Shop Talk for
Z-Car enthusiasts!

Click here to go to the Z Car Garage home page...Click here to go to the Z Car Auto Parts home page...Click here to go to the Z Car Blog home page...
Performance Parts for Nissan, Inifiniti and Datsun Cars

EVENTS: The 2016 SEMA Show!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 3:23 am on December 5, 2016


What Happens in SEMA . . .

2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.  Every year, people from around the world arrive in Las Vegas to look at the astonishing display of automotive tuning and customization.


img_4020 img_3726

Within the 1 million+ square foot, 4-building Las Vegas Convention center there are hundreds of lowered imports, resto-modded muscle cars and those crazy lifted trucks.  There’s far more to the show than that including celebrities, extreme demos, parties and general excess.  Unfortunately, SEMA isn’t open to the public, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience what it’s like to attend the craziest show on the automotive calendar. Enjoy the following highlights from our visit to SEMA in Novemeber. We will start with our display car, the OEMs, Datsuns and move on to the wild stuff!


The OS Giken TC24B1Z Skyline


Last year at SEMA we debuted the legendary OS Giken TC24B1Z engine inside our ZCG-restored Datsun 240z:

Nissan-Datsun-240Z-OS-Giken-S30-02-640x427 SEMA-2015-36-copy-800x533

The Z was well-received but very subtle (by SEMA standards) so this year we stepped out of our comfort zone and helped build a “flashier” vehicle for display…a 1971 Nissan “Hakosuka” Skyline!

img_3355 img_3354 img_3351

This time the TC24 was treated to different induction: Jenvey individual throttle bodies and EFI. Aesthetics were livened up with a red valve cover and white coated exhaust headers. The entire car was wrapped in a metallic red replete with sponsor graphics and 17″ Volk TE37V wheels on Nitto tires. Our “show hood” mod was utilized again to highlight the glorious TC24.

We were flattered by all of the fan pictures and even received a miniature scale replica of the Hako from Shingo!

 sema_2016_dino_dalle_carbonare_55 img_4859

The Hako garnered attention from many social media outlets and drew significantly more traffic than last year’s display. Later in November it went on to be displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show!
Speedhunters Day1 SEMA
OS Giken Hakosuka
Race Cars at SEMA
Japanese Nostalgic Car

Huge thanks to the crew from OS Giken and Alex M. Stay tuned we will have a full feature on the build soon!

img_3652 img_3325

The Big Manufacturers at SEMA

As always, there’s a big presence from US manufacturers, but this year Honda and Toyota (among others) made an impact on the show floors. Here’s our round up of the big displays.



Ford had the largest display in the main hall with an extensive showing of their hottest cars and trucks. My favorite was the new GT supercar complete with battle-scars from a LeMans race. It even sat across from an original Ford GT40. Ken Block’s “Gymkhana 9” Focus and other tricked-out Foci below:


 img_3370 img_3866



Honda announced its return to the Pirelli World Challenge series in 2017 with this NSX GT3…being towed by Acura MDX!  Below, the new NSX looks great in white, the new Civic showed as body-in-white tuning platform and the new (for the US) Civic Type R:

img_3802 img_3808 img_3809



Toyota had a neat throwback-style displaying paying tribute to its heritage vehicles. They even brought out the entire generation of Corollas in celebration of its 50th anniversary! Below: 1951 Land Cruiser, 80’s Van and the “World’s Fastest SUV”: a 2,000hp twin-turbo’d v8 Sequoia


img_3767 img_3762
img_4332 img_4333

Datsun Domination at SEMA!

We begin our coverage of all the Datsuns/Nissans at SEMA, and there were plenty! Let’s start with our OS Giken booth neighbor, ENEOS. Their display car was none other than Ginash George’s C10 Skyline. Ginash is the founder of the successful JDM Chicago and also owns a beautiful NSX.


