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BMW V12 in a 240Z.. can it be done?


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Thanks guys for all your thoughts and advice. I was up all last night going over my build sheet for the 100th time and I’m going off of my chats with my bud with the Hellcat build in Canada for dimensions  and weights, + structural soundness and where he’s had success and failures. He’s a solid year ahead of me. 
 

Actually first off. Sorry for all the typos before. Didn’t have my reading glasses last night and was trying to type all this on my iPhone 6” screen. And wasn’t till I checked to see if any replies had come in, that I then saw all my typos. Seems you all got the gist of my message though. But if anyone needs clarification - just ask.


As to the guy asking about my work and finances the gent who pegged my user name pretty much nailed it. I own and operate 7 distilleries worldwide and just left London after 6 years there and Monaco / Prague where we have our European offices, plants and fill lines. Brexit killed our ability to trade with the EU plus I  had a family health 911 - so pulled the plug there and returned to the USA. We’ll see how long I’ll stay but  during the CV19 lockdown after doing my last restoration about 4 yrs ago I was bored outta my skull and tired of sitting on my hand s, so took this project on. I’m 57 and sold my European shares to my business partners there and have more than enough banked to retire and to build a few cars up to my spec.
 

As for asking the fab guys or shops. Ironically that’s the stage I’m currently at   before I pull the trigger on a motor. Hence me asking about V12’s here. I’ve narrowed my build/shop list to 4+1 that I’d trust to do a quality Japanese build and all of them have s 3-4 year waitlist and say don’t even bother contacting them to be added to their waitlist (in essence a waitlist for a waitlist) I then acted  on a whim and rang Foose’s outfit as he’s not doing much tv anymore and is just doing builds now... (and no I’m not looking to be on TV) but he’s more of an American muscle car guy. And after speaking with his office, His min •starting• rate is $250K. I was hoping to break even once done (the Ferrari motor is $50K. Car rust free was $14K. I’ve already shared my coil over suspension costs. The AMG widen kit IN METAL will be around $35K. And add in paint and labor plus glass as I’m going chromeless custom inserted glass. The Interior will be as new and high end as I can build. = $20K min I’m assuming) The list goes on and on for chassis, trans and rear end plus wheels & tyres etc. I think I’m pushing it at $150K. But should be close to that. A vintage 240Z restored to factory spec (Concorde finish) goes for $120K. And yes the Ferrari motor is totally for show and flash and to be different. I looked at other options last night and I could put a Japanese engine in for under $10K. So we’ll see? I’m just partial to European builds with my new cars.
 

Correction on my comment about the glass slots in the hood - I meant valve covers obviously - not headers. Duh. . As said it was 4am and my eyes were crossing by then and I bailed. 
 

I think if the Hellcar works and I go above and beyond that with my engine mounts and braces/frame I should be okay. The beauty of the 240z/260z is they are ass heavy and make brilliant roadsters. My fear is throwing in a heavy V12 will upset that balance so I’ve not ruled out dropping a simple 280Z turbo engine in there. That’ll drop my costs below $100K and makes for a much easier wiring job. Just have to add the O2 sensors and a few other bits. But the I kiss that “wow! Factor goodbye 👋 Can you just imagine popping a 260Z and having a V12 in there? Plus it’s turning >650BHP so I’m certain it’ll scoot once complete. We’ll see?

 

I am gonna check on the M120 and some BMW/Benz/Jag engines if they’re not ancient. Finding Chevy, Ford and Dodge parts and kits here is easy as pie. Finding oddball connections by splicing a “tomato and a peach” together is gonna be a huge challenge (but that’s half the fun!) which is why I’d rather just strip the car bare and use the Ferrari factory harnesses. Right down to the Ignition as that’s unique to the engine itself as well. TBD. (Just thinking out loud here).BTW- Did the OP ever do his build from 18 yrs ago? If so. Which motor did he go with? 

 

Oh-As for the guy that straightened me out on the bay sizes. I did say last night that I wasn’t sure but knew the 280ZX was bigger to make room for the turbo. I stopped following Datsun  builds after the 260z after seeing the ZX. That’s when California emissions and huge bumper laws came into effect and totally ruined the “Z car” roadster from 69-75 IMO. 
 

I think that’s about it? If I’ve missed something or said something incorrect lemme know as I need every bit of advice and education I can get here!


cheers.
 

BB . 
 

