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EVENTS: The 2017 SEMA Show!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 5:27 am on November 29, 2017

 

SEMA was a blur this year—but that’s really no different than any other year for the most intense sensory overload in car show form on the planet. This trade-only show features all of the latest and greatest builds, technology, and creativity in our industry. While the show has historically been populated by American marques and their aftermarket support, in recent years the influx of Japanese metal (Nissan included) is undeniable.

 
 

We only attended the show for one day and while the crowds were as appalling as ever in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the quality of cars made it all worth it. It wasn’t just “cars” that got us excited, it was the astonishing number of vintage Datsuns/Nissans! The variety was astounding. We counted 16 cars from a 1972 Datsun 510 to 1983 Skyline and everything in between.

 

Year of the Datsun!

Our Datsun-hunting at SEMA started with Datsun 510s. Pro-drifter Chris Forsberg built this hot-rod 510 wagon for his wife. The Mazworx-built SR20DET is backed by an automatic transmission and even sports air-conditioning. Deep-lipped SSR MKIII wheels fill out the box-flares that are part of the “Hakobird” kit from Carbonsignal. This might be the closest thing to Hakosuka Skyline wagon!

 

Our friend and fellow 510 racer Troy Ermish built this ultra-clean 510 2-door for actor Daniel Wu. We dig the bronze Watanabe wheels and subtle paint color. A built L-series breathing through dual-Mikuni’s and stock-ish interior also makes us happy. You can learn more about the build from our friends over at JNC.

 

Our final 510 sighting was the legendary Pete Brock’s personal car in Braille battery booth. Affectionately known as “Datzilla”, we remember first seeing this 450hp small-block V8 beast back in 2008 at the MotoringJ Style show.

 
 

Z Car Fever

A total of NINE S30 Z cars were at SEMA this year. That may not seem like many, but consider just 3 years ago only two Z cars were present. It was hard to pick a favorite but we were impressed with the Gas Monkey Garage 280z and the ChasingJs 240z built by Big Mike and Dominic Le, respectively.

The Gas Monkey Garage 280z

 

Big Mike was commissioned to design/build this 280Z 2+2 for the TV show Gas Monkey Garage. We loved how he took a often un-loved chassis and created a unique car that Datsun fans and American-iron alike can appreciate. Some quick details that caught our eye: the huge void found in front of the 4-cylinder SR20DET was filled with an OEM-like air filer box. The stock interior features vintage buckets with matching rears. The body color choice was perfect against bronze Volk TE37V wheels. Watch for two episodes covering the build airing on Fast n Loud TV on the Discovery channel!
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80’s Perfection: Eric’s DR30 Nissan Skyline

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 3:30 am on March 22, 2017

 

Eric Straw is a long time friend of the shop and hails from Oregon. Last year he visited Z Car Garage on the way down to the JCCS show where he debuted his latest masterpiece, this 1984 Nissan Skyline RS-X. Most Americans are familiar with the classic 70’s Skylines and later GT-R series, but this 6th generation (R30) chassis remains unknown unless you are a JDM-nerd. In Japan the R30 sold well and had a great following with Nissan enlisting the famous actor/racer Paul Newman to appear in ad campaigns. The R30 also formed the basis for the insanely cool SuperSilhouette race car:

  
 

The details of Eric’s R30 are endless. I don’t want to reveal too much as it deserves a major media feature first. It would be easy to write thousands, if not ten thousand words about the character, the touches, and the simple uniqueness that make the “Straw30” one of a kind. Where I fall short of storytelling, I hope photos suffice.

To get an appreciation of Eric’s talent as a fabricator and his build aesthetic take a quick look at his other Datsuns, a 1969 Datsun Roadster and 1971 Datsun 510:

dsc05084
 

 
 

Both deserve their own feature but can you see a theme starting to build here? Eric has a penchant for white paint and red valve covers…and turbocharged Nissan powerplants!

 

Finding A Skyline

It all started with an ad spotted on our good friend’s site, Bring A Trailer for a 1984 Skyline without an engine. This appeared to be the perfect specimen with the distinctive Tekkamen or “Iron Mask” front end compared to pre-facelift models with a conventional grille. Fellow Datsun enthusiast/restorer Michael Spreadbury of Spriso Motorsports joined Eric on the trek to Washington to pick up the R30.

 

As with most of these vintage Japanese cars, rust was a hidden issue as Eric discovered:

“When I first saw the car I wanted to make a really fun driver with lots of power and for sure RB powered. I didn’t plan on restoring the body when I bought it. After digging in, it was obvious I had to do a complete restoration as there was a lot of rust.”

Chassis restoration

What begun as an engine swap turned into a full blown bare metal restoration. Eric’s work simply goes beyond an OEM restoration. There are so many areas of custom fabrication throughout the chassis. We simply have not seen this level of care and love executed on an R30.  Here is Eric putting in work:
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