Friday, January 20, 2023

Danville Street Sighting - 1974 Datsun 260Z Custom

If there's one thing about me that drives my friends crazy, it's my tendency to be a purist. I generally prefer a vehicle to be kept visually stock or minimally and tastefully modified. With custom cars, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Rarely have I been more conflicted about a feature car than this 1974 Datsun 260Z.

Ever since I was a child I have been a big fan of the 1970s Datsun Z cars, known in Japan as the Nissan S30 Fairlady Z. My dad ingrained that love through his stories of a blue 1974 260Z that his friend once owned, racing each other in the hills of Oakland and just being young guys with a couple of fun cars during a more carefree time. He waxes fondly about the phenomenon of the Scarab as well, a Z whose inline six has been swapped for a small-block Chevy V8. JDM fans are no doubt aware of the Fairlady ZG, a modified Z built as a homologation special for Group 4 racing. the ZG gained wide fender flares a rear spoiler and most distinctively, an aerodynamic droop snout with clear plastic headlamp covers. Anime fans may recall the "Devil Z" from Wangan Midnight, a royal blue Fairlady Z with wide wheel arches over eight-spoke Panasport wheels.

Put all of those things together and you end up with something like what you see here. At first glance I was in shock. Who would do such a thing to the beautiful lines of a Datsun Z? I used to ask the same question about my uncle who spent decades modifying his 1967 Corvette 427 Tri-Power into a 600-horsepower widebody club racer. I didn't like it. But he built it to be wicked fast, not to be pretty. I imagine the same reasoning went into this build.

The for sale sign in the window described this build as having a Chevrolet 400 small block with aluminum heads, Tremec T-56 transmission with a limited-slip rear end. No information was given about power output. Underneath it features a boxed frame and upgraded suspension and brakes. The body is inspired partly by the ZG aero package but with very wide hips out back. I believe it's a ZTrix IMSA bodykit patterned after the wild - and winning - Z race cars of the IMSA GTU Series. All bodywork is faired in with smooth fiberglass devoid of visible seams. It rides on three-piece 17" Panasport rims. Inside the car features seats from a much later 350Z and what looks like a Momo steering wheel. The page claims the finished package weighs 3010 pounds, engineered for 50/50 weight distribution for optimal handling. The wide stance suggests this thing is an absolute beast on the track or on a twisty canyon road. The rear license plate frame calls it an E-Ticket ride.

So, is this wide Z pretty? It seems well executed for what it is. I have no doubt it's quick with V8 power and six speeds. And it's a '74 so it never has to be smogged in California. Which is probably the best part for me. I wish I could find more information on it.

Photographed August 2019

1 comment:

  1. Your post is a beacon of brilliance! Insightful, well-crafted, and thoroughly engaging. Thank you for sharing your perspective with us.