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  1. As car enthusiasts we are not merely the owners of 4-wheeled machines but caretakers of classic and interesting automobiles. Anytime we acquire a used but “new to me“ vehicle we always want to know its history, where has it been, has it been treated well, what made the owner buy this car over another, and so on. Many times there are clues left behind in between the seat cushions or stashed in the glovebox in the form of receipts, matchbooks, and maybe even an occasional photograph that was included with the sale. Sometimes the story of ownership is passed down through the owners themselves. But as time marches on and these cars and their previous owners grow older it is becoming harder to track down and have the opportunity to talk with the original owner of a car. After several conversations and a few months of planning this opportunity materialized and I am so grateful it did. This past weekend I trailered my 1971 240z #8011 to the Dallas area to visit family, attend the Dallas/Plano Cars and Coffee, and have lunch with Frank Lauriello, the original owner of the car. On Sunday October 4th we met at Main Street Bistro and Bakery for brunch. I didn’t know what Frank looked like but knew he was in his 60’s. Seeing that everyone else there was a young beautiful family and well-dressed I figured the first guy in his 60’s that walked in by himself would be Frank. Sure enough as an older gentleman walked in I tapped him on the shoulder and I was right. We formally introduced ourselves, shook hands, and a got a table outside. After ordering coffee and discussing how beautiful the weather was the conversation quickly turned to cars. Frank had never heard of Cars and Coffee so I told him about the event and even given the fact there were two dozen Italian exotics in attendance, only three classic Z’s were there. Being exclusive does not always mean being expensive I said. He laughed and agreed and asked the next time it comes around he would like to check it out. When I originally setup this weekend I was hoping to meet Frank at C&C but he was already booked up on Saturday. The waitress comes back around, we order our food and get back to our conversation. I asked Frank what made him buy the Z and what else was he considering when he did. He told me how he was looking at Porsche 911’s as they were fast and cheap back then and the 240Z’s were already popular around Los Angeles. After test driving the 240z he figured it would be more reliable than the Porsche so he bought it in late September of 1970. He remembered that the car was built in August of 1970 and felt it should really be called a 1970 but was titled as a ’71. I asked him “how cheap was a Porsche 911 in 1970?“ Frank: “About $9,000” Me: “How much was the Z?” Frank: “Around $3,000 if I remember correctly” Me: “How much was a house in Los Angeles in the early 70’s?” Frank: “Around 15 to 20 grand” We both laughed, seems that Porches have always been expensive. He went on to tell me a few years ago he considered buying a new 911 but his wife would not even get in the car to go on a test drive. He still likes them but he for now they are not in the financial picture. I asked him has ever thought about getting another Z, maybe a new one like a 370z? He said they are nice but he has not paid that much attention to them. Our food arrives, we take a few bites, switch gears to another topic of what we with our time, job, etc. Frank goes on to tell me that he volunteers with an organization that provides handyman services to senior citizens called Plain-O-Helpers. I was truly impressed with the variety of work they do and how busy they are, averaging thirty houses per week. They work with the city and county to help seniors get their homes up to code or install ramps, grab bars, and more. He has been doing it for twelve to thirteen years and I could tell he has a real passion for it. Suddenly my job as an IT project manager was not that interesting. We took in some more of our food and I ask Frank to tell me about any exciting trips or adventures he had in the Z. He wipes mouth and sits back as I can tell the mental wheels are spinning and he says “we drove that car everywhere.” “We took it up the California highway all the way to Canada one time, we drove it to Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, and Nevada.” “It was always a good car, had plenty of room for our bags” “It was always garage kept and never got rained on unless it had been driven and the rain came along” There were no adventures or mishaps with the car. Based on Frank’s stories the Z served as fun but essential transportation to their destinations. The conversation changed gears to ownership history and I shared what I knew based on the information I had gathered from the owner I bought it from. Frank owned the car for approximately twenty five years and during that time he lived in LA, Colorado, and then moving to the Dallas Texas area where he lives now. He sold the car to a car collector a few years after moving to Dallas in the mid 90’s. The car had an issue with second gear and at this point Frank was done with the car and did not feel like fixing it. We concluded that the collector fixed the transmission and sold the car on to the owner in Denison Texas near the Oklahoma border. I told Frank I actually spoke with this owner briefly after buying the car and that he was now in his 90’s. I did not keep him on the phone long, just confirmed a few things about the car and was hoping he still had the window sticker as Frank originally told me during our first phone conversation that it went with the car. Fortunately he remembered the window sticker but unfortunately it was lost during a move. I told Frank about all the work the work that Dave Hoffer and his crew had done on the car prior to me buying it from Dave. This included the engine and suspension rebuild along with the 5-speed transmission swap. We wrapped up our meal, took care of the check, and vacated our residency on the patio. We walked to the parking garage where the Z was and as we came upon it we talked about the condition of the paint. He said the color it