PS: the pic below is the AMG kit I’m having built for the 260z as they’re very similar in shape and body size. The only major difference is the ass end of the AMG drops straight down whereas the z’s go out and over the taillights obviously. I’m also putting a double diffuser on the rear after moving the fuel tank. A new AMG with that widening kit costs $150K. So the way I look at it is I’m just opting to build mine custom. 

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Edited by BoozeBaron
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Thanks guys for all your thoughts and advice. I was up all last night going over my build sheet for the 100th time and I’m going off of my chats with my bud with the Hellcat build in Canada for dimens

If you like European their a few of us here that have swapped in the BMW S54  ///M engine,  only slightly heavier than the stock engine, 343 HP in stock configuration and some guys have pushed them in

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If you like European their a few of us here that have swapped in the BMW S54  ///M engine,  only slightly heavier than the stock engine, 343 HP in stock configuration and some guys have pushed them into the high 400's.

I love mine, scares the crap out of me every time I floor it. The whole car weighs 2600 lbs with me in it.

 

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What you are looking at doing is way beyond what most of us actually do but the formula is quite simple. Start with weight distribution and aim for 50/50, distribution is more important with the power you envision than total weight. But in practical terms that will require the lightest possible engine shoved back as far as possible, consider fire wall mods. Don't forget Mercedes engines for a weight check, don't know about their V12's but the V6's use quite a bit of magnesium to keep weight down and the German transmissions are the best. Jap engines are the best practically but that usually involves more weight, know nothing about Ferrari's, cheers.

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Thanks again to you both. Did I miss what car you were building that you put the M S54 in? Tight fit but it worked!
 

The Japanese metal in the Z line is it’s biggest shortcoming. Made from Recycled tin cans IMO! - hence the widened kit being done all in metal. The kid is flying down to 3D scan it in FEB hopefully once COVID calms down some.  That said, I’ll try to be more brief (that didn’t happen lol) as I did research some M120 engines last night after reading the other posts and I can find those pretty easily with manual trans. But (no offense) I looked at a dozen or so builds online and whilst most turned out very nice and everyone was happy with their Engine HP and performance - it’s not the sexiest looking engine installed and is bulky and heavy. I could do the dual Toys in chrome/red as suggested  or keep hunting overseas for the twin turbo mid engine Ferrari motor I saw like a year ago when I first started hatching this crazy idea. I didn’t get the model number as I wasn’t really looking for a V12 back then. Just a twin turbo that looked sexy. It was a Ferrari and was very narrow. Had a shallow pan but the twin turbos stuck out a bit wide yet fit inside a rice burner bay without cutting the hood or strut/pillars. Probably an I6 or V8?? Dunno as I didn’t save the image.  Plus I can lower it some depending on how I build the subchassis.

 

