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Max_S

New guy from across the pond

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Hi everyone

After finding out how cheap old cars are in the US and how easy it is to import them I got to "advance" a Z from "some day" to "up next" in my planned-projects-list.
I'm planning a resto-mod (OEM-spec enthusiasts, take cover) to make it a lightweight reliable "weekend warrior".
Here in Germany Resto-Modding is relatively rare, most vintage cars (30+ years old) get pampered and kept in original condition.
Looking to learn about a car I know honestly little about and to learn about modification-options I came here, looking for contact to the community, support and ideas.
It'll be easily another year before I can actually go and import a Z (prices for domestic ones are kind of going crazy, and I don't need a showroom-ready restored one), but I'll use that time to refine my plan and learn about options/collect ideas, and to see what I can do that still lets me pass the TÜV-inspection (look it up, too complicated to explain) or a police-checkpoints.
So far the "corner stones" are:
-240/260Z (haven't quite decided yet)
-Fuel injected engine (not too heavy, it's a light car)
-Ideally 400hp (or more), but not set in stone for a few reasons
-Manual transmission, 5 speed
-4wheel disc brakes
-Coilover-suspension (not a "stance"/airride-fan)
-Power steering (controversial topic on such light cars, I know)
-AC (I need heat/window defrost for being road-legal)
-Cage
-Bucket seats (need to fold and slide)
-Bolt-on flares
-Ducktail spoiler

I'm considering LED-Lighting, but that's a...difficult topic with German laws.

Inspirations are track-toy cars like the Porsche 911 GT3/GT2 and such.
Not a full-on racecar, but also not too far from it.
I love the shape of the early Zs, and with just over a metric ton of curb weight they're a nice base to turn into a backroads-funcar.
I know a lot of you probably have "Autobahn" pop into their heads thinking about Germany, but this car won't be for that (I see Autobahn-driving as kind of boring to be honest), but is instead meant to be plenty fun on twisty backroads with plenty of power.


Max

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Hello Max and welcome to the forum, 70-78 Z's are great cars for modification, easy to work on and good availability of replacement parts, at least over here. The engine bay is comparatively large and you can put a lot of engine in there, also don't discount the 280z. Prices for a 280z are still low compared to 240s and in many ways they are superior to the early cars but there is about an extra 300lb penalty with the 280z.

Your corner stones are all popular mods and if the archives are working again there is lots of info in them to read.  Being on the other side of the Atlantic you have access to all kinds of wonderful engines that we don't here in NA.

The Achilles Heel of Z cars is rust so whomever you get to check out your NA car make sure you have them thoroughly check it for rust.

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12 hours ago, rturbo 930 said:

Welcome.

 

Have I seen you on R3vlimited?

Yes, I've been there because for quite a while I had an E30 touring scheduled as my next car, but I since "watered down" the plans for that and postponed the project in favor of the Z, because they're more readily available and the prices aren't climbing as steeply as the Z's ones.
 

11 hours ago, grannyknot said:

Hello Max and welcome to the forum, 70-78 Z's are great cars for modification, easy to work on and good availability of replacement parts, at least over here. The engine bay is comparatively large and you can put a lot of engine in there, also don't discount the 280z. Prices for a 280z are still low compared to 240s and in many ways they are superior to the early cars but there is about an extra 300lb penalty with the 280z.

Your corner stones are all popular mods and if the archives are working again there is lots of info in them to read.  Being on the other side of the Atlantic you have access to all kinds of wonderful engines that we don't here in NA.

The Achilles Heel of Z cars is rust so whomever you get to check out your NA car make sure you have them thoroughly check it for rust.

Yeah, but I really don't quite like the 280's look, especially the rear half.
As for engines, the bigger challenge will be finding something with decent power that I can make road-legal here without having to pay tens of thousands of Euros for certification.
I got my experience with fighting rust, I'm just about done with restoring a first-gen Mazda MX5/Miata, which had PLENTY of the brown death.

Max

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You should note that you can make a 280z look identical to a 240z. Rear bumpers are pretty easy to interchange, leaving the only difference being tail lights, and I've known people to weld in the 240z panel into the 280z so even a show car judge would have to REALLY look to see it's a 280z. The front is slightly more difficult since some bumper and grill mounting changed, but that said I run a 240z air dam on my 280z.

 

Here's a thread on the subject:

 

Also, how tall are you? It can be pretty tough to fit a sanctioning body approve cage and still fit in a s30 if you're a good bit over 6'. I've known plenty of 6'3" z owners, but not many in that realm have cages, and even few make it work to safety specs. Shouldn't be considered a blocker, just a challenge involved.

