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Project THESEUS: A '74 260z

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Hey all, new here and figured I'd post up the beginnings of a build thread.


I've been looking for a Z car for about three years now, but given the high prices that classic cars command around here (Ontario Canada) I was not expecting to be able to afford one until after college. This changed when I found an ad for a dilapidated '74 260z with no listed price on Kijiji, asked for info, and ended up picking it for 1700CAD. One 500km trip to my parent's place on my birthday (talk about timing) later I started digging into the car's myriad issues.


So far:

- while towing it home, I blew two brake lines and suffered a trans fluid leak that coated the side of my Outback, the 260z, and the uhaul trailer with ATF

- I got the car with no ownership from a towing company (that impounded it 3 yrs previous) and had to go to three different ServiceOntario places before I could get one that would transfer ownership from whoever the official owner used to be (with an affadavit and bill of sale)

- the floors are completely screwed; partially due due to rust (expected), but not helped by a forklift lifting the car to get it to where I could tow it home.

- whoever owned this car before me was a total idiot; there is a good 4-5mm of bondo over most of the car, and aluminum sheet + rivets over rust, not to mention the state of the wiring harness.

- I have no keys whatsoever for it, and the rear hatch is currently locked closed.


Current plans are to fix all the rust/wiring issues, give it some decent paint, wheels, flares (as I need to fix the rear arches anyway), and lower it a bit. Longer term I'm thinking an engine swap is in the cards, but I want to get it on the road first.


Anyway, here's some pics with my current progress. Unfortunately I'm several hundred km away from where the car is currently sitting, but the next break I get from college I'll be working on it, and will hopefully be bringing it to where I am this fall.


What it looked like in the kijiji ad:







Loaded up and ready to get towed 500km:




And home:



Starting to dig into the carpet:



The beginnings of realizing how much of a hackjob the previous owner was:



For fucks sake (the seats were mounted to that sheet, not the floor, and it was held in by the carpet and 4 rivets):



Underneath. Pretty much gone, and patched before by someone:



Seeing what is under the primer on the wheel arches:



The decision to go flares was made much easier:



Under putty on the rear. Not the end of the world, but a pain nonetheless. From the inside I see more rivets in the centre, but the extent of the damage is hidden by the locked hatch for now:



One trip to Quebec later, I got a better hood and some inspection panels for 100$. I'll need to strip the hood down and patch 2 small rust areas, but it's WAY better then the crumpled one.



And how it currently sits with the new hood (inspection panels not pictured):



Luckily, everything from the front of the doors forward seems unmolested, other than one of the fenders being tacked on when a bolt broke in the past. The usual rust by the battery and frame dogleg, but nothing unexpected.

Edited by Noll
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You seem to know what you're doing. What are your plans? Keep original?  Some nice flairs will hide those rusty fenders if not. The 260 had the terrible and infamous flattop SUs.  

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Thanks! Still learning, but I've done a ton of research in the past couple years.


Going to keep somewhat original for now, but am thinking of going flares to save me some work on rebuilding the rear arches entirely. It looks like theres good metal where people usually cut for flares, so as long as the inner wheel arch isn't rusty, that'll be nice.


Happily, mine's a quite early 260, and has the 3 bolt belltops on it.

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Thanks guys! Definitely a LOT of work ahead, but I'm sure it'll be worth it,


Speaking of work, I visited my family this weekend, and was able to do a little work on the car, stripping off the drivers-side rear quarter.


I'll just start off by saying whoever worked on this car before me needs to rethink their life decisions:




Yep, that's literally 10mm of body filler over riveted on sheet metal. I was removing it with a WOOD CHISEL!


It looks like the rockers/sills are going to need to be entirely replaced too, as I was thinking might be the case:




And overall. I may just end up buying a repro rear wheel arch to save me some time reconstructing the bent section behind the door, even if I'm just cutting it up afterwards:




I also found someone on ebay who could cut a key to the key # that was in the glovebox, and that should be here soon. Also took a gamble on some 94USD shipped flares from the ukraine, so we'll see if they're any good. Unfortunately the next time I can work on the car is the end of June, but hopefully I'll have some $ for repro metal by then.


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Those arches are a good candidate for flairs. I know it changes the flavor of the car but with that much rust they are a godsend.

