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First Project Car- '77 280z auto-x/track car


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Ben 280 I have just came across this amazing car of yours and seen what you have done to it. everything you have done is amazing.

I have a question for you, back when you had the bassett wheels what were the sizes of rear and front wheels? (the backspacing and width).

Also what coil over kit did you get and what shocks would you recommend? (which shocks are the most stiffened up).

What back spacing would be a deep enough dish with wide tires and still be able to instal the coilovers?

Last question what fender flares did you get?


Bassets were 10 (4.5" BS) and 11(5" BS) wide


Coilovers are from Arizona Z car, I'm running 350# springs and work really well. Dave has never released who makes his shocks.


These cars a lucky in that if you flare the car you will run out of tire long before backspace. more backspace is always better, but 6" is probably the most barrel you can fit. 


Flares are Marugen-Shaokai Works Flares from RHD Japan. 

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Bassets were 10 (4.5" BS) and 11(5" BS) wide


Coilovers are from Arizona Z car, I'm running 350# springs and work really well. Dave has never released who makes his shocks.


These cars a lucky in that if you flare the car you will run out of tire long before backspace. more backspace is always better, but 6" is probably the most barrel you can fit. 


Flares are Marugen-Shaokai Works Flares from RHD Japan. 

Thank you very much I really appreciate it.


Which fender flares did you have before the Marugen-Shaokai Works Flares? The first fender flares you installed.


And do you recommend any other 15x 11(rear) 15x10(front) rims that are as cheap as bassett because I am at a low budget.

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Any steel wheel company will probably fit the bill, Basset was just the one I decided on. Diamond is much better known, and there are some others. 


Before the MS flares, I had a set of the BAMF ZG flares from Z Force Productions. Best off getting a used set, since Z force is defunct, but I think JPN Garage has started making wider ZG flares. Good flares are tricky to source cheap, best off finding a local guy selling them.

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  • 2 months later...

OK! First update in a long time. Sorry about that, but Instagram and facebook are way easier to update than these build threads. But I can’t abandon my loyal Ratsun brothers.


So. We left off in early December when the car was about to get caged. This meant doing TONS of prep work to the chassis. Cleaning all the seam sealer out, old paint, flaking undercoating, old rubber, the works. Gotta have the proper equipment when angle grinding!




Spent some quality time as well with the paint stripper, worked a treat to pull all the crap out of the front wheel wells. Thought process is that it will be easier to keep the front suspension clean and help ID leaks.




Wire wheels were the name of the game on cleaning the wheel wells out. Made a mess but they look great now.

Had to remove the windshield for caging so the guys can work in that area. Not the biggest pain, but hardened rubber wouldn’t let the glass go without a fight. Came clean though finally, had to go back and clean out the track. Had some rust in the corners but it was just surface rust so I hit it with the grinding wheel and then some rust reformer acid paint.




The day before the car was heading to the fab shop I got a package from John Washington at ZTrix.com. Fiberglass!!! This will help a TON with offsetting the added weight of the cage. Panels fit super well, and John was a treat to deal with. If anybody on the forums needs FG pieces for a Z, he is my first choice.




I ordered all skin parts for maximum lightness, and HOLY CRAP these are light! And super ridged as well. Very little finishing work needed.

The next day the car was all set to roll up to the shop!




Loaded up and strapped down, this is the last photo of the car as a “whole” Since I have to keep an eye on weight for my race class, I wanted to try and track weight as much as I could throughout the process. The shop I went to (SV Performance in Portland, OR) has scales so we were able to do a before and after.




Light, but then again, it’s just a rolling chassis, nothing else! I left Scott and Oscar with some drawings and rulebooks to go over and get a basic design.


Meanwhile, back at home base!


I still have all those motor pieces from a couple posts ago to install! And what better time to install them than when the motor is out of the car!




I thought the motor deserved a nice new paint job as well! Ford racing blue was pretty close to the original, or as close as I could get.

Figured I would leave the accessories on the motor since I had other plans for those!

Day 1 of the cage build and the guys got pretty far.




The deal I made with them was I do most of the sheet metal work and generally help out and they gave me a deal on labor. We tried as hard as possible to get the main hoops and bars super tight to the body.

Gratuitous welding shot on the rear main hoop




The cage design is a main hoop with a halo and A pillar bars. The whole thing is built to SCCA GCR spec meaning an 8pt cage. We used .095 wall DOM 1.5” tube for everything!


Dash bar installed, checking for level.




Door bars installed. The bend towards the main hoop is pretty tight to clear the seat, but then again, everything is really tight to clear me!




Ladder bars in the door, should be pretty good for a side impact!




Getting to that point on the cage was pretty much a week of work, and in the meantime I had motor parts to work on! Plus the shop closed for 2 weeks over Christmas. I cleaned up the timing front cover, new gaskets, new bolt kit and you can see the new motor mounts. Seriously though, why did Nissan use different bolts at EVERY opportunity on this thing???