I wanna clarify a couple of things. My father passed away in August unexpectedly from COVID-19.. totally caught all of us off guard. But my point is this, I’d just started getting the body parts I needed for this build and at that time was going with the L28/E and put a $70K budget on it by doing the widening kit in carbon like the AMG pic above.  My old man was awesome and also in great health. Hence all of us being in shock. But my point is this; I’ve earned my own way in life - but he retired 8 yrs ago from Bosch Auto in Germany as a VP and instilled in me the passion for cars and why some cars are better than others (I’d much rather be restoring a Testarossa to factory new- ya know?) So when I read that a couple ppl wrote “why are you in this forum?” and  “this isn’t what we do here usually”. I don’t wanna give y’all the wrong impression either that I do this every day! Granted this is my 6th restomod and outside of extensive custom welding (like creating this custom CORRECT unibody subframe) and interior / paint / custom glass. etc. yes I farm all that out to get the best finish possible and so I know the work is done right. But my dad and I stripped my first ‘74 260z  down to coffee cans and ziplock baggies and then spent 11 months restoring it back to factory new (bought it for $1200. Sold it 4 yrs later for $18K). The only thing I hired out was the paint, milling the warped heads and tuning the triple Weber carbs I put on to replace the factory ones that are rubbish. I got more compliments on that car that any other car I’ve ever owned since. (I had a New Charger R/T that I hated and for reasons I’ll never understand- that car turned just as many heads. But couldn’t wait to sell it and will never buy another Mopar car) - but that’s just me (okay. I’ll confess too that car scared me with the gas pedal. It Def wasn’t slow!). But back to the 260Z. Most ppl confused it (at night) for an old Jag XK-E (V12) which ironically is on my list to rebuild someday. But with my dads passing he left me his Scottsdale AZ  7,500 square ft home and just sold it for 7 figures. So whilst I still have my company’s and my own income. This sale freed me up to be able to start a new more extensive resto mod project car that has emotional ties of me and him. Plus it’s the best Datsun roadster they made from that era IMO.  I guess I just wanted to make it clear that whilst originally I wanted to import a 69 Fairlady 240Z and factory restore that. The cheapest I could find was ONE and it was a rust bucket plus the guy wants $385K for it not including shipping from Japan. It’s not numbers matching but one sold at auction totally restored to a high level I believe for either $1.9M or $2.1M? So even at $385K I’d prolly drop $100K restoring that to factory spec and the at auction hope to get over a million+ for it. But that’ll leave me nothing left as far as cash or the emotional tie to the car if I sell it - which is not what I want to do. Yes my toys go in the garage and that one would def be added to my TINY collection but I just wanted it to be a cool daily driver but also a unique show car too. And so far, only the Ferrari engine gets me “the look” I want. I have several photos I’d love to share here but seems I can only post 1 pic at a time?? so will maybe share the V12 I found that has a trans with it plus wiring and ECU. It’s a front/mid engine - so yes I’ll  prolly have to cut the firewall some but already found a rolled Bentley that is thrashed on the outside- but the interior dash and centre console is mint and think it’ll fit okay and replace the Datsun console (of course I have to leave the 3 hump gauges) but below that put in a full SATNAV/CarPlay etc  and relocate the AC switches to give me more room for the trans case and if I do have to cut the firewall back to make engine/trans room. But think as it stands it’ll fit now. These are not the junkyard pics just close copies I can get for $675 for the entire dash/Dials/Cluster and console. The center columns and console are all I want to take it up a level. Then  my stereo guy does awesome 3D door cards sculpting that once wrapped m red/black or Pearl/black leather with contrast stitching will look like a 2010 + year car. As Datsun factory door cards really let down the z-car interior. But with the right seats and console /cards etc all wrapped in leather. It should look ace. My point was though I’ve never tried a project this big before and without my dads kindness and contribution after passing, I’d prolly not be doing this so extensively. I put a hard cap of $150K on it knowing I’m risking losing $50K   But have seen several 240’s and 260z’s w/ high end restomods go for as much as $185K. But this isn’t about profit or loss this is in remembrance of better times with my old man. Otherwise I’d drop a L28E/TT rebuild in there and plug n play all the harnesses and just go. 
 

So lastly - my Q for the ///M swap guy. Since I don’t know what car you dropped that S engine into - can I ask what you did for the wiring harness? Did you splice it into the existing wiring or use the BMW wiring and did it need a different ECU? Also what did you use for trans and rear end? Thanks. 
 

So much for being brief. Sorry. I’ll try to keep things short and sweet in the future. I may post a few pics after this post just to show you what I’m thinking.
 

Cheers. BB 
 

PS: got 3 pics I think into 1 post. This is the colour I’m going with. Is gunmetal large fleck with a hint of copper/bronze by PPG -. Interior will play off that. This is the latest V12 Ferrari engine (2016 w/18K miles) that’s located upfront/mid and should fit nose to tail but can’t  get the width from the guy. It’s light too. I’d cut the Bentley console above the GPS screen and then tie it into the Datsun factory upper somehow? Wrap all in leather/carbon/brushed aluminum.  Gauges are impossible without doing a full custom dash. Which I may do. Paddle shifters will be a massive  challenge here. Yikes 😱 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by BoozeBaron
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If you do want to go with the Bentley center console, I'd get some measurements on it before committing. It looks quite a bit wider than the Datsun console, which is close to the seats the way it is.

 

Grannyknot's picture is of his 240Z. Here's the full build thread

 

 

Do you have a link to the auction results for the high dollar Zs you've mentioned? I hadn't heard of any restomods going that high, so it would be interesting to see what it takes in terms of finishes to sell a restomod for that much. 

 

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11 hours ago, BoozeBaron said:

So lastly - my Q for the ///M swap guy. Since I don’t know what car you dropped that S engine into - can I ask what you did for the wiring harness? Did you splice it into the existing wiring or use the BMW wiring and did it need a different ECU? Also what did you use for trans and rear end? Thanks. 

