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Performance Parts for Nissan, Inifiniti and Datsun Cars

Glenn’s NISMO Edition Skyline GT-R

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 5:19 pm on January 31, 2018


Our friend and fellow Datsun enthusiast/racer Glenn Chiou recently acquired this R32 GT-R. Before we describe what brings this Skyline to Z Car Garage let’s hear how Glenn found the dream car of his youth:

“As a teenager growing up during the Fast and Furious days it was not hard to get caught up in the import car craze. Amongst the boy racer fantasies of owning RX7’s, Supra’s and R34 Skyline GTR’s, I developed a strong interest in the R32 GTR. The simple design, yet brute power intrigued me. It was always a car that was unobtanium to me. After hearing that I would be able to federal legalize one after 25-years I had to pursue one. Although the car was technically legal in the United States, the wonderful state of California hindered ownership. It was then I learned about International Vehicle Importers run by Skyline aficionado Sean Morris. On a whim, I headed down to IVI in Long Beach, California to take a peek at what they had to offer…”

“As with all my cars, I always look for a unique factory offering during the selection process. After further research I learned that there was a version homologated for racing – the NISMO edition. Nissan built a total of 560 NISMO BNR32 models for homologation purposes to compete in the FIA’s Group A racing class. A total of 60 of the 560 cars were destined for Group A racing in Japan and Australia. NISMO models included twin steel fan turbos (opposed to ceramic), an additional lip spoiler, front brake cooling ducts, side skirt aero splats, removed ABS, and a rear wiper delete. Being a racing junkie, I knew this was the car for me. I took delivery of the car #459 in November 2016 and could not have been more excited. The car provided a unique experience like none other. As an owner of both vintage and modern cars, I was amazed at the fact that this car was designed and built in the late 80’s!”


After a year of ownership Glenn was yearning for an even more enjoyable driving experience. He decided to take a period-correct approach of modification using high quality parts from the era when possible. Shown below are a full Trust Titanium exhaust, authentic NISMO steering wheel and the crown jewel of period-mods: 400R-spec NISMO LM-GT1 wheels! Sized 18×10 with stickier tires all around paired with Ohlin DFV’s coilovers:



Fast forward to November 2017. Glenn was prepping the Skyline for the R’s Day track event at Laguna Seca. With the 12/9 date fast approaching we discussed his GT-R and switching over to the Haltech Platinum Pro Plug-in for engine management. Glenn was excited and Godzilla visited Z Car Garage:



Whenever we install the Haltech Platunum Pro on a GT-R we switch from a mass air flow (MAF) to a manifold absolute pressure (MAP) based setup. The dyno graph shows how we were able to make more power and area under the curve while keeping the car safely tuned on 91 octane:

“To put the cherry on top, we had Z Car Garage work their magic with a Haltech ECU and tune. In short, the car WOKE up. The superb handling coupled with the drivable power made for a perfect track day car and canyon carver.”


Where better to test the R32’s newly found limits than on the race track? We had a blast driving with Glenn and friends at R’s Day in December. He was stoked:

“The car performed beautifully and stuck like it was on train tracks! The car was incredibly predictable and just all-around very enjoyable to drive fast. I look forward to more improvements to the car in the near future, as it will serve as my fun toy between vintage race days!”

Thanks for letting us tune your special R32 Glenn! If you haven’t experienced R’s Day here’s a neat video and coverage from Speedhunters.

UPDATE: Glenn’s Datsuns



Glenn is an avid Datsun enthusiast having owned and raced several cars. You might remember his VIPS 240z vintage race car from the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion last year where he ran the Z alongside our hero John Morton. We also dyno-tuned the Z in preparation for race week. Look for #39 at various events this year!


Next up for restoration, Glenn has located IMSA GTU/Trans Am 260Z, chassis # 000024, formerly driven by Greg Sorrentino of Different Drummer Racing. We know Glenn will do it justice by the amazing work he performed bringing back the Loren St. Lawrence Z:


Glenn loves his vintage race cars and he recently added this B-sedan Datsun 510 to his stable! We should be dyno-tuning it soon. Look for it on the track at this year’s B-sedan races with SVRA:

Let’s not forget Glenn’s street car, his RHD 240z-L is well known in the Datsun community and the subject of a nice feature film on Petrolicious.


The Z has a powerful Rebello stroker motor with triple-mikuni’s and runs perfectly sized Watanabe wheels. On that wheel-related note, we are really excited to report that Glenn will be running our ZCG Big Brakes for small wheels behind those magnificent 15″ Wats! Look for a full report soon. You can catch Glenn putting it through its paces on the 2018 Coastal Range Rally hosted by the good folks at DrivingWhileAwesome.



Good luck at the races this year Glenn!

More Power and Good Times: Eric’s DR30 Skyline

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 12:32 am on April 18, 2017

Last week our friend Eric Straw visited us for tuning on his incredible RB26DETT-powered 1984 DR30 Skyline. You might remember Eric stopping by the shop last year on his way down to the JCCS show, where the DR30 put down 462hp/348tq on our dyno. Eric expressed interest in more power without sacrificing reliability:

“The only plans I have for it at this point is a pair of GT2860RS, new injectors and Haltech Platinum Pro Tuning by Z Car Garage in spring”


So spring arrived and Eric collected his parts including new GT2860RS turbos, Radium Engineering fuel supply, Injector Dynamics ID1050x injectors, and a Haltech Platinum Pro from ZCG. Rob began dyno tuning sessions and road data-logging.


