Jump to content
HybridZ
CHATZ

1978 DATSUN 260Z ++OR++ FERRARI 250 GTO?

Recommended Posts

Guess I should start with a little introduction and then a couple pictures of my latest project (which is going to be one hell of an undertaking) so any advise on location of parts would be most welcome? I am very new to the world of the Z car.


 


Not however new to CARS......... My father "John Chatham" has been in the restoration classic car business 50 years, and was a works race driver for Austin Healey in the 60's. He raced his whole career up until the mid 90's and now likes to watch me and my brother batter the race car round the track. So facilities and experience to undertake this kind of monster build, we have! 


 


The car in question is a 1978 Datsun 260z. Fitted with (reportedly) one of the most accurate Ferrari 250 GTO kits ever produced. The kit was so good Ferrari walked in one day, bought everything (tools, Moulds) and then smashed it all, in front of everyone. 


 


The man that till a week ago owned the car for the last 25 years had it dry stored until 2006. This is where for some godly unknown reason he saw fit to leave it outside!!!!!!!!!!!!! 


 


It now needs a lot of work!!!! And here is where my part of the story must begin. Hope you guys enjoy the ride and please help out if you have contacts in the panel/parts trade or know where is best to go? LOTS OF WELDING NEEDED HERE!!!


 


 


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Guess I should start with a little introduction and then a couple pictures of my latest project (which is going to be one hell of an undertaking) so any advise on location of parts would be most welcome? I am very new to the world of the Z car.

 

Not however new to CARS......... My father "John Chatham" has been in the restoration classic car business 50 years, and was a works race driver for Austin Healey in the 60's. He raced his whole career up until the mid 90's and now likes to watch me and my brother batter the race car round the track. So facilities and experience to undertake this kind of monster build, we have! 

 

The car in question is a 1978 Datsun 260z. Fitted with (reportedly) one of the most accurate Ferrari 250 GTO kits ever produced. The kit was so good Ferrari walked in one day, bought everything (tools, Moulds) and then smashed it all, in front of everyone. 

 

The man that till a week ago owned the car for the last 25 years had it dry stored until 2006. This is where for some godly unknown reason he saw fit to leave it outside!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

 

It now needs a lot of work!!!! And here is where my part of the story must begin. Hope you guys enjoy the ride and please help out if you have contacts in the panel/parts trade or know where is best to go? LOTS OF WELDING NEEDED HERE!!!

 

Here is a picture of where she was when we went to pick her up. Sat there since 2006

 

IMG_4722_zpsbrff1oal.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum Chatz.  Its hard to tell from just one picture but that looks like a McBurnie 250 GTO kit.  It is a McBurnie or a later kit (Blue Ray, Stable Autoworks, Reaction Research, etc.) based on the McBurine molds.  And, if it was really built 25 years ago then it is a McBurine.  If you could post some additional pictures I might be able to help with the identification.  BTW the most accurate 250 GTO kits were actually made from real Ferrari molds sold to the Colonel in England so his racing team could make new aluminum body panels after accidents.  They were usually installed on a real Ferrari chassis such as a 330 GTC.  The most acurate Datsun based Ferrari 250 GTO kit I have seen was made by Puckett and they are quite rare.  Also, while it makes for a good story, Ferrari was never able to have any of the molds destroyed.  The Ferrari lawyers were however, able to stop companies from building and selling the kits but that was it.  Tom McBurine actually fought them in court but lost so he stopped making the kit and sold the molds Jim Simpson at Blue Ray Engineering and the molds have been through many hands since.   

 

The first Ferrari 250 kit on a Datsun was designed by Eagle Manufacturing and sold buy Joe Alphabet as an Alpha 1 GTO.  I bought my Alpha 1 GTO from Joe back in 1986.  http://forums.hybridz.org/garage/vehicle/82-ferrari-250-gto/ 

 

John Washington from Reaction Research stills sells the kit (both coupe and spyder versions) and is a great guy.  You can find him here http://www.reactionresearch.com/automotivedetails.htm  

 

It is a great car and gets lots of attention so I hope you fix it up and enjoy the ride! 

 

 

Ferrari_32

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing! Thanks for the background. really is great. I love forums for this very reason. Someone always knows more and is able to help. great feedback. More pictures to come. I will have a good look through your car history on here. thanks for the link.


 


I actually spoke with my dad a few years back and we considered buying one of those early 365 (BIG) ferraris when they were not much over 10k (kicking myself now that we didnt buy one as they have gone up in price) They had the same running gear as the GTO (apart from a belt driven engine as the GTO was chain driven) I believe this is correct? But with a Ferrari log book and running gear and a well made alloy body it would be stunning. 


 


More pictures to follow ASAP!


 


Thanks for the warm welcome. 


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So today was lovely and i couldnt help my slef. diving in with the removal of some bits. The car has been sat so long it doesnt roll very easily so off come the calipers and the rear drum shoes. Head light covers off. Radiator out and so initial rust eating jenolite put on. 


 


Its a long road ahead. Think i am going to have the engine and box out soon and get the rolling chassis and suspension all soda blasted to see where we are. 


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW you should check out the FAQs "Body Kits & Paint" section on this forum because there is a long 250 GTO Owners thread there. 

