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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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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:

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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Godzilla Lives: David’s R32 Skyline

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 2:05 am on August 23, 2013

 

Over the years Z Car Garage has worked on almost every chassis of Nissan Skyline from the early GC10, R33, R34, and current R35 platforms. We love the R32 model and recently had the chance of helping one get back on the road. David C is the lucky owner of this beautiful black R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R. He acquired it through the internet and had it towed to a shop where it unfortunately remained sitting. David had even purchased an entire RB26 front clip to get the R32 running again but there was no progress. After hunting for a shop that could handle the task of waking Godzilla from its slumber David contacted Skyline guru Sean Morris who then referred ZCG….challenge accepted!

 

David and Rob spoke over the phone and agreed to tow it to the shop. Within a few hours of getting the Skyline our very own Josh C figured out the culprit. The fuel delivery system had been modified by the PO and fuel pump bypassed. Thanks to Josh, Godzilla fired right up and David was able to drive his GTR for the first time in 3 years! Unfortunately the engine was not healthy as cylinders 5 and 6 had low compression. David decided it was time for a change and sold his front clip in favor of rebuilding the existing RB26.

Teardown: Godzilla’s heart is quite complex!

 

The bottom end was built with Rebello consisting of forged JE pistons, and Eagle Rods. Mild headwork and stock turbos make up the top end:

The freshened powerplant along with a new clutch/flywheel are reunited with the chassis.

 

A new, OEM coil plug cover adorns the mighty RB and we also installed a few ancillary parts like this remote oil filter/oil cooler:

 

With the drivetrain buttoned up the engine was carefully broke-in by Rob. The PowerFC that came with car shorted and caused running issues so we switched to a Haltech Pro Platinum. We were impressed with the ease of tuning and base map of this plug-in-play solution.  The GTR was  dyno tuned conservatively on 91 octane making a silky smooth 384hp/305tq to the wheels!

 

With the Skyline running strong David treated it to full suspension to make those open track days enjoyable. Front/Rear coil-overs, sway bars, T/C rods, camber/control arms and a host of goodies from Cusco and Powertrix:

 

 

When was the last time you saw an R32 with Stoptech brakes at all four corners?  R32s are relatively heavy cars and with 400hp it’s easy to overwhelm the stock the setup. Large, 332mm vented rotors F/R will ensure fade-free braking duties:

 
 

The uprated brakes are housed in beautiful Forgestar wheels, running a square 18×10 with 265 tire setup:

 
Adjusting the coil-overs for ride height before/after, we think it sits just right:

We love that David immediately started Enjoying the Ride in his GTR not just on the street but on the track! Here he is attacking Thunderhill Raceway:

 

This Skyline is Driven! Thank you David for letting us be part of your project, your R32 is wicked!

Check out more detailed pictures in the gallery
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