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Considering you're gonna modify it anyway, here's a 280z with some nice before and after pictures. With the 280, you get a larger radiator area, better stub axles, a bigger rear diff, and a cheaper starting price. A lot of people in the US go after the 240z so they can get around emissions laws because they were all made prior to 1975 and because it's the "original" Z car. If that isn't important to you, then I'd totally be looking at 280's.80-13308539_10153669946737532_6005422862954644382_o_zps15kcuvvm_2879b70f9c6451e84f5db722a72ae8ba2764cf3e.jpg

80-13323355_10153669946727532_3553024334552699713_o_zpsca6y01dr_544bbff9a77ead5e071a90edc97115044441ca27.jpg

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10 minutes ago, Neverdone said:

A lot of people in the US go after the 240z so they can get around emissions laws because they were all made prior to 1975

That only applies to California.

 

I'll also add, having seen a bare 240Z chassis and a bare 280Z chassis, there's a clear improvement in the 280Z chassis.

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It applies to Oregon as well. So I'm sure it probably applies to other states as well.

 

 

EDIT: When I say Oregon, I think it's only the Portland metro area and possibly Bend...but that's about half of the population here.

Edited by Neverdone

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1 minute ago, rturbo 930 said:

That only applies to California.

 

I'll also add, having seen a bare 240Z chassis and a bare 280Z chassis, there's a clear improvement in the 280Z chassis.

I might actually consider that option (I have to look into it further, especially the legality and cost here in Germany).
My current main problem is that I have to sketch out a full concept to present to the TÜV, because if I'm unlucky the project will rocket past 50k Euros in cost FAST.
See, as a standard, you're only allowed to throw 20% more power into a car than it came with from the factory.
Above that, in two levels (over 20 or over 40 percent) you need to complete a list of tests and certifications (with the completed car, mind you) to get a chance at being approved for road use.
It's down to the local TÜV-station that does the approval to "pick" hurdles from that list, if they take all possible hurdles I can't do the project.
So I have to work it all out, find reasons for every single modification (like, more safety from 4-wheel discs, "I like it" does not count) and present hoping that a full concept convinces the TÜV of going easy on me regarding the cost of it all.

Max

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Everything you described doing other than adding power can be thrown into the reason of "adding safety".

 

Coilovers make the car handle better which increases accident avoidance. Wider tires do the same. You "need" flares for wider tires. A rear spoiler and front air dam help the aero of the car to decrease lift on the front end and help plant the rear so it's not so tail happy around a corner to reduce the risk of a crash. Power steering is power steering, not sure why you would need a justification for that. a 5 speed lets you run an overdrive gear which increases fuel economy.

 

It sounds like you need a turbo engine so you can change the boost settings to "only" make 20% more power when you're getting a dyno check or something.

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1 minute ago, Neverdone said:

Everything you described doing other than adding power can be thrown into the reason of "adding safety".

If only it were so easy.
Just a brief "extract":
Coilovers usually lower the car, so they're mainly a visual mod.
I have to find one with documentation saying it's meant for and safe to use on the Z, leaving very few (rather expensive) brands because most foreign companies don't bother with the TÜV, due to how small the German market is.
Wider tires are okay, I just have to find matching wheels with the needed documentation (Konig Wheels, for example, are 100% illegal in Germany) to run those, and not all flares get the okay (it depends on the TÜV-engineers subjective opinion, AFTER seeing the mounted flares).
Front spoiler can't protrude from the car or pedestrian safety is compromised, more than a ducktail for a rear spoiler is hard to get approved because it's just expected to fall off unless you can provide paperwork from (destructive) material tests showing it wont.
Power steering...some engineers allow it always, others want to know where it came from (demanding that it's OEM or from a car road-legal in Germany).
Also, some engineers will tell you to have a professional mechanic in a workshop install it, not you yourself (even if you are a trained mechanic).
5-speed boxes actually usually get a pass, that's right.

 

8 minutes ago, Neverdone said:

It sounds like you need a turbo engine so you can change the boost settings to "only" make 20% more power when you're getting a dyno check or something.


Yeah, looks like it.
Install it, run it REALLY lean and with little boost for the Dyno (and driving-test, if that's demanded), and then dial it up afterwards.
Just have to find a solution that doesn't leave me with too big a lag (too bad that chances for something NA with power, like an LS, are next to zero).


Max

P.S.:
I assume all this shows why, for many German car-guys, the USA are really "the land of the free".

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Well if it makes you feel any better, for years it was literally impossible to register any imported car into California if the engine never came in a road legal car in the USA. This meant that any imported skyline had to be registered out of state or with special dealer plates which is just a funky workaround unavailable to most people.

 

And with the updated improt laws, there's still huge spans of years that are cost prohibitive to register in California. But thank God there's at least a sweet spot now and we can import a lot of the 90's Japanese cars.

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