4:19 PM, matthewkylelewis said:

Hi guys, 

..snipped..cjb.. . "My goal is to build a track capable car that can still be daily driven on occasion." 

and...snipped.cjb..  "Looking to stick with the older Z just for the look of the body. "

 
Hi Kyle - welcome to the group.
 
No question in my mind - a 240Z can be daily driven and easily set up for the occasional Track Days and weekend Autocross.  As far as being competitive in todays Sports Car racing …I think Greg Ira has done pretty well these past few years if you ever plan to go all out Racing. 
 
Best advice is take your time shopping, looking, shopping.  Look for the cleanest, most rust free body you can find, that hasn’t been hacked up by some PO.  I would expect to spend $20K to $25K today for really good 240Z. Pay the money up front for a good one - it is always the least expensive way to go.
 
Everything mechanical on the 240Z’s is easy to fix. Add a set of good shocks, coil-overs, proper anti-sway bar or bars - great wheel/tires sets (one for street use, another for Track Days/Auto-X). A good engine and drive train… and the Z’s capabilities well far exceed your driving ability for several years. Plus you’ll have a really beautiful Classic to drive and enjoy every day.
 

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