Ginash enlisted the expertise of JDM Legends to build this stunning Hako. All the right choices on this one! And he’s a wheel aficionado to boot as well. Super Street gave it a SEMA award!

img_3343 img_3346 img_3345

FOUR S30 Z cars were at SEMA. If we had to pick a favorite it was the ChasingJs 280z built by Dominic Le. You might be familiar with his last SEMA creation, the Hakotora that was featured on Jay Leno’s Garage.



The build was based on a rendering from talented artist Jon Sibal…and built in Dom’s garage!

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-1-22-00-am img_3942

The clever John Player Special striping was hand-applied by Dom himself. Note the rare G-Nose headlamp covers. Power comes from a single-turbo 2JZ-GTE with 1,000hp as the goal. We love it!

img_4232 img_3936 img_3935

The Liberty Walk Fairlady Z turned heads with its unmistakenable bosozoku style. Sporting their fender flare kit, “notchback” rear hatch, smoothed rear panel and small-ish 15″ wheels it seemed a bit out of place in the DUB nation booth, but still cool.

img_4062 img_4060

Chris Forsberg’s 280z underwent a total makeover for SEMA.  The single turbo RB26 revieved a custom billet valve cover and the body showed off a new kit from Carbon Signal.  The kit really flows well with the G-nose and front spolier. The interior was also finished by Amir and his team in the UAE.

img_3873 img_3874 img_3875

The legendary Pete Brock displayed his personal BRE Tribute 240z in the Braille booth:


A lone Datsun 510 slammed via AirLift suspension and 13B rotary power. The BBS wheels were mint!

img_4004 img_4011 img_4008

This Datsun Bluebird L320 pickup was a pleasant sight amongs the wild bodykits. You see those chunky rear tires on widened steelies? They’re probably necessary to reign in all the instant torque from the electric motor conversion!

img_3513 img_3511

Late Model Nissans

Steve Pham’s unorthodox turbocharged BMW N54 turbo. This Rocketbunny “Boss” kitted Nissan 240sx (S14) had new BRE-inspired livery for the show. Below, a JDM model S15 Silvia with a widebody kit:

img_3495 img_3494 img_3378

A lone Nissan 350z with a full 2JZ engine swap:

img_3551 img_3553

Several 370z cars. Nascar V8 powered,  Amuse and Libertywalk-kitted:

img_4075 img_3706
img_3987 img_3986

Lots of R35 Skylines!

img_3984 img_3531

Our favorite Skyline was the R32 4-door in Greddy’s booth. Powered by an RB26DETT it was a simple exercise in cleanliness, without flares! An R34 in was nearby in the Borg Warner turbo booth:

img_4148 img_3796

Honorable mention: Not a Datsun, but the BMW 2002 from CAtuned looked gnarly with a steampunk feel. The boosted inline-6 M20 shoe-horned into the engine bay was a surprise! BBS Turbo-fan style wheels were killer:

img_3745 img_3747 img_3748

J-Tin Trucks!

This year we saw a great number of Japanese classic trucks. The FJ company showed three beauties: a rare 1967 FJ45LV (blue) and a restored 1978 FJ40.


img_3527 img_3524

My favorite was their 1982 FJ43 as it had a modern 4.5L inline-6 and full frame off restoration:

img_3703 img_3704

This FJ40 showed up mud-laden and unwashed from a 4,000 mile journey:

img_3435 img_3438 img_3437

Kane Gets Around at SEMA

Our shop dog and Z Car Garage ambassador could not accompany us to SEMA, but we made sure he was with us in spirit. Watch as Kane soaks up the spotlight!

img_6344 img_4132


Friends and Family

We were happy to see many friends stop by the OS Giken booth. Ben Hsu from Japanese Nostalgic Car visited us and we attempted to recreate last year’s photo (right). Thanks Ben!

img_3470 img_8576

(Left) The talented Rob Ferguson and another one of his quick masterpieces! It was also great to see Sebastian from SpecialtyZ, Ginash and Eric from JDM Legends.

