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5.7L LT1 280z for sale

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Well time the time has come.  Life is happening and decisions must be made.


First off, I want to make this clear to everyone interested; I am not in a situation where I am being forced to sell the Z.  I still very much enjoy working on her and taking her out for a drive.  So why am I selling it?   The direction I want to go in life is going to have me away from the world of cars for a bit, and I do intend to return back to the addiction that is Z cars, but until then she needs a good partner.


Having been through a couple of Zs before, I wanted to take a different approach with this one.  Not a restoration, but more of a reliable mild tune car for just fun cruising and possibly a daily driver.  Plus, if I wanted to increase the power later I would have the ability to. I had heard about the V-8 swaps that were popular back in the day and so decided to go that route.  Ford vs Chevy? Based on the information I found and hours of research I settled on a small block Chevy. With the Jags that Run guide, decided on what is seems to be a strong, reliable engine, the 5.7L LT1.

This is a 1976 280z that has been modified based off the Jags that Run handbook, to now house a 1995 LT1 drivetrain. So what we’re talking about here is a 5.7 liter (a true 350 Z haha…) LT1 from a 1995 Corvette, a T56 Transmission and custom drive shaft to fit it all in her.  The differential is a R200 differential which would be sufficient for me wants and needs.  What this also meant was that incase anything required more work that I could do, or had time for, I would be able to take it to a Chevy dealership and they would be able to work on it from engine up to the differential.


Now time for the actual build and changes made to the Z!




Keeping in the front of the Z, headlights were upgraded to Dapper Lighting’s HID retrofit.  Decided this time around to go with their new (at the time) larger projector lights with the 5000k lighting.  Most of the driving I did was during the day anyways, but there’s probably 30 hours of run time on the bulbs. So basically new.


Suspension, went with new shocks and new springs, dropped the car about an inch.  Sits low enough that it looks nice but doesn’t affect suspension or other geometry on the car i.e. tires don’t bottom out.


Gauges were replaced with speedhut gauges.  The Speedo and Tach have been fit into the original housing sleeve to have a stock/modern look to it.  Current gauges that are in there consist of a speedometer/tachometer on the steering column.  Center stack consists of oil pressure, fuel gauge and temperature gauge.

Cut out a hole for mounting a speaker in the storage compartments behind the seats.  Just nice to have some tunes running in the background sometimes while driving.  Car has enough power to run an amp and be able to push better/louder speakers, but at the time this was not much of a concern of mine.

Moving on to the rear of the car, fuel door was removed/welded shut and blended in with the rest of the car to have a clean look.  Gas tank and rear spare tire area was cut out and a 16 gallon fuel cell was installed.


Tires I had on it during the build where some American Racing wheels.  Didn’t look good on her at all, but did the job while moving and building.  Those have been replaced with Konig Rewinds 16 x 7 in the silver/chrome color.  The tires I decided to go with were the BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2.  I bought these through Discount Tire since they had the best price for everything, had them install the matching tire stems and all 4 tires have their refund/replacement certificate warranty.  I would need to see if this is transferrable to a new owner.  I also purchased a locking lug kit for the tires.  Since the mounting of the wheels I have driven a little under a thousand miles on them…so brand new really.


Windshield developed a crack, so had it replaced with a new one.  Was able to get one with the small blue tint strip up at the top, which the previous one had turned brown after 40 years.  All doors and windows have new seals and strips.  Windshield doesn’t leak in the corners.

Wipers still work, speeds consisting of slow and less slow, not that they were ever used but still.  Front and rear bumper were removed, with the rear area being blended away, and the front still has the indents from it.  Front airdam was installed to complete the lines of the car.

Bushing were all replaced on the car.  Steering has no slack/dead spot, and car corners and drives on rails.  Very nice feel overall.  Breaks are stock setup, with discs in front and drums in back.  I don’t drive it hard to the point I needed the extra stopping power, plus with the cost of doing a conversion, I was going to leave that for after the interior was done to my liking.


I painted the car a blue hue, official name is Daytona Blue Pearl.  Car was sanded and smoothed to create as flat as a surface as possible.  Car was then primed and about 6 coats of paint and 4 coats of clear where laid down.  Is it a 100 point car? Nope.  Has its minor imperfections, but you would not notice them unless you were up close and specifically looking for them.  Door jambs where painted as well as the engine compartment and underneath the hood.  Only part that was not sprayed was underneath the inspection lids.  Wheel wells and area behind the grill were sprayed with rubber coating to blacken and cover the areas.

Grill was never added, was looking for a suitable style, but left it open for now.

Did notice that there is a crack/dent in the paint on the rear passenger quarter panel, nickel/penny size.  Doesn't bother me much, its not a garage queen, but its there.




Interior of the car was next on the list of things to do, but did start with a minor refresh.  Carpet and trunk carpet is new.  Radio/speakers, gauges and A/C unit are aftermarket.  New panels were bought and installed to replace cracked/worn ones.  What was remaining was the door panels and center console.  The center console is not in a bad condition, but the plastic is getting old and brittle, and if you’re going to make it look sleek, best to change it out.

Dashboard has a cap, so I am assuming it is cracked. 

Oil pressure gauge is not reading.  The gauge works, but the sender unit from the motor does not seem to be working.  Would need to be checked out and replaced.

