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Happily Z After: Courtney’s 1973 240z

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Maintenance,Performance
by Alvin G @ 4:47 pm on January 8, 2018


At Z Car Garage we are fortunate to be a part of many Nissan/Datsun enthusiasts lives. Here is another amazing story of how we helped a passionate couple reunite with their Z just in time for their wedding.


Sharing The Datsun Love

Over 20 years ago Rob Fuller migrated to the Bay Area to surround himself with Datsuns and he recalled being driven by one thing: Passion. What helped him build his 510 in his early 20’s and build cars period was the passion of older folks eagerly sharing their love and knowledge. It has been our code and a great source of motivation to share ZCG’s passion and cool customer cars with others. Courtney and Dustin came to ZCG for a shop tour in 2016 and we had a great time hanging out and telling Datsun stories from back in the day. It made us proud to see two young enthusiasts totally into vintage cars.


Courtney is a well-known photographer and her then-boyfriend Dustin is a fellow Datsun 510 owner. We gave the couple rides in several customer cars including Gary’s OS Giken TC24-powered 240z. Smiles were abound! Fast forward to 2017 when Courtney reached out to us about getting her Z back on the road in time for her wedding. This was right up Rob’s alley (remember how we surprised Ken on his 50th Birthday with a restoration of his 240z?), so we happily obliged. Courtney and Dustin arranged to have the Z towed to ZCG. Now, let’s hear Courtney’s story…


Courtney’s Z Story

Growing up, I was very sheltered when it came to cars. Once I was old enough to drive, I was only allowed to pilot vehicles that my family considered “big” and “safe” enough. This lineup throughout the years consisted of a ’92 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, a 2000 Toyota Camry, and a 2001 Acura TL. My one time suggestion of a MK4 GTI was met with reluctancy due to the fact that it was “a little too small.” While my family had good intentions, they never really allowed me to branch out and get something a little more… exciting. By the time I was 21, I was ready for change.

I had my eye on the 240z for a long time, obsessed with its iconic silhouette and timeless style. While it took some searching with the help of my then-boyfriend/now-husband and another friend, I finally bought my 1973 240z in 2014. I found it on Craigslist in Medford, Oregon with only two photos in the listing. The photos were extremely poor quality and the description sounded too good to be real. Less than 100k original miles, very little rust, straight body, and mostly original. After connecting with the owner and coming to a deal, we set a date to drive up to Oregon from the Bay Area. A long story short, the trip was nightmarish and almost anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The previous owner wasn’t entirely honest with me about the mechanical condition of the car. We found that overheating on a steep mountain pass and getting stuck in the semi lane isn’t our idea of a fun Sunday night. Ultimately though, we made it home with the car after an exhausting weekend.


Once the car was home, we tinkered on a few small things that needed to be addressed. The car just had a few too many hiccups, with a set of finicky Webers installed, and life happened as it usually does. So, the car ended up sitting in my parents’ driveway for just about two years. There were plans to do a rather unorthodox engine swap with some other bold mods, but we all know that sometimes things don’t work out as planned. The longer I stared at this orange machine, sitting dormant, the more I longed to enjoy the car the way it came from the factory. It was at that point that we decided it was time to start thinking of reviving it.


Then, I got engaged in August of 2016. A big jump, but stay with me for a minute. Because my husband and I are such admittedly insane car nuts, we knew we had to have one of our Datsuns in our wedding. I originally thought his blue four door 510 would be well suited, but then he suggested that we bring my Z back to life in time for our July 2017 wedding. By this time, it was late in 2016 and time was ticking. If you’ve ever planned a wedding all by yourselves before, you’ll understand me when I say that there was plenty to occupy myself with. Getting a classic car running again after years of sitting/not running well was a task, but it was amplified by the fact that we never truly could diagnose its problems before. But my husband was adamant that the Z’s place was in our ceremony—not just because it was special to me, but because it was a special part of our relationship as a whole. We went through a lot to bring that car home from Oregon, and since then it has always sort of felt like a child to us. (Is that weird?)



With the help of our amazing friends and their gracious donation of a garage, we got to work on Pumpkin (appropriately named, right?). We tore down the L24 and replaced everything that needed it. We also replaced the Webers with a set early SU carbs. This was all mostly in an attempt to take care of maintenance after sitting for so long. Our thought was that if we freshened up the motor and improved the carb situation, we might have a better chance of fixing what had always been wrong. After we were through, the car certainly ran better, but still had overheating issues, among other things.


