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280z full on track car, help needed

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HybridZ team. I need your help sourcing many parts and picking your brains based on your experiences please.


I am converting my 75' 280z to a track car. Because I'm used to working on other model track cars, I don't know much about part sourcing for the 280. I'm sure the team here has the experience that will help me make the right decisions to create the most competitive car I can build. I'd like to share my plans, and then ask you guys to add anything you've done or let me know things you've done that I shouldn't do.  Please share your sources, links, clubs that can help. Below is a list of my plans. Thanks in advance


LS3/T56 conversion, headers, Need to know best kits to use. I was thinking of part of it coming from Apex Engineering. They have something new coming.

Bigger, better brakes all the way around, I have no clue where to turn. I need vented rotors little stronger spindles, at least 4 pot calipers, would prefer 6 pot fronts

Full aero package, splitter, diffuser, side skirts, wing

Fuel cell moved forward as far as is reasonable given the rear suspension location

Complete suspension redo. Convert the front and rear to double A Arm suspension by adding an upper a a rm. replace struts with coil overs. Has anyone done this

Stiffen/beef up chassis. Full CageI got this but would love to see what others have done

Mild wide body, tires and wheels,  ???????

Racing seats, belts, My wife likes to ride with me on the track how cool is that.

Data acquisition and video system

Fire suspression


Please feel free to make suggestions. I want this car to be all it can be. If it matters to the setup, I track mostly at VIR. Two long straights for speeds reaching 155-165 in a car set up like this. Several 115-135 mph corners.


Allow me to give you my backstory that has driven me to this 280z track car. I have been avidly tracking an 09 C6 Z06 corvette. the engine had 610 whp. It was very fast and I was very confident in it. never had any mishaps and was faster than most everyone. Only one full on caged Porsche turbo that I couldn't pass.

9 weeks ago I had open heart surgery. So I sold my Corvette so I'd have cash reserves. Really hurt to sell the car I had so much shop time and seat time in.

I health is coming along good, I have owned several early Z cars over the years so it seemed like the most likely choice to get back on the track for not too much money. Plus building the car is at least half the fun. I expect this build will take 1.5 years to build. Thanks for everyone's help

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There is a massive amount of information on this site and really helpful members too. However, I wouldn't expect someone to go source all the info for you. I know it is a bit cliche, but search and read, you will find tons of info. The stickys are a good place to start. 


You mentioned you want to be competitive. Honestly, an S30 is probably not the most cost effective platform to start with. With that list if desires above, you would probably be money ahead getting a C6 Z06. 


There have been some amazing S30 track beasts built by members here. Matt Isbell's build with MTI jumps to mind.  


Good luck, I hope you build a badass S30 and share your process with everyone. 


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I live in CA with no smog for cars 1975 and older. That is huge draw for me to have a car I can modify and still drive it on  the road. For me I would like a car like this


He has several videos and website that shows what he did for his build. Some of it may be useful for you.



If you are making a "track car" that is no longer street legal

you probably better off with fd3s rx7 ( already has double wishbone with good geometry ) will weigh about the same as 240z ( when both cars have ls1/6spd ).  Or just go  https://www.racingjunk.com/   

and pickup a used racecar or stockcar meant for road race track.


Good luck with your build what ever you choose.

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21 hours ago, hwyix said:





Cut/paste what ever body work you want. Probably a lot cheaper, faster and safer than trying to modify Z.






This. Seriously. That is probably the most time and cost effective way to go. I want it! 


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But that POS has a solid rear axle. Will never handle... ;)


Seriously, you're setting yourself up for a huge project. You would be a lot better off if you want track time to buy someone else's completed swap and then do the aero to it. If you are dead set on doing this all to your existing chassis, then we can certainly help, just a lot of $$$ and hours in it.

"Best" kit IMO is Hoke Performance. It fits with long tube headers too: http://hokeperformance.squarespace.com/store/
For widebody I'd suggest http://www.ztrix.com. Their YZ is probably the most popular, looks fantastic. I really like the 940Z kit also, kinda sorta looks like 944.
If you search "chassis stiffening" there are many threads on different peoples' cages. If you're going SLA front and rear that will mean that your cage will probably be a lot different than mine, for example, since I built the cage to attach to the strut towers.

Data acquisition on a new car is so easy, many plug and play OBD systems out there. On a Datsun, you're going to figure all of that out yourself, which will be a PITA.

There is a guy who took a Z06 and cut the torque tube and welded it together shorter, then modified the YZ kit to fit. It is amazing, handles like a Vette, has brakes and suspension like a Vette, etc. This might be the easy way if you don't mind mega fender flares. Do the bodywork, add a wing and a diffuser, and you're goals are pretty much met.


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Some very good advice here...


I am doing a similar project...building an LS3 powered track car from a 260Z.  For me, the build was at least half the point, so I wasn't going to buy someone else's finished project, although that definitely would make the most sense financially.  This is an expensive project, more than I expected it to be, and I am far from finished.  I am my own worst enemy as far as costs are concerned, because I do not like to half-ass things.


The road racing tube frame sounds like a good idea at first, and the entry price is right, but try to imagine what would be involved in making some sort of usable car out of that...starting with completely fabricating a body to fit it.  I personally would not know where to begin...


And if you want the fastest possible car for the money, there is no question that the best place to start is simply to buy a late model low mileage 'Vette.  They don't hold value extremely well, so really nice ones are available to good prices.  I have a sneaky suspicion that even with an LS engine and mods up the ass, I don't think my car in the end will lap as fast as a well driven late model Vette.  But's that's ok, like I said for me the build is half the fun.


Also be aware that any high end Z car build when finished will be worth far less than the builder put into it.  Just the nature of the game.

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There's been a lot of good replies to your question of how to build your car.  I wanted to share some hindsight from a number of projects I've been involved with over the years.  In the end you'll decide if any of this is useful or not.


1.  One of the toughest decisions you'll be faced with is do you want a street car that can tracked or a track car that's street legal.  Those may sound like the same thing but they are from from it.  The first involves adding performance using the Z chassis for the most part similar to the Green Hornet mentioned above.  The latter is much more like building a chassis and dropping the Z body onto it.  This gets you more to a car like the Fairlady Z06 mentioned above.  This also determines if you start with a solid chassis or you use one that's nothing more than the roof and doors.


2. Research, research, research.  I'm not trying to be funny but you need to have the entire build plan figured out before you start.  Then create a checklist and start crossing of items.  This research and list will help you build a budget for the car.  It may end up being a lot more expensive than you imagine (nothing wrong there) and you may never want an SO to see this spreadsheet.  But if you've done your research and stick to your plan you won't but parts two or three times to get the right item.  It will also keep you from having to figure certain things out along the way, which really adds up time wise.  And lastly it will keep you from having scope creep.  The latter can be a real killer of projects.


3.  Determine/buy the drivetrain parts last.  This is engine, transmission, wheels & tires, etc.  If your project takes more than a year to build it's often possible better items will come along or prices in scrap yards will get better.  The only time I'd say you can break this rule is if you have determined their is a specific drivetrain you're going to use and it's not going to get any cheaper and in fact may be harder to get later on down the road (L28ET for instance).  


4.  For the things you can't do find a good professional that can help you.  While it's often tempting to use a buddies buddy or someone doing this from their home I've seen a lot of projects get stalled this way.  This is generally around body and pain but could also be around having a roll cage built.  For any vendors you plan to use take a look around to make sure they have a good track record.


I wish you luck and good fortune on building your car.  In the end there's nothing better than something you built yourself, well at least to me. 





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