Had to get a little Christmas cheer in! these motors get cluttered quickly! I ended up finding a new oil pump off of a KA24de equipped truck. A little research showed that it flows more oil and at higher pressures, which can only be a good thing. And they bolt right up!




Back at the shop after a week, it was time to wrap this cage up. That means gussets!! Back out with the angle grinder!




We put gussets on the A pillar bars, from the main hoop to the door jamb, the halo to the roof in the front and back, and from the down bars in back to the hatch frame, where these cars always crack. All said and done we added about 120lbs to the car. Each foot of tube weighs just about 1.45lbs and we used almost 100ft of it.




Lots of scaffolding in the back there! Once the car came home, it was time to figure out how to hang all these new panels! The door skins had no provisions for mounting, as its assumed that each race team has their own method.




Some quick angle iron bends and some more fiberglass to keep them attached and the door was good to go!




Once doors were hung, it was time to shoot a little paint. Engine bay was first to go. I used some semi paint in a gloss black to keep the bay nice and clean!




The cage went white to keep the cockpit nice a bright. You can see most of the gusseting here, there are a couple more that are less visible, but these are the big ones! All of them are dimple died for added strength.







Once all the paint was laid down, time to get back to fitting panels! Drilling holes and angle grinding expensive pieces of fiberglass is fairly nerve wracking, but I’m getting better at it!




Hatch was a big one, since it meant that the rear of the car was pretty much sorted out.


Back to the front, the motor went in one afternoon, and the rest of the parts on the shelf went into the car. Same old same old, but with new motor mounts from McKenny Motorsports, a new 240z steering rack and a new sub frame.

This car at one point was crashed, and the result tweaked the sub frame and motor mounts. Somehow the suspension isn’t really affected by this, but the motor mounts were all tweaked so new ones were required.




Windshield went in next, no real reason on the order here, but I was tired of tripping over it! There is never a good place to put a windshield. New supple gasket made the going much easier, but this is still a bitch of a job.




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Wiring was next, and having never wired up a car before, I was a little nervous! I bought a label maker from Epson to make the going a little easier, since I didn’t want to buy piles of different wires.


I also bought a JEGS switch panel which is fused and has lights that show if a switch is active or not.




The one thing these cars have going for them is that in stock form, they are brutally simple. The charging system is essentially 1 wire and with a little added simplification this was a pretty easy re-wire.


Dash situation has yet to be totally decided, but this is where we are at now. Needs something, but not decided on what just yet.




Here is a good 3fer, back hatch lexan installed, super clean wiring and a sneak preview of the fender flare-airdam union.




For the time being I’m not running ANY rear lights, or fuel senders, but the car is wired for them, just with hidden pigtails.

Another big exciting development was deciding to DIY Vinyl wrap the car! I’m still learning how to do this, but its going pretty well. If I have leftovers, I’ll re-wrap the hood, but for now its pretty good. You can get a good sense of how the flares will blend into the airdam now. Talk about chopping up expensive ass flares!


My brother gave me some extended studs for Christmas. These are the ARP mustang/camero studs, they fit perfectly. This job also sucks though, and required getting a slide hammer from autozone, and making a custom plate to hold the hubs in place while the nuts were loosened!


Got the doors Vinyl wrapped and that means its time for new numbers! I really liked the old school vibe of the gold meatball, so I did that again. #46 rides again!




I went over to the shop today and got the car weighed out finally to get a sense of where we landed! I was SUPER impressed. Anything under 2200 would have been awesome, but I wasn’t expecting this.




When the car was first weighed, before the gutted doors, and gutted metal hood, the car weighed in at 2357lbs. Last year in July we weighed it at National Tour and it weighed 2230. Having the car come in now at 2090 is phenomenal. That means that even with the addition of the cage, the car has lost 140lbs! The minimum weights for FP are 2064/2164lbs, so I can ballast up to the wide wheel weight, or shed some more pounds and get to the 10” wide wheel weight. Depends on how corner balancing goes, and if additional weight helps level the car. In reality too more fuel will be added and few more pounds of vinyl and fender flares, but from the original weight, this car has lost over 800lbs!!! Damn near half a ton. I’ll take that all day.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Great Job Man, that's one killer weight reduction so insane, I can see that weight reduction with RB26 turbo swap that will be muy bueno amigo.


Hey can you tell us any info how much was the cost for your door skins, and the rear hatch what are made off and the door glass close all the way up and water doesn't get any inside or it does but nothe important since it's your ride for racing and not a daily.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Wow, haven't been over here for quite some time! Build thread has been moving along over on hybridZ so scope that out and look out for the grammar police!


Highlights since end of 2015;

-Front disk upgrade, rear disk conversion

-New snazzy wheels

-Megasquirt EFI, COP and 440cc injectors

-Dyno'd at 160whp 170wtq in February 2016

-Blown motor August 2016 =(

-Rebuilt Rebello 13.8:1 race engine installed winter 16/17

-OER 45mm ITB's installed winter 16/17


Currently running on VP110 fuel, going back to the dyno on Monday!


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