img_3483 img_3333


Starstruck! I felt like there were many more celebs walking around the convention center this year. As I walked into an elevator I realized that standing next to me was Magnus Walker! The elevator was silent. So I looked straight ahead and said aloud “I can’t believe I’m standing next to Magnus Walker”, and the man was so friendly! Yes, he even posed with Kane.


img_3454 img_3451

Unbeknownst to me that anyone could get an autograph from one of Magnus’ many signing sessions! He did bring 3 of his own Porsche’s to the show, more on my favorite one later:


(Left)That’s Sidney Hoffmann of Sidney Industries and his film crew checking out the TC24 Hako! THey included a snippet of the car for German TV. (Right) Rocket Bunny creator and aero kit superstar Kei Miura! Miura-san approves of the TC24!


img_4156 img_4124
When he wasn’t signing autographs for hordes of fans, Ken Block was seen checking out cars like everyone else! His wicked Gymkhana Mustang and Focus cars were on display outside and in the Ford booth. The Mustang got recent twin-twin turbo upgrade boosting power from 800hp to 1400hp!

img_4072 img_3912
img_3368 img_4047

Our hero and a celebrity in our books, Pete Brock:

img_6350 img_6349

Movie Cars

The celebrities need to drive as well, right? Here are my three favorites. The latest Batmobile, parked in the Magnaflow booth. Did they supply the mufflers to quite down the thrusters?



Filming for the highly anticipated upcoming Fast and Furious 8 is almost complete. The Dodge Ice Charger is mounted with a jet turbine at the back of the car, specifically modified to roll on the Icelandic ice.  Unfortunately, the jet turbine is only a movie prop :)

img_3696 img_3698

Shaken, not stirred. Fantastic DB5 from the 007 movies. This one had all the nifty gadgets cycling through their automation. Working smokescreen, revolving license plate, pop-up gun turrets and the killer knock-offs were neat to watch:

img_3997 img_3995 img_3989

Pretty Porsches

Great showing of Porsche 911s this year. My favorite was Magnus Walker’s 964. Incredible paint finish/color and details abound make this the quintessential Hot Rod Porsche.


img_3780 img_3786 img_3783

In addition to Magnus’ 964 I loved this Porsche 930 Turbo built by Rob Ida. Icing on the cake was hearing it run in SEMA roll out!

img_3374 img_3375

You never know what you run into at SEMA. While strolling through the truck expo and seeing lifted Zombie-apocalypse vehicles, led lights and pickup bed organizers….there stood a SINGER Porsche!


That’s right, a SINGER Porsche. At the Weathertech (?) floormats booth in the truck section.  I drooled dover this one for a good bit. If OCD is your game, the Singer does not disappoint.

img_3973 img_3969

SEMA: The Fender Flare Nationals

Before we dive into the plethora of fender-flared cars at SEMA I want to show you my favorite wide-bodied car: the BMW CSL. Tucked away in the H&R springs booth, this one took my breath away. What an epic era of racing this car was campaigned in.


img_4241 img_4236

Back to the over-fenders, fender flares and wide body kits.  RWB, Rocketbunny, Libertywalk.

So many of them:

Here was a cool take on the “slant-nose” 911 look applied to a 997

img_3949 img_3951

A RWB 911 with Martini livery and definite party in the back!

img_3386 img_3387

This 650S-facelifted McLaren MP4-12C received a full Libertywalk kit for SEMA:


In fact, several supercars got the Libertywalk treatment!

img_4064 img_4052

Rocketbunny Cayman, E30 BMW and Aimgain ND Miata:

img_3960 img_3547 img_3707 img_3597


Crazy Engine Swaps

No, not the LSx, Coyote or HEMI into your vintage muscle car. I’m talking gonzo. Things that make you go hmm… like a Ferrari 458 engine into Scion FRS! Ryan Tuerck did just that and the result was jaw dropping.