Reviving Courtney’s 240z

Some time passed and before we knew it, we were a couple of months into 2017. July was fast approaching and I was feeling nervous about my husband and I finding the time to continue working on the car. It wasn’t until I met Alvin with his Roadster for a Petrolicious photo shoot that the idea of bringing the car to Z Car Garage was spoken.


From the get go, Rob and Alvin were incredibly helpful. I had known them for a while at that point through my freelance photo work, but had never done actual car business with them. Rob invited my husband and I to bring him the car to inspect, and of course, it ended up being more serious than I thought. We’d realized that the heater core was leaking, we needed to address a leaking fuel tank, the clutch was going, my transmission was leaking, alternator was overcharging… I could go on. Some of the problems we were aware of, others, not so much. By this time I had ordered a set of fresh SU carbs from ZTherapy (they’re a national treasure), so we discussed installing them and having Rob tune the car once the other issues were knocked out.

As Courtney mentioned above, what started out as routinely syncing their carbs, Rob found that the Z needed a bit of attention. The worst thing would be for it to breakdown during their wedding. We sat down with Courtney and Dustin and assessed the car, then made a budget that would work with them to get their Z car running, be safe and part of their wedding day.

We replaced the fuel systems’ recovery hoses, eliminating fuel odor from the cabin:


Cooling work included installation of a Koyo race radiator, heater control valve and replacing the heater core. A new clutch was also installed:


The carbs were sync’d and tuned on the dyno where it made 140hp/135tq to the wheels. Very healthy numbers for an essentially stock L24 with SUs:


Her Z sounds great, watch the dyno run video below:


Rob was nothing but honest during the timeline of the work. He kept me updated with emails and phone calls, explained everything they’d found each step of the way, and gave me options. He understood our budget and was just as excited for our wedding plans as we were. He truly made us feel like family, and his enthusiasm for this huge life event we were planning showed that he genuinely cared about getting this car running. He was mindful of our time and did everything in his power to provide the best experience possible.


Finally, we went through the entire car to ensure that there was absolutely no issue with the Z traveling to and from the wedding. We were super pumped to see Courtney with the Z on her special day. Icing on the cake was a nice set of 16″ Panasports and they do look fantastic on that orange paint!



I’ve never known anyone who is so passionate about these cars. You realize that Z Car Garage is a name which is more than deserved when you’re met with this caliber of enthusiast. The staff lives and breathes Datsun. In the end, Rob and his staff had my car running as if it were new again. The feeling I had when he fired it up for us and showed us everything they’d done is something near surreal. When he showed me the dyno video, I got butterflies. He had made our wedding dream come true, and for that, we are forever grateful.


I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. All of my prior plans and obstacles with my Z were only guides that eventually brought me to ZCG. I couldn’t be happier with how this year has gone. From hearing my car roar to life to riding shotgun with my husband after our wedding ceremony, it has been perfect. Once again, a HUGE thank you to Rob, Alvin, and the outstanding staff at ZCG for making my Z dreams come true. Long Live the Z!

Thank you Courtney for letting us prepare your Z and it makes us happy to see you Enjoying The Ride! Good luck to both you and Dustin! ps love the license plate frame 🙂

Wedding Photography by Michael James

*ZCG Holiday Sale* Panasports for your Z!

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 3:19 pm on December 13, 2017





Panasport wheels for your Z car

This winter treat your Z to a brand new set of Panasport wheels! We special order this offset to enable fitment of a 225/50/16 tire on the 1970 to 1978 S30s.

Regular price of our 16 X 7 panasport wheel +11 is $305.00 per wheel
Price for set (4) is $1220.00

Sale price is $250.00 per wheel
Sale price for set (4) is $1000.00
Plus Shipping

We only have a few sets available and this offer is GOOD UNTIL DEC 20th. To order, contact Rob at the shop: or call 408-452-0350

Please enjoy pictures below of ZCG customer cars with these Panasport wheels:



Restoration Corner: David’s 1972 Datsun 240z

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 2:22 am on January 25, 2017


At Z Car Garage we feel that every Z car is worth restoring and making a customer’s goals become a reality is our passion. David B picked up this 1972 Datsun 240z in 2001 and he always wanted to restore it. He made an appointment with us and we began our assessment of the car. The interior needed nothing more than a thorough cleaning, a testament to it being a serious survivor. We love 918 Orange!


