Lavenda/Red Datsun 280z


Lots of people ask me why I bought a 280z. I could say they are a better car than the 240 or that they are generally in better condition or that they come with the better 2.8 engine and fuel injection which make them better as a reliable runaround, but the truth is, I only notice the ebay auction in the dying seconds of it ending and stuck a bid in without even reading the description and won it!! So looking back and trying to justify why I now own a 280z. It is essentially the same 240z shape and once you change the bumper and front valence it looks very similar, just like a 260 2 seater looks the same as a 240. It does have the better 2.8 and EFI. Its a stronger shell. This one has quite nice wheels. The car is also very very solid so pretty much no bodywork to be done. The surface rust has hardly got into the metal and I’m trying to work out if I can keep it the way it is without it getting worse.

Plans for the car. Well its not actually here yet but should arrive at Felixstowe over the weekend. so probably pick up next week. It was in daily use until I bought it so should drive as is but more than likely it will need the usual suspension and brake overhaul. Now, having just said it has the desirable 2.8 plus EFI, I may swap all this out for the Lexus v8 I have in the workshop. Not 100% sure but that looks like the plan. Here’s a link to a vid I took last week when I got the v8 running:

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9th November 2016

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I’ve removed the front suspension and crossmember so I can test fit the engine and gearbox. Its pushed back as far as possible and I’ve tried to get it level to minimise any gearbox to prop angle. I will be using the original 2 piece Lexus prop and shorten both parts. The front section from the gearbox to center bearing will need to be perfectly in line with each other as it runs a rubber donut at the front. The rear section can run at an angle but I would like to minimise this by putting the engine in the best possible place. It’s all a compromise as it was never designed to go in this car. I can get virtually the whole engine behind the front axle which should be really good for handling. The engine is also light at 80kg less than the engine in my blue car. The one thing stopping me finalizing the position is the fact I don’t currently have a sump that will work with this setup. The 3uz engine I have is from a GS430 which has a front sump pan. This hits the front crossmember and steering rack so is not going to work. I need to find a sump with a rear pan from a soarer 1uz engine. These are proving pretty hard to come by so I will just have to push on with the build until one crops up or I get one made. If I remove the rest of the sump that’s still bolted to the engine then I will be able to put the crossmember back on and start making the engine and gearbox mounts. with the crossmember and rack back on the car I should also be able to assess whether I car get away with lowering the engine any more. It currently looks like it will be very close to the bonnet. The filler neck is certainly too long for the bonnet to close but that’s pretty easy to shorten a couple of inches. The exhaust manifolds are very close to both the chassis rails and the inner wings so I may have to look for alternatives.

12th November 2016

Stripped the rear suspension and fuel tank yesterday so thought I’d make a start on the bumpers. I quite like the look of a bumperless rear on the 280 so I may not install the 240z rear bumper after all. If I go for a clean look rear I’ve got quite a bit of welding to cover all the holes and indents. I’ll think on that one. Once the front bumper was gone I couldn’t resist pulling off the 3 piece front valence. The 280z valence is lower and more bulbous than the 240. I’ve been told the 240z valence wont fit a 280z but as I never listen to others I thought I’d have a look why it doesn’t fit. The corner pieces are fine but the center section catches on a few brackets so I cut them off. I will agree it doesn’t fit perfect but with a bit of tweaking, its not far off. The lower rad panel does fall lower than the valence but with it painted black and the valence body colour you would hardly notice. I could always have a small chin spoiler to cover it. That’s about it for today. Next job is to try and get the shell onto a trolley so I can give it a good jet wash outside. Probably later next week. I’ll be playing with the red 260 tomorrow.

18th September 2018

This has come on a fair way since getting the shell painted in January. It’s now a Vauxhall corsa flame red. I’ve welded up the front and rear marker lights along with the hole for the rear bumper shocks. All the engine bay has been cleaned up with battery tray, brackets and holes welded up. Also carried out a RHD conversion. Then suspension has all been stripped and powdercoated then fitted with new bushes and Tokico springs/dampers. I’ve converted the front bakes to z31 vented discs and Toyota 4 pot calliper’s. Finished off the 3uz conversion with a remote filter and oil cooler. Rewired the whole car and fitted LED halo front lights with indicators built in. Installed 240z bumpers front and back. Re did the entire interior in diamond stitched leather including the headlining. Plus a ridiculous amount of other custom mods.

I got the car on the road in June and did a track day at Brands on 12th June. Then drove to Spa Classic at the end of June. When in it to Le Mans Classic in July and took the car round Nordschliefe in August. I’ve just not stopped driving the car and love it.

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