Eric wanted the Skyline to run on Oregon’s readily available pump gas, and the result was 532hp/389tq to the wheels on 92 octane. Power delivery is very linear and Eric’s fastidious chassis-prep harnesses the power so well it is hard to believe you are riding in a 80’s Japanese car!  Here is video of the DR in action:


Our good friend Michael Spreadbury accompanied Eric on the roadtrip down from Oregon. Michael was instrumental in the DR build and is a well-known Datsun-guru building some killer SR20-powered roadsters from his shop at Spriso Motorsports. While the two were in town Rob shared the Nissan Patrol and had the boys put some miles on the DR30 after the fresh tune.


On Saturday 4/15 we had a great opportunity to take the DR30 to Laguna Seca and watch
Patrick Chio race in the USTCC and our customer Kevin B enjoy a track day. I had to join in on the fun with my roadster 🙂


The Skyline was impressive to watch on the freeway. From inside it feels like it is carved from billet with surprising balance between ride stiffness/NVH. Oh, and that RB26 is velvety-smooth with thrust for days. We think Eric is quite happy look at that RHD smile!


Laguna Seca was filled with plenty of eye candy. We even saw a few BAYZA Z32s/Z31s! Always fun to see owner’s solutions to the ever-changing sound restrictions:


Laguna Seca also makes a fantastic backdrop for photos.



At the end of the day we snuck into the garages to capture some “pretend” race-day shots:


The trip home was exhilarating. The DR30 has some glorious 80’s lines and those after-burner tail lights glow just right at dusk:


We had a rad time with you Michael and Eric!  Enjoy The Boost!

More pictures in the gallery below

More pics in the gallery
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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:



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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E is for Ethanol: Erik’s G35

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Maintenance,Performance
by Alvin G @ 12:10 am on April 1, 2014

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In 2012 Erik  M. came to Z Car Garage with his bonestock G35 Coupe. With 100k miles on the odometer Erik was confronted with every enthusiast’s  dilemma: sell it off or keep it? Z’s and G’s are hard to let go and Erik chose to modify his car so we gave him the ZCG essentials: JWT POP charger intake, Motordyne plenum spacer, Bassani cat-back exhaust system, JWT clutch/flywheel, Koni shocks, and Hotchkis sway bars:

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Here is the stock exhaust vs the sweet sounding Bassani system:

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JWT intake, JWT heavy duty clutch and flywheel (a prudent upgrade for future power mods!)

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Stock vs Koni dampers plus Hotchkis sways:

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We also performed full 90k services and Erik was off enjoying his G…until he came back for a Stoptech Sport Kit to improve braking. Early last year he stopped by ZCG to consult with Rob on Forced Induction…Erik wanted boost and it would be in the form of a Vortech V-3 supercharger kit!

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The build started in Fall ’13, with upgrades like an oil cooler, 900cc Bosch injectors, Aeromotive 340 fuel pump and everything powdercoated satin black-Erik wanted things low profile. This Vortech build was far from ordinary as we planned to run E85 (ethanol) to make more power. What’s the deal with E85?  Tuners have been using this “alternative” fuel for years  to extract power from forced induction setups. Specifically, E85 has an octane rating approaching 105; a significant jump from your typical 91-octane premium pump gas, but for about the same price. This higher octane rating allows wider tuning capabilities,  increasing power and reducing the chance of detonation with high compression or boosted applications.

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Here are few key benefits of E85:

  1. The higher autoignition temperature of Ethanol (689 degrees F, compared to gasoline’s 475 degrees F) enables E85 to be more knock-resistant and handle more boost or higher compression.
  2. E85 initiates a cooler intake charge, allowing for higher boost pressure.
  3. E85’s higher resistance to detonation (autoignition) allows tuners to implement more aggressive ignition timing, for improved combustion efficiency.
  4. E85 can actually be cheaper to run than gasoline, especially compared to high-octane race gas. As I write this, 100 octane is $7.65 and 91 octane is 4.09 compared to E85 which is 3.72.


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Running E85 is straightforward but critical components are needed as well as tuning. First, E85 requires larger injectors to compensate for 40-50% increase in fuel demand. Second, an aftermarket ECU allows tuning of fuel/timing maps. We used 900c injectors, a Haltech ECU and Flex Fuel Sensor from Zeitronix:


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Playing with ethanol-to-gasoline mixtures or periodically switching from gasoline to E85 requires changes in fuel pressures. Switching over isn’t a simple run-to-the-pump-and-fill scenario and that’s the beauty of the Haltech…Erik can run 91 octane, E85, E70, E30 etc. without worrying about manually adjusting timing and A/F!

Erik keeps tabs on engine and air/fuel vitals with a gauge display from Zeitronix. We mounted it stealthily in place of the OEM retractable unit:

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So does E85 really make a difference? The answer is a resounding YES! The G35 baseline dyno’d at 249hp/226tq and the Vortech helped increase power to 422hp/342tq to the wheels on 91 octane:

Erik Miller baseline and 91


With the Haltech and E85, were able to extract 30hp/26tq at the same boost level! Final numbers are 462hp/368tq:

Erik Miller 91 vs E85 haltech

We think Erik loves the newfound power…he already took his G35 to the Wednesday Night Fun Drags at Sears Point recently with great results.  Before and after the Vortech/E85.  Erik ran a 14.6@97mph vs 13.6@111mph:

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With some drag radials and urethane differential bushings Erik is hoping to cure wheel hop issues and dip into the 12’s! Maybe even lower as he plans to do a high compression built engine…of course using E85!

Enjoy the Ride Erik!