is now is very close to what he remembered as the original color. I opened the hatch and showed him the evidence of the BMW graphite metallic that remained along with the original paint peeking through in a few locations where the BMW color had flaked off. I asked him if he wanted to go for a ride and he quickly accepted. After a quick seat belt adjustment we were off as several car alarms chirped upon our exit, informing us that we were disturbing their morning slumber. I took Frank on a nice loop away from traffic so I could do some spirited driving with him. He said “she really moves along” as the engine pulled the car around with ease, always providing a little g-force to the occupants. As we got on to a road with a higher speed limit I shifted in to 5th demonstrating how nice the car cruised and Frank agreed that is what it needed since day one. We drove around some more as I could see him looking around the inside of the car, taking it all in. As we made our way back to the parking garage Frank asked if he could take my picture with the car so he could show his wife and I replied “absolutely”. I parked on the side street next to the garage as we took turns taking pictures of the car and of the other standing next to it. We chatted a little more as Frank remembered being in a small accident in the car, being hit on the front right side. He said the shop did a good job and I concurred as the car has nice shot lines and handles well. I told him I had picked up the set of slotted mag wheels the last time I was in the Dallas area from a guy off Craigslist and asked what wheels were on the car when he got it and did he ever changed them. “It had the regular steel wheels and wheel covers on it, always did.” I popped the hood to show him the engine bay and that you could see the detailed suspension as well. He was impressed with all the attention to detail and was so glad to see that it has always been cared for. He mentioned the dealer chopped off the front of the original air cleaner to make room for the AC compressor. I have the “before” pictures of when Dave got the car and had always been curious who chopped the front of the snorkel off the air box and why. The morning had turned to the afternoon and I knew I needed to start heading back to Austin. I closed the hood down as Frank stood at the back of the car looking over the rear passenger quarter panel and as I joined him I hear him say “she looks really good, makes me wonder why I ever got rid of it” I could tell the memories were playing in full HD at this point in his mind. I told him I really enjoy the car and I am very happy and honored to have it as I know how special it is. I thanked him again for meeting with me, shook his hand, and that it had been a pleasure getting to talk with him. He did the same, thanked me for the meal, and said he really appreciated me reaching out to him and setting this up, it had been a fun morning. I told him I would keep him posted on the car and let him know the next time Cars and Coffee was taking place. I got the Z loaded back up and back to Austin without incident. As I write this I have more questions I wish I had asked Frank and wish I had someone to take pictures of us during our meeting. For now, I am beyond thrilled at getting to meet with him as it will be one of the many great memories I have with the Z.
  2. DATSUN 240Z TO THE RESCUE! YOU'RE SAFE NOW LITTLE LADY!!! THANKS Zup! HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO ALL!!!
  3. Thought I would share the story of finding my latest Z -2/71. So I'm on facebook looking at a club page for a local sports car club. There is a pic someone has shared of an old Nissan sitting in a junkyard. The pic only includes the engine compartment , but the pic shows someone lifting the valve cover to show off a VERY clean valve train. The post said something like,'looks like a new head". I could tell enough from the pic that this was an early Z. So my alarms go off and I immediately start trying to track down the poster. I'm wanting to know where this is, and the guy is not sure where he was(really). I guess he was cruising with friends and didn't pay attention to the name of the yard he was at. After pestering him(messaging), he came up with Dave's junkyard in some town southern Indiana-2 hours from me. So after googling I find Dave and call. So I explain to Dave that I saw a pic of an early Z on a facebook page and wanted to find out more info. Dave proceeds to ask who's facebook page did I see it on. I told him it was a local sports car club. He asks which one so he can look it up? So I'm thinking -why do you want to look at someone else's facebook page to find something in your yard. Then I come to find out his business has his own facebook page. So I spend minutes going around in circles trying to find a car on facebook pages that is probably out his back window. So I just get directions to his place because it warrants a look. I tell him I will try and get out there soon. 3 days later he calls me and says he has 2 Z cars in his lot. Not sure what years he has(though he has titles for both cars) UGH! This all occurs over the holidays . Finally I drive out there and we go back in his yard( couple hundred yards) and there it sits #22971 . The other car was a 83 zxt 2=2 Dave actually turns out to be a very nice guy just making a living and staying up with todays technology, but struggles. I bought a bunch of parts off of the car including a super clean E31 sitting on there. I didn't have the means to bring the whole car home yet, and wasn't sure about. Dave just kept saying-"I Need the money". I left with carbs, head, bumper and other stuff . After a couple of days I called Dave to see what he wanted for the whole car. Dave says-" I need the money-going on vacation". We settled on a price and I now own it. Though its sitting on the ground with no wheels, it's a fresh kill and looks to be a southern car(found a Georgia plate). Very restorable or could be cut up for excellent body parts. Now I need to go and get it. I now own 3 -240z and my wife is over the moon With no place to store them -thanks Rick for the use of your business lot.
  4. siteunseen