Yep, flares are definitely in the cards! I'll wait till they're here to make a decision on new quarters or not; so long as I can fit them in such a way to cut out all the rust, I'll just get a patch panel for the bit in front of the wheelwell instead of the whole arch.

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Minor update; just purchased a 240z for 300$ for parts for the 260; plan is to take the doors, emblems, rear bumper, the replacement rockers that are on the roof, and misc sheet metal off it, then sell the windscreen, hood, and hatch (so long as it isn't in better shape than my hatch) to hopefully make a profit (or at least break even).


Going to pick it up next week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the flares I ordered off ebay today, as well as the newly-cut key that I got from Australia.


Considering they were 94USD shipped, the flares are pretty damn good. A tiny bit warped from shipping, but that'll straighten out once they're on the car.


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Alright, time for a proper update. I drove up to my parent's place on Friday to pick up the 240z I mentioned earlier, and got some work done on the 260z as well.


Finished stripping the rear panel off, looks like at least three different people "fixed" it in the past, each worse than the last (brazing, riveted aluminum, and riveted sheet metal):



Everything from the taillight surround up seems alright-ish though.



I also got the hatch open by unbolting the lock, and it looks like someone (poorly) brazed on a replacement rear panel at some point. Not a huge deal, I was planning on buying one anyway.





Stripped a lot of the bondo off the passenger's side, and it looks like it's even worse than the driver's side; the inner wheelwell is gone at the rear.




That's about as far as I got before today, when I went to pick up the 240z with the help of a family friend with a trailer and skid-steer.




I'm going to grab the doors, windscreen, gas door, and other misc before scrapping the shell (it's SUPER gone, no floors, rear subframe is trash, rockers are nonexistent, and it has random subaru forester bits welded on), and I also got all of this.


Not bad for 300$, I think.



The hood and hatch cleaned up pretty nicely:




While I think it's unlikely, does anyone in the Ottawa, Ontario area need a 240 roof? I'd be happy to sell it and take a loss (compared to scrapping it) so long as it helped keep another Z on the road. the roof looks to be in pretty good shape overall.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was planning on working on my Lada Niva this week instead of this, but due to a lack of welding gas or the money to get some, I decided to continue cleaning this up instead.


First order of business was to get the P/S fender off. This took some doing, as some previous owner had snapped a few bolt holes off and just brazed the fender off in some spots.


I got it in the end:




Happily, (I needed SOME luck with this build) the fender seems perfectly fine other then the dents and a little bit of surface rust. The headlight cover ring (or whatever it's called) is gone though. I doubt it'll be too hard to find a repro one though.






After checking over the fender, I turned my attention to the inner wheel well. There look to be 4 main rust spots, but the rest is solid:








After a quick hit with a wire wheel, it all looked a lot better. There are one or two pinholes, but otherwise it's solid, not including the above areas.







While removing the fender, I found out that the front valence was just riveted on (like the rest of this damn car, lol), so that'll need to be replaced.




Now that I knew the general state of the front quarter, I decided to cut out the rust on the rear arch and bring it back to bare metal to make sure nothing else was hiding underneath the paint. It also turns out that the inner wheel arch will need to be replaced; both due to the pictured rust, as well as the fact that someone hacked chunks out of it underneath and replaced with more aluminum and seam sealer.




It looks MUCH better without all the putty on there now. I didn't bother stripping the bottom section, as that's rusted out and will be replaced anyway.




There looks to be some holes from what I assume was a crude form of dent repair; should be easy enough to plug weld once I get the putty out of them.




I can only assume that someone used a wayyyyy too coarse sanding disc here. No rust though, so that's nice.




Back out to the workshop now, may have another update later.

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Thanks! It's shaping up to be quite the odyssey, but It'll be worth it it in the end. I just did the math, and it looks like I'll be spending 2300$ on new metal, not including shipping or tax, so I need to get saving $ haha.


I got a bit more done after I posted earlier; removed the bent, rusted remains of the rear valence, and dug into the rear hatch panel.




Rear hatch panel rust:





The remains of the rear valence, complete with like 300 rivets:




I'm not going to be able to get the tow hooks off for a bit, as they're well and truly stuck and I have no desire to break out a torch until I've dropped the furl tank.





