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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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Alex’s 350z Convertible

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 12:29 am on April 12, 2017

 

We worked on Alex M’s 2004 Z33 ‘vert about 5 years ago and it is a familiar Z sporting Central20 bumpers, 5Zigen wheels and a host of bolt-ons. Alex travels around the world on business frequently so his car sat idle for a long time. With just 56k miles on the clock he brought it to ZCG for a thorough once-over.

 

A full 60k-mile service was performed, new battery installed, new thermostat and we sorted out all of the issues. First, the car was lowered without adjustable camber arms so we installed SPC f/r control arms and Whiteline diff bushings. A full alignment followed:

 
 

A few other issues were corrected like a failed oil pressure sending unit, passenger seat problem and blown stereo fuse. The Stoptech brakes were old/weathered since their install in 2004.  We upgraded them to yellow ST40/ST45 calipers, turned rotors and our favorite 309 pads:

 
 

The 5Zigen SMB wheels were re-refinished and wrapped in new Bridgestone S-04 tires:

 

The Z had many bolt-ons but had never been tuned so we put it on the dyno. Baseline numbers of 234hp/230tq to the wheels indicated it was low on power. Rob UPREV tuned picking up power everywhere in the rev range for a total of 254hp/257tq to the wheels, gains+20hp/27tq. This is a great example of having a proper tune to maximize gains from your bolt-ons whether it is DE, Rev-up, HR or 370. Alex is happy with the final product:




Scott’s 300zx Convertible

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Maintenance,Performance
by Alvin G @ 3:04 pm on January 27, 2017

 

Scott N visited ZCG because he felt the suspension on his 1994 Z32 ‘Vert could be improved.  The Z33 Rays wheels look sharp on this 300! We installed TEIN coil-overs and a few other goodies:


Here are the existing shocks and the new TEIN street coil-overs going in front and rear:


Z1 upper control arms:

 

SPL tension rods so we could fully adjust camber up front:

 

The rack bushings are vey common problem on z32s so we replaced them. In the back: the aftermarket adjustable upper control arms were making noise so we replaced them with OEM parts and performed a full alignment.

Scott is super happy and Enjoying The Ride!

 

 




EVENTS: SpoCom Norcal 2015

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 2:16 am on August 10, 2015

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Last Saturday I attended the SpoCom Norcal Edition car show held at Club Auto Sport in San Jose, CA. If you do a quick Google search of the word “spocom” you’ll find more images of scantily clad women than actual cars–this may explain why legions of adolescent males paid the relatively high $25 spectator fee, but more on that later. Look harder though and you can find some sweet J-Tin at this show claiming to be aimed at “automotive & pop culture tastemakers alike.”

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The Venue

I don’t claim to be a tastemaster of any kind, but here is my review of the show from a Datsun owner’s point of view.  Let’s start with the venue: Club Auto Sport is a large, retail/commercial complex and home to exotic-car rental agency Club Sportiva and Borelli Motorsports:

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Inside the main building there were several aisles for show cars to be parked and a main stage for a DJ and wait for it…bikini contest! Club Auto sport offers private garages so naturally I peeked at various man caves…found a Porsche 959 in hiding!

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The Cars

Those tall orange “Swords” above are actually the coveted SpoCom Awards. I learned that this was a highly competitive show with “teams” vying for these 4-ft tall trophies. Here is a taste of the cars placed near the main stage area:

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There were about 25 cars lining the aisles inside the building…scattered about in random fashion with one aisle having only 3 cars vs 18 in another:

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The car scene inside the building was quite different from the cars placed outside, and this is where I found some pretty neat machinery. Let’s begin with my roadster which was staged near this S30 sporting an old-school body kit:

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