    Hamburgers & Cheeseburgers

    Got my '77 out from a year long selfish hibernation. I love my 240 but I'm gonna have to cheat on the old car and get back in the 280. Rebuilt it then bought my first 240 and put the 280 on "the shelf" but after driving it an hour or so today it's back in play. I love those cars, different feel but a good comfortable one. Better brakes too. I have some ZX flat tops I'm thinking I'll put in under the N42 head. Should wake it up a little plus I'll definately get the 225mm flywheel lightened or maybe find an aluminum one. I think, my opinion!, that's the best bang for the buck. Having been raised up on quick revving motorcycles the aluminum I put in the 2.4 is like a motorcycle with a bit more protection. I'm looking forward to my new project! And of course I'll be posting plenty as I go.
  5. cbuczesk

    new garage

    We're almost done building our new garage and barn. On Saturday we moved 12 cars and 4 trailers. The #00 white w/red race car is my friends. I still have to buy or build shelving and move all of my parts. At some point I'll have to sell some cars so I move in 4 more cars. Chuck
  6. No, it's not about driving up a steep hill at 20mph in 4th gear ... It's about replacement lug nuts for the authentic Libre wheels on Zup's immaculate silver 73 240z. In looking at his car, my eye was always drawn to the deteriorating condition lug nuts on the wheels. I became determined to find a quality set for him that would do justice to such a nice car. I quickly found that it is not so easy to source the correct lug nuts for those lug centric wheels. The standard M12 x 1.25 spec is no problem but in the correct shank & washer style with the all important shank length is difficult. I found a quality set of Mcgard tuff nuts that met all the specs except for the shank length being too long, they would bottom out against the hub before the wheel was seated and tightened. The solution it seemed, was to machine the shank length of the nuts down to the optimum length for the wheels. It then became obvious to me that the answer was to recruit the assistance of a highly skilled forum member ..... Captain Obvious. After discussing the details of the secret project with him, he very generously agreed to assist with machining the new Mcgard nuts to Libre specs. I ordered & shipped the new nuts to him and in the meantime, made careful measurements of Zup's Libre wheels to determine optimum length. The end result we agreed upon was .460 effective shank length after the washer is installed. The Captain completed one set & shipped it to me for test & verification of fitment. They were perfect and so was the quality of his lathe work! The final 4 completed sets were delivered Saturday, I drove up to his house & presented them to him, we did the final installation, and he was extremely happy with the results. A very big thanks thanks to you Bruce for making this Obvious / Driver joint project possible. He was very busy working on a complete top end job with his son's new Subaru but still took the time to work on the nuts. Nut in the chuck Original vs Machined End view Captain's lathe at work Zup's Ok Job done Inspector # K9 gives final approval ...
  7. Chickenman