Not built just for show, this creation was made to drift. Watch it HERE

img_3587 img_3586

An E36 BMW with a full Nissan Skyline RB26 engine:

img_3920 img_3918

Nice Boss Mustang, right? Kind of. It’s acutally a full R35 GT-R chassis with a Mustang body on top!

img_3928 img_3927

This one made me do a double-take. A Porshe Cayman with a Ford Coyote V8!

img_4036 img_4035

Although it wasn’t a super crazy engine swap (its the same breed), this Mazda pickup had a huge turbo 13B and full tube frame “backbone” chassis.

img_3759 img_3756

(LEFT) Nearby, a fellow rotary with an identity crisis: an FD Rx-7 with a Porsche front nose from RE- Amemiya. (Right) More nose swapping, this time an FD RX-7 with a Rocketbunny kit that grafts the front end from a Mazda MX-3:

img_3754 img_3612

Those Crazy Lifted Trucks


Every year SEMA has hundreds of lifted trucks. This year was no exception and their presence was absolutely overwhelming.


img_3723 img_3730


I did manage to find these two gems that were simple and sort of my ride height:

img_3863 img_3811

What’s hot for your truck in 2016? Full wrinkle/powder coat finishes. I guess this kind of paint need not be waxed.

img_3976 img_3977

More excess:

img_3558 img_3980

This 1949 F1 farm truck was my favorite truck at SEMA. Built by Chuckles Garage, it has a patina that says “sleeper”…until you see the giant Nitrous bottles in back! Diesel fans will love this:  1,200 hp twin turbocharged Cummins with 91mm and 66 mm compound snails.


img_3862img_3859 img_3861 img_3858

The Wildest of SEMA Award goes to:

I couldn’t pick just one…car, I mean vehicle, or exhibit. So it’s a 3-way tie.

Coming in 3rd for Wildest thing at SEMA: The Chaparral 2X Vision GT

A futuristic race car with a Laser beamed-energy propulsion system and a driver that operates face down and arms towards the front wheels.


2nd place, craziest paint job: The Kuhl Racing R35

Take one R35 GT-R.  Fabricate a body kit totally engraved with delicate and intricate details. Now send it off for a chrome finish and gold paint.

img_3957 img_3956

1st place, Craziest Display at SEMA 2016: The Absorber booth

Not only did they bring a TANK. They hauled in several hundred square feet of real grass.


Runner-up: Valyrian Steel

Debuting at last year’s SEMA show, this moving sculpture/Burning Man “art car” made an encore showing.  It does actually run (watch the season 1 premier of Top Gear on Amazon) and use a Coyote engine set in the rear below the kinetic structure:



Muscle Cars

We are huge fans of American muscle cars and Hot Rods in general. The SEMA Show is where to find some of the best, new pre-1972 builds. Old school, new tech, steam punk, and rat rod are all here.  Enjoy some of our favorites:

1951 Ford Coupe

What really made this Ford stand apart was the exquisite attention to detail both inside and out. The engine, a 1956 Lincoln V8 had been powder-coated gold in a wire tucked engine bay.   Outside, Halibrand wheels and flush mounted windows with a slightly chopped roof line caught my eye. The interior is another work of art!


img_3901 img_3902

Mike Garett’s Dodge Dart

It was fun to watch this build progress on Instagram. Mike combined Japanese racer styling cues and modern Mopar motivation to turn a stocker into a driver.  We are really happy for you Mike!

img_3647 img_3633 img_3642
Sung Kang’s Maverick

Last year Sung debuted his RB25-powered Datsun 240z and this year he chose a Ford Maverick to restore. The Fast and the Furious star teamed up with 3 high school students to build the car for SEMA. Power comes from a 2.3L Ford Ecoboost while fender flares(of course) and deep-dished wheels spice things up for the “U3” (underdog).