Someone's idea of a "patch" for the bumper indent.



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Well, looks like PhotoBucket has royally fucked over all 3600 pics in my account, so I'll be switching over to Flickr and re-posting the ones for this thread when I have a chance.


EDIT: Pics moved over to Flickr now, all fixed. Adios Photobucket, you won't be missed.

Now to fix every other thread I have on several forums, UGH.

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  • 2 months later...

Was visiting family this past weekend and decided to have a properly look through the glovebox, as the last time I had done so i was just skimming through looking for ownership docs.

I found this, which I found interesting. Anyone ever heard of it? I had no clue anyone ever made a ski-rack for the S30 cars, and a google search didn't bring anything up about the brand.


I also decided to take some better pictures of the D/S rust damage, as the pics I had of it weren't amazing.


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  • 1 month later...

Thanks! I may end up picking up a clean shell to swap everything to, but haven't fully decided yet. even if I do, the driveline, interior, and most bodypanels will live on.




Unfortunately my family needed half their garage back for the winter, and I had to choose between putting this or my Lada Niva outside for the winter. I ended up deciding on this, as the niva is so much closer to being done (way less rust, it actually runs, is not in parts), and, lets be honest, this can't exactly get much rustier. I did primer everything that I stripped to bare metal and put a spacer between the tarp and the 260's roof, so hopefully that slows any rust.



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Happily, mine's a quite early 260, and has the 3 bolt belltops on it.


Probably a previous owner got rid of them. Nissan mechanics hated them too.


I'm amazed at the work ahead of you. I find body work just to the right of voodoo.

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That is one rusty 260Z! I'm glad to see you're digging away at it.


There are also those fiberglass bumpers, sideskirts, and front bumper if you like that style. It would help to cover up some of that lower metal work.




Yep, rusty is an understatement lol. I'll get there eventually one way or another. I was considering a front bumper/airdam, but I like the look of the stock lines too much to cover them up with fibreglass I think (plus that would make future metal repairs harder).


I may go for a front spook like this to help with high speed stability though (as I've heard and read that they can get a bit squirrely otherwise, and I don't want to do a large airdam):



Probably a previous owner got rid of them. Nissan mechanics hated them too.


I'm amazed at the work ahead of you. I find body work just to the right of voodoo.


I'm no bodywork expert either, but I want to improve my skillset in that area; this may be a bit of an ambitious project in the regard, but I can't exactly make it worse, and most of the non-body parts are usable. Now that I've thought about it more, I think I'm going to pickup a local clean 260z shell (mentioned in a previous post), swap everything into that, and drive it while I slowly work on this to get it exactly how I want it in terms of rust repair, paint, driveline, etc. That way I can at least be driving a Z while this is sandblasted and fixed properly.


I found a 260Z made in October 1973 and it has flat top SU's on it. I think Mike is correct that it most likely was changed out for the round tops at one point.


Yep, entirely possible, and either way I'm not going to complain haha. saves me some money buying and potentially rebuilding a set.

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  • 1 month later...

I've been visiting family for the christmas break for the past few days, and decided to try to get something done on the 260z while I am here. I can't really work on the car itself, as it's under a tarp and a few ft of snow, so I decided to try to clean up the dents in the sugar scoops a bit.

I didn't take before pictures of the first repair, but here's the result:



Before picture of the second dent:


And after:


Third dent:




All-in-all, not perfect, but should be close enough for a skim coat of filler, and/or I may revisit them later to do the finishing touches.

Not bad imo, considering these were my only tools:


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  • 3 months later...

Took some pictures of the progress that I made over the past few months.

Stripped off the D/S fender. Pretty solid except where it was brazed on, should be simple to make a replacement section though:



P/S fender was the same story, and should also be an easy fix:


Also on the P/S fender, I got the dent around the turn signal mostly hammered out, and stripped and roughly hammered the dents in the fender back out. I'll finesse it back properly into shape later.



Back to the D/S fender, I hammered out the crease at the front of the arch back roughly into shape. Still need to grind/sand off the remaining brazing rod, but the fender looks solid underneath that at least.


And the car in all its glory. I'm going to aim to start stripping the engine bay over the next couple of weeks.


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