Fuel gauge is not reading correctly.  Reads Empty when cell is full, reads Full as cell empties.  Though signal was backwards, tested wires to see, was not able to correct the issue.  Left it as is for now but problem might be in the sender unit.  I know I get about 200 miles to the tank, so I use that to gauge gas.

I accidently over calculated the amount of dynomat I thought I would need, so instead of letting it go to waste, in a bout of military genius, I went ahead and dynomatted the entire interior.  Definetly cut down on the noise and heat transfer.  At the cost of some extra weight sure, but it’s a 5.7 V8…not much of a concern there…




Engine was rebuilt, with the pistons being replaced with forged ones for reliability and incase I would decide to push the motor at a later point in time.  EFI and wiring system was all removed and replaced with a Holley 4 barrel (4160). Installed MSD distributor.

Transmission was also rebuilt, to make sure that engine and tranny would be as solid as possible.

Adapter bracket was fitted so that I could also run an A/C system in the Z.  Certain things I could forgo but A/C was not one of them.  A/C system also now has a modern electric heater, good for defrosting the front on those cool spring or fall days.  Alternator is also a slightly upgraded model than what JTR recommended.  Necessary? Probably not, but it was the same price as the recommended one.  Memory fails me, but want to say from a later year Camaro?

Electric fan is mounted on the radiator.  Never had any problems with her overheating, even when sitting in traffic with the A/C running in the summer.  This was in DC this summer, and last year in the summer.  Quite hot if anyone was around there then.

Dual exhaust was installed and the rear end was modified to create a clean look with the bottom edge tucking in under the car a bit.  Mufflers stick out about an inch, nothing crazy. They are straight pipes, so no cats.  Means the growl is louder and the smell is stronger.  Can’t tell with the windows closed and the A/C running, but like a true Z, open the windows and you’ll have a nice smell flow back in.



So that’s what has been done to the car, as best as I can remember.  The car has not been tracked or drag raced. .  Again, the Z was worked on to make it as reliable of a driver as possible.  I enjoy working on cars, but I enjoy driving them more.  Decided to put it all to test by driving it from Virginia to Illinois and back.  Zero issues there and back, and the drive and ride itself was an absolute blast.  This was done on the old tires and rims.  I helped a friend move from Virginia to Ohio, where I hauled the Z to.  From there, with the Konigs and Sport Comps, I drove it from Ohio to Illinois.  That was the most mileage put on those tires, the rest has simply been local driving around town.


What will be included with the sale, will be everything Z related that I own and have acquired over the years.  I could probably sell the extra parts separately but time and convenience is the biggest factor for me right now.



Reference List

  • Rebuilt 5.7L LT1 with forged pistons
  • Holley carb installed in place of EFI
  • Rebuilt T56 Transmission
  • Custom driveshaft
  • A/C and heater fitment
  • New/Fresh paint with clear, Daytona Blue Pearl
  • New bushings
  • Dual exhaust, straight pipe (no cat)
  • New shocks and coils, lowered 1 inch
  • HID headlight upgrade
  • Shaved gas door
  • Shaved and blended rear end
  • 16 gallon fuel cell
  • New door seals
  • Speedhut gauges
  • Konig Rewinds 16 x 7, silver with matching stems
  • Locking lugnuts
  • GForce Sport Comps 2 (less than 1000 miles on them)
  • MSD dizzy


Included with sale:

  • 1 quart paint for touchup or recoatings
  • Fiberglass hood
  • Fiberglass hatch, with glass installed
  • Set of 4 American Racing rims and tires with lugs.  Tires need to be replaced.
  • Various set of original gauges and gauge housings.
  • Left and right door windows
  • Left and right quarter windows
  • Right passenger seat in white vinyl, pretty good condition, from a ‘77
  • Taillight trim and panels from ’77 Z, good condition.
  • There is more in a couple of boxes that is in storage in Ohio which I will be picking up here soon, but some of the stuff that I remember off the top of my head:

Holly rebuild kit and various carb parts, manuals and paperwork for A/C unit, various component boxes and paperwork, speaker parts, glove box liner and door, various weather stripping and seals, bushing kits

I will be updating this thread with the stuff that is in the boxes as soon as I can get my eyes on them again.  Updated pictures will be included as well, weather hasn’t been cooperating much here to allow a cleaning and pictures.  In the mean time, I have uploaded pictures of the car when it was done being painted (note the stylish American Racing rims....haha) and the various parts in the car


All of the hard work has been done, with only minor bits and pieces that need to be completed.  I have contact information for a guy on the forum that makes fiberglass door panels, I can put you in contact with him if interested. 

Since the engine build up until now, there are almost 3000 miles done on it.  I have done synthetic oil in all my cars, this was is no different.  Initial oil change was done at 500 miles for any metal burns that might be in there, and I just changed the oil again, with 5W-20 synthetic.  Oil filter is Royal Purple.

Serious inquiries only please!  No tire kickers, no joy rides.

Any questions feel free to PM me. You can post it on here, but I may not respond to it right away.


1976 Datsun 280z with 5.7L LT1 v8 from a 1995 Corvette

Approximate miles on build: 3,000 miles



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Edited by Marine1342

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