    OEM style Windshield Washer pump

    This has been covered before in the archives, but I thought I'd post a subject title that will show up easily on searches. If you are looking for an OEM replacement pump for the W/Washer pump that fits perfectly on Z cars, order a Trico 11-601. These fit absolutely perfect in the rubber grommet. Later models may have to change out the connectors but that's no big deal.
  8. SteveJ

    Hubcap on a Cap

    The Nissan Heritage Collection was passing out these caps at the Mitty this weekend. They made 1970 copies of the hat, and Ethan from Nissan was nice enough to give me a couple of extra for Georgia Z Club giveaways.
  9. gwri8

    The dreaded oil pan pull!

    Here's an option I've considered before…...
  10. TD - I've also got a '73. If I were you I'd do the following: - $158 - Relay upgrades for headlights http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/PROD/classic10d06/12-4651; - $62 - Parking Light Relay Harness from MSA - which one depends on date of manufacture of your '73; - $199 - MSA fuse box (I installed mine 10+ yrs ago and have had no issues since) http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/PROD/classic10a03/50-5010; - $130 - Upgrade to internally regulated alternator - http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/PROD/12-4068 - ~$100 - if you're still running points, do as suggested by Siteunseen, upgrade to the ZX E12-80 electronic distributor, I did this in 1998 and have had no issues since; - ~$160 - inspect & replace ball joints, tie rod ends if required - ~$100 - high performance brake pads, I've been running Hawk HP+ pads on my 240z for ten years, dusty, noisy if you don't brake hard occasionally, work good when cold but OMG do they work when warmed up! IMHO the stock brakes with upgraded pads work very well; - ~$20 - speed bleeders for front and rear brakes, can't believe it took me 24yrs to install SB's, makes bleeding brakes a simple one man job! - ~$20 - quality brake fluid to flush and bleed your brakes; - $35 - MSA Tension rod kit, http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/PROD/classic20j/23-4190, just installed it this winter, wish I'd done it years ago - $14 - 2x Tension Rod Rubber bushings for the back side ot the MSA Tension rod kit (IMHO you don't want urethane bushings on the T/C rod mount); - $600 - replacement strut cartridges, I just installed Tokico Blues - $45 - don't forget to change the front strut bearings and rear strut spacers when you change the inserts - $45 - strut bellows to protect your shiny new strut inserts - http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/raframecatalog.php?carcode=1209170&parttype=7592 - $240 - lowering stiffer springs, I installed Suspension Techniques Sport Springs 15yrs ago and love the way the car handles - $230 - sway bar kit, I installed Suspension Techniques kit 15yrs ago with above springs, love my Z's handling - $720 - front and rear JDM style clean bumpers, http://www.futofab.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=131&Itemid=118 - $70 - early 240z front bumper mounts, required to install smaller front bumper on '73 240z, '73 rear bumper mounts will work with early rear bumper Total - $2,938 + shipping, tax, etc may be close to $3,000. If you do the above, I think you'd be very pleased with the results. Let us know what you chose to do and how it turns out.
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