Purchased by me in 1999, completely original
except for some creative fiberglassing of rusted areas and some super
janky bondo in the right rear. Within 4 weeks,
the water pump fell
off, instant overheat, melted L24. I then
sourced an 83 L28, F54/P79, retaining the dual SUs and added an MSA
3-2-1 header. Drove it like that for about a year. Added a 79 5spd.
Then acquired the mythical 4.11 R200 out of a turbo 200SX. Over the
years, I put it back in the garage occasionally to
- Repair passenger floor/battery tray rust (overkill 14ga steel)
- Sealed up cowl tray and repaired cowl drains
- Pete Paraska double double relay fix for blinkers and swapped 87 Maxima switch gear
- Section struts and install GC Coil overs, 250lb springs, and Tokico cartridges front and rear.
- All new poly suspension bushings through-out.
- Build custom front (lower) diff mount with poly bushings.
- Install HVAC from 280Z. (FYI, this was such a bigger project than I imagined and included creating a whole new console plate)
- Install dash cap.
- Install Talon seats with modified seat brackets (so my head wouldn't hit the roof)
- Install 13" vented Z31 discs up front with 83 S31 Master cylinder
- Repositioned lower control arm pivot to reduce bump steer and increase camber.
- Install 280Z front sway bar with beefed up mounting points.
- Using custom adapters, install 83 280ZXt CV half-shafts.
- Install 83 ZXt rear discs and
- repair factory flawed rear control arm (it was skewed)
- Fabricate adjustable rear control arm keeper to allow for toe in/out adjustment
- Remove existing puny "floor supports" and replace with full frame connectors front to back (again 14ga steel).
- The biggest project was to swap in an LS1 from 1999 Camaro with T56.
- Custom "K"-member modification for increased chassis rigidity.
- F-Body poly fuel tank (with additional rear steel tubing protection)
- Custom 2.5" to 3" exhaust with stainless muffler.
- Autometer gauges.
- Install 3.54 R200 so that 1st gear was useful for something. Also, 65mph at 1200rpm.
Then I drove it for about 10K miles. Was running late to the airport, trying
to catch a left turn light, lady in an SUV about 400M ahead of me
stopped when the light turned yellow. I guess my incredulity caused me
to delay braking - anyway, I slammed on the brakes and skidded into the
behemoth. Her truck was undamaged, but the Z got squished up front. So
that lead to:
- Drill out spot welds.
- Blast away all rust.
- Replace rusted metal with fresh clean metal
- Replace front fender, left "eye socket" and hood.
- Replace rocker panels
- Replace entire right rear fender.
- Replace rusty hatch.
- Remove any and all bondo everywhere and straighten panels
(not to say this was a "bare metal" restore, but it was close - anywhere there was janky
bondo, it was removed).
- Replace radiator support (I wanted to run a really big
- Replace carpet.
- Carbon fiber door panels
- Pay a buzillion dollars to bodyshop for final prep and application
of fancy Ford SVT Blue paint.
- Installed new carpet.
- Currently has 14K miles on the "reconditioned" chassis, t56 and clutch, approx. 38K on the engine.
This car was almost completely impractical - the "almost" is
because it actually did get pretty decent MPG. I put over 14K miles on it.
Quite loud. It weighed ~2500lbs. It
had too much power. Did I mention it was loud? I never bothered installing a stereo.
It was very small. More of a statement of car-craziness than an actual car..
It could easily just cruise around in 3rd gear. Or boil the tires in 1st. Or
lope along on the highway in 6th at barely above idle. It handled very
well, but the trade-off was a pretty harsh ride. Like a gokart - the
springs were stiff.
All images Copyright 2000-
2017, Jeremy Roth, All