Before digging into it we gave the car a full inspection and got it running after being idle for many years. A full steam clean revealed what we were working with and a plan was made to address the following areas: drivetrain, engine bay, suspension and exterior. The goal was not a “concours” style restoration but more focused on making David’s Z an enjoyable driver, with some ZCG touches of course!


The tired engine was replaced with a Rebello 2.8L using new Z-therapy SUs. All nuts/bolts/fasteners were zince plated and many parts like the intake manifold were powdercoated:


More upgrades included an MSA 6-to-1 header, Pertronix ignition,  280zx alternator( int. regulated), Koyo race radiator and our custom 2.5″ exhaust system.  Here is the engine is assembled with the MSA header:


Backing the fresh engine were the 4-speed transmission and factory rear end. Both were disassembled, resealed and painted. No more leaks. No more whines:


Engine Bay

With the engine out, we restored the engine bay. Aside from dust/grime accumulation the paint was in great shape:


A few areas needed attention due to minor corrosion, like the battery tray. Repainting entire car wasn’t in the plan just yet so we got a custom mix to duplicate the existing orange paint to spot in after clean-up:


We zinc plated all of the brake/clutch lines, and metal parts found in the engine bay:


The end result is an engine bay that looks fantastic!



All suspension bushings were replaced and parts were zinc plated/powdercoated while it was apart. Techno Toy Tuning (T3) T/C rods and lower control arms were installed.  Our favorite non-coilover setup included 5-way Tokico shocks with Eibach springs.


The crown jewel of the suspension is our ZCG Big Brake Kit consisting of massive 13″ rotors and 4-piston calipers (finished in red). This track-tested setup provides the ultimate in fade resistance and pedal feel:


In addition to almost infinite reserves of braking capacity even with street pads, the ZCG Big-Brake setup fits under the lovely 16×7 Panasport wheels. Sticky Bridgestone Potenza re-71R tires are sized 225/50/16 all around.  Rounding out our chassis work was a full undercoating:


Fuel system

The aging fuel lines to the gas tank were frayed and cracked. We started by removing and cleaning up the gas tank:


All recovery lines and related hoses/rubber/parts were replaced while were there. Old vs new and before/ after shown below:



When we cleaned the car we noticed it had that ubiquitous side molding which is NLA.  To hold us over while we do paint, our man William installed a vinyl stripe in place:


Icing on the cake was a full detail of exterior. It is amazing how well older paint jobs clean up. We hope you are out Enjoying the Ride, David! Thank you for letting us get your Z back on the road.


When the word “restoration” is mentioned it can divide the classic car world.  A number of different descriptions and configurations exists like the full restoration, the nut and bolt restoration, the mechanical restoration and the cosmetic restoration. Whatever stage of restoration you have in mind, let Z Car Garage take you there!

Please visit the gallery for more pictures
…[read more]

Z at Last: Tim’s 1973 Datsun 240z

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Maintenance,Performance
by Alvin G @ 1:19 pm on August 3, 2016


Hello Z-Car fans! We have another great story from a customer that finally found their dream Z with a little help from Rob at ZCG. Read on as Tim joins the ranks of Z-ownership…the journey begins.

When I was 8 years old, I used to count how many 240Zs I saw on the road each day. The most was 38. My mom loves to tell the story how I cried for days when I read in Road & Track magazine that the 240Z would be going out of production some 7 years before I would even be old enough to drive. The year was 1973. Fast forward 43 years later. I called Rob 5 months ago to enlist his help finding a Series 2 240Z, and someone to build me a “sleeper.” I visited the shop and met all the guys. Not only did I love Rob’s obvious passion for the cars and encyclopedic knowledge of everything about modifying, maintaining, and driving them, but Rob never tried to “sell” me on ZCG. After my visit and tour of the shop, I went home and saw a Youtube video of the sole legendary OS Giken TC24-B1Z in the U.S. , featuring ZCG. In fact, the black “Behemoth” was in the shop during my visit.