 

Also here is some additional info from a reprinted Kit Car mag article.  http://www.zparts.com/history/articles/kit_history/articles/3calGTOs2.html 

 

John Washington has some history and a 250 GTO Replica Registry here http://www.reactionresearch.com/gtorr/ReplicaHistory.html 

 

You will note that the mold ended up in the UK at OM Sportscars who had a web site and sold the kits but disappeared a while ago. 

 

The Alpha 1 GTO kit had a big problem with aligning the hood to the front panel as the thin area between the air scoops and the hood opening tended to warp.  The Alpha kit also used custom made (and very poorly designed) hood hinges.  When Tom McBurnie got the molds from Joe Alphabet he made a new front end set of molds that moved to hood back and adapted 80's Corvette hinges mounted on the radiator support to solve the problem.  As a side note John Washington solved the problem by making the nose a one piece tilt unit for his Velo Rossa GTO kit. 

 

So, an Alpha based kit uses the Datsun cowl panel in front of the windshield and has the hood moved forward so the strip of fiberglass between the hood and the front panel is only a couple of inches wide.  The McBurnie front end moves the hood way back and there is a small strip of fiberglass that ties the rear of the front fenders together and runs in front of the windshield replacing the factory cowl panel. 

 

The real GTO's were all hand made so every one them is different.  Most of them had a very oval shaped grille opening but one had a more squared opening which is what ended up on the Alpha kit.  The other change that McBurnie did when he made a new set of front end molds is he changed the grille opening to the more common oval shape. 

 

So, the car you just bought has the more squared off grille opening but the rest looks very much like the McBurnie kit.  I am not sure of all that went on in the UK with the kit back then but I think you may have a locally modified McBurnie version of the kit.  It is a real shame that the car was left outside so I hope you can restore it and bring it back to life!  Good luck and if I can help please let me know. 

 

Oh yeah, Peter - AKA Boy from OZ, is documenting his Puckett GTO build so you might ask to be on his distribution list.  http://forums.hybridz.org/user/1266-boy-from-oz/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you're quite chuffed about this....and rightly so!  I'm sure it will be quite a challenging, but rewarding, project for you.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

Curious what the original donor was.  You say "1978 260Z"...a typo perhaps, and it's a 280?

 

Please continue to post updates.  The lines of the old Ferraris are quite lovely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you're quite chuffed about this....and rightly so!  I'm sure it will be quite a challenging, but rewarding, project for you.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

Curious what the original donor was.  You say "1978 260Z"...a typo perhaps, and it's a 280?

 

Please continue to post updates.  The lines of the old Ferraris are quite lovely.

 

Not a typo, only the US got the 280Z (as far as I'm aware). In the rest of the world, the 260Z was sold until 1978.

 

Looks like a cool project!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah the LOG book and documents with the car say it is a 1978 260z.


 


Does that mean (from research i have done so far) that this late 260z will have different doors to the pre 1978 240 and 260 models? My doors are quite far gone and i am thinking of taking the GRP 250 skin off of the outside and bonding it to new doors. There is a company in the US which make reproduction doors made 100% of Fibre Glass. Seeing as i would be chopping out the outer skin and the inner skin, it would be a shame to find perfect original doors and cut most of it away?


 


Anyone know how good the 'datsunfibreglass.worldpress.com' doors are like fitment and quality wise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thx, Leon....I obviously need a better grasp of the obvious.  :-)

 

There was some discussion here recently about Datsun Z Fiberglass.  Extremely small market for these products, so be sure to find a vendor you're comfortable with before spending your money.

 

http://forums.hybridz.org/topic/120342-datsun-z-fiberglass-a-real-review/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After having a really good look around and through the car. It is in need of a good soda blasting or acid dipping which would really mean removing the GTO kit!!!!


 


This doesnt look like it will happen without a fight? Does anyone have experience removing the kit from the car? Mainly the front section up to the bulk head i want off and the sill covers but by that time it is almost worth getting the back off also?


 


It there a more proven place to cut?


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

soda blast or sand blast, don't acid dip. Z's have too many seams that fill up with acid and then weep out for eternity.

 

How bad is the rust? It's going to be difficult to remove the FRP panels. Unless the rust has got between the metal and FRP I wouldn't remove them if the metal is salvageable. Blasting isn't going to hurt the FRP.

Edited by Chris Duncan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pictures to come of the rust. The only bit that current really has my head spinning is i think the sills could do with replacing so amy have to take a very sharp cutting disk to the bottom of the kit. replace the sills and bond the bottom back on? time will tell what the best option is. Good feedback on the acid dipping though. We have found the same on the Austin Healey. Got one dipped and then painted in 'Old English White' then 4 months down the line the bottom of the doors started going slightly brown!!!


 


There is a company in Nottingham (England) called 'Pro Strip though and there system is much less aggressive. You can dip Alloy in it....... But me thinks the FRP wouldnt like it!


 


Before the depressing pictures of the rust lets have a nice picture.


 


Found out my old man has a bunch of original Boranni Wires. One set of original 250 GTO currently fitted to his 3.8 E-Type series 1 (centres have been changed to Jag splines but i am currently in the process of convincing him to put the Jag back to standard and giving me the wheels for this little GTO of mine?


 


If not i have come across more Boranni wheels. Not GTO but still would look great on the car. What do you guys think???


 


IMG_4747_zpsn4pxho20.jpg


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×