img_3574 img_3572 img_3569

Restored Show Muscle

Resto-modding old muscle cars so they can perform like/better than modern day counterparts is always cool in our book.  The Ring Brothers built this  supercharged LS3 “G-Code” Camaro with performance and modern comfort in mind. Now if we can just get them to ditch that cheesy “R” logo!


img_3905 img_3906 img_3904

Fastback Mustang with (now ubiquitous) Coyote engine swap:

img_3894 img_3895

Split window 1963 C2 ‘Vette with a LT1 engine swap!

img_3887 img_3888

Lovely Chevelle

img_3847 img_3846 img_3844

1962 Chevrolet Bubbletop:

img_3828 img_3829

SEMA Roll Out

Friday, Nov. 4 was the last day of SEMA, and our most memorable because of the “rollout” that took place after closing time. Exhibitor cars cruise from the convention center to a neighboring lot for SEMA Ignited’s after-party festivities. It was our first time watching and participating… and it was rad!

Photo: Jacob Ramirez

Fans packed the road leading to Paradise giving drivers a chance to make a dramatic exit. Smokey burnouts and revving (plus train horns) added to the excitement. All of the cars the parked in the Gold Lot while the drifting exhibition ensued.

img_3633-1 img_4285

The TC24 Hakosuka performed well, considering it spent most of the time idling. Alex did put on a show and answered the crowd’s call for revving a few times. Enjoy this video we captured from the rollout:


Closing Time

The roll out was amazing. Now came the task of loading the Hako up on its trailer for the trip to the Los Angeles Auto Show…and breakdown/cleanup of the OS Giken booth. It’s hard to believe all the hustle and bustle of SEMA instantly turns into a scramble to tear things down and box them up.


img_3395 img_4334

Thanks to OS Giken and the ZCG crew for a memorable experience. We are excited for SEMA 2017!

Viva La TC!


We hope you have enjoyed our report from SEMA 2015.  Please browse our mega picture gallery after the jump

…[read more]

FOR SALE: 1974 Mazda RX-4

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 7:42 pm on November 22, 2016


This Mazda RX-4 wagon has been in the ZCG family since 2010. It sports a Rebello-prepped 13B drivetrain and all maintenance/modifications have been performed at our shop. Ready to drive anywhere!

More details can be found on our FOR SALE page HERE


Happy Birthday Peter Brock!

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 11:41 pm on November 14, 2016


Happy 80th Birthday to our hero Peter Brock! You have been and continue to be inspirational to us Datsun fans worldwide. Here a few pictures we enjoyed taking with you over the years:



dsc03625 img_6350

Trusty Z: Dmitriy’s 350z

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Maintenance,Performance
by Alvin G @ 6:16 pm on November 10, 2016

We love to hear from our customers who are Enjoying The Ride in their Z cars. Dmitriy G picked up his 2007 base model Z33 in 2008 and has since put over 98k miles on her.  He visited ZCG for a new pedal set, Bridgestone S-04 PP tires and a JWT clutch with HD flywheel.

“I’ve taken this car all over California, including Tahoe in the winter, and hoping to get some more road trips out of state in the near future. Starting from about 2010 I’ve been going to Z Car Garage for all my mechanical needs and extremely happy with the results. Rob’s suggestions have made my Z a joy to drive with the most recent addition being the JWT Light Flywheel. With Rob’s tire recommendation + JWT Flywheel/ JWT Clutch = loads more fun on Skyline as the responsiveness and grip of the car have drastically increased.”

20160417_095732 (1)

Keep on driving Dmitriy and Long Live the Z!


Tags: , ,

STOLEN: 1991 Nissan 300zx Twin Turbo in S.F.

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 12:48 pm on October 31, 2016

CAM 2 103114 202

Our friend and customer’s 1991 Nissan 300zx Twin Turbo was stolen from 35th Avenue in San Francisco on Sunday morning between 8 and 11am.
The Z is white with Volk TE37 wheels and red Stoptech brakes.
License plate 2UWM563
Please spread the word and lets help Jas find his Z!

Older Articles »