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When I asked Rob why he didn’t mention any of those accolades, he said “I wanted your visit to be about you, and your journey, not about ZCG.” I had clearly found my partner in crime. Now I needed a car.

It had to be rust-free, and a candidate for a period cockpit and interior restoration, and period updates to the suspension and engine. For 5 months I scoured Craigslist and eBay, and Rob not only inspected (and rejected) countless local candidates, but helped evaluate cars in New York, Salt Lake City, Denver, Phoenix, and Irvine. I was freaking, but Rob insisted that I remain patient… that the right car, at the right price was out there. Finally, one of ZCGs own customers called Rob about selling his Orange ’73 240Z. Not only did it fit the bill, but it was one of ZCG’s own, and over 50% of my planned mods had already been done by ZCG.

Delivery day for Tim at the shop:

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Tim was happy as the car did already have some great performance and handling upgrades including a 2.8L block with a hotter cam and head work, triple Mikuni carbs, 5-speed transmission, limited slip differential and aluminum radiator:


Improved handling and looks through Tokico struts w/Eibach springs and Panasport wheels:


A sharp interior with refurbished dash and new door cards with ZCG’s sound insulation:

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The car still has original paint, and is a perfect launching point for Tim’s vision of a “sleeper” Z. Stay tuned for more installments as we proceed with a classic restoration to the interior (with a few of ZCG’s modifications) and a meticulous re-spray of Nissan Orange #918.  A ZCG Big-Brake Kit kit will precede an engine rebuild to a 3.2 liter stroker.

Many thanks to Rob Fuller at Z Car Garage for helping me realize a boyhood dream. My Z-journey begins… 44 years in the making.

We are happy to report that Tim got no less than 10 honks and thumbs up on his drive home to San Francisco from the shop! Enjoy The Ride and Long Live The Z!




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At Z Car Garage we are fortunate to be a part of many Nissan/Datsun enthusiasts lives. Here is a great story of how we helped re-kindle one couple’s love for their Z. Ruth and Larry bought their 1978 280z brand new and immediately enjoyed it with Ruth daily driving for several years. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and Ruth put the car in storage for a long period.

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We met the couple in 2008 when Ruth came in to ZCG to get the Z up and running which resulted in a full mechanical refresh.  All hydraulics (brakes/clutch) were restored. The suspension was treated to urethane bushings and Tokico 5-way struts with Eibach springs and a set of beautiful set of Panasports. Finally, we cut and buffed the paint and Ruth’s Z took on a new look…it was almost like 1978 again!


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The next step for them to drive and enjoy the car happened a few years later when we restored the entire interior of the car: a full dashboard restoration, Recaro LXF seats (Leather!), custom carpet kit, sound deadening, all weatherstripping, seals, etc.  These are all the details that ZCG performs to take a 280z from an awesome car from the 70’s to a timeless classic that can be driven anywhere.

The Little Things:  sill lock trim!

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Dashboard: gauges and knobs:

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The result of the interior restoration:

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It had been years since we had seen the Roth’s other than routine maintenance. It was time to dive back into the project with a full external restoration.  The cut/buff from a few years back wasn’t sufficient and it showed in areas like the hood. Those amazing pinstripes and lower rocker trim were looking a bit tired as well:

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We called upon our man William from William’s Auto Body and both Ruth and Larry had two requests: 1) The Z car must be as awesome inside as outside and 2) we absolutely must keep the pinstriping that had been on the car since new. William was more than up to to the task. This time we went ahead and installed electric power steering for ease/use, our upgraded rearview mirror (as featured on Gary Roser’s car, report later) which includes a backup camera, GPS, temp:


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Re-chromed bumpers and restored guards:

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Full glass/chrome trim/weatherstrip R&R. All NOS Nissan!

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Inner fender liners:

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NOS emblems replace pitted/fading orignal pieces:

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Rear tail light panel:

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Restored side moulding:

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William applied the factory paint color and the Z looks fantastic. We cleaned up the louvers too.

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The best part, of course, is that Ruth and Larry are still in love with their 280z! Enjoy The Ride and thank you for letting us be a part of your journey. Your dedication and passion for the Z is contagious and we love it!

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More pictures in our gallery below: …[read more]

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