The S54 was put into a 240Z,  the front fenders are off in that pic I posted so maybe that's why you didn't recognize.

The stock Datsun harness was taken apart, cleaned and all the crap was removed(seat belt buzzers and such) then a number of extra lines where installed for electric fan, upgraded headlight wiring, stereo system. The Stock BMW ECU was sent down to Kassel performance, they deleted all the extra programming that gets in the way and installed a better tune.

S54 engine wiring harness was altered some what but is mostly stock, both harnesses are largely separate except for the additional fuse box that was installed to handle the new circuits.

 

The first bmw engine I put into the car, an S38, that used a Mega squirt II for the ECU.

 

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On 12/25/2020 at 3:49 PM, grannyknot said:

The S54 was put into a 240Z,  the front fenders are off in that pic I posted so maybe that's why you didn't recognize.

The stock Datsun harness was taken apart, cleaned and all the crap was removed(seat belt buzzers and such) then a number of extra lines where installed for electric fan, upgraded headlight wiring, stereo system. The Stock BMW ECU was sent down to Kassel performance, they deleted all the extra programming that gets in the way and installed a better tune.

S54 engine wiring harness was altered some what but is mostly stock, both harnesses are largely separate except for the additional fuse box that was installed to handle the new circuits.

 

The first bmw engine I put into the car, an S38, that used a Mega squirt II for the ECU.

 

DSCN1652.JPG

 

Beauty!! great colour choice. 

 

Hey sincerely appreciate the extra info! I’ve been researching my “dream” over the holidays more and basically you all were right in that there’s 1000 other V12 engines out there that’ll work better for a lot less money and with fewer headaches vs my “dream” FF style Ferrari engine idea that are out there for 1/20 of the price (not to mention trans and rear end that I don’t think you mentioned?) Sorry, I just scan. Read your response and wanted to say thanks before I got sidetracked with other replies/ideas ppl are throwing at me  - but definitely will break down your response in more detail as soon as I send this. 
 

The trans and ECU’(and costs) are what have me the most nervous. Everything else is sorted. I have a jewel box design now to clean up the engine bay and saw a Nissan V12 Limo engine crammed into a 240Z so we know it’s doable -(dunno about weight distribution and drivability etc. but it can fit)  However all that needs allot of performance work to turn it into a racing type street engine vs what it is now, slow with allot of torque to tug a massive limousine around (I grabbed all that off Wiki so my data could be off a bit plus I kept getting bumped to Toyota for some reason?) But the best part of your reply was you gave me a precious contact of someone who knows how to handle the ECU’s! So for that alone, I’m in your debt. Name your poison!! 👍🏻 

 

So - for now - I’m still figuring out what’s realistically the best solution here and what’ll potentially help in the restomod world as being viewed as a value add vs me just bastardizing a classic Z car? I truly want this to grow or hold its value and be well thought out. There’s only one true V12 that’s made in Japan and what’s great is it’s still in production today - but isn’t sold outside of Japan - yet there literally dozens of them of all flavors even on eBay motors for $2500. So to marry a Datsun/Nissan 2019  V12 motor to a. 50 year old Datsun? This alternative solution has caught my eye.  Unfortunately- it’s no where near as sexy as my Ferrari dream (imho) but I’m now thinking more about it. Plus taking your info into account - I will start shopping parts and wiring + ECU’s and if it’s cool? I’d like to call or visit your guy to see what they think is most viable/doable? Right now with a FF Ferrari V12 twin turbo I’m at already at $90K! Ouch. I have my interior sorted and will look like a Bugatti mated with a hot Japanese chick inside yet still know it’s a 260z  ;) ... but that’s the last step. 
 

Lastly is my sub frame as that is still my only unanswered Q I think? I watched 6 episodes of “Bitchin Rides” last night and the converted a Nova to a Unibody?! but didn’t explain why or the cons or reasons for doing so?? And the the aforementioned trans and rear end are gonna be a nightmare if I stick to an all Italian build - So - enter either your bmw / Merc V12 or maybe this unicorn V12 from Nissan? TBD 
 

anywsy. I’ll sign off here. The attached pics is the Japanese V12 shoved into a stock 240z. No firewall cutting and sounds like the wiring was mostly compatible.
 

Turbos are the issue and whether to go EFI or aspirated. I’m more of a purist in that aspect and leaning stock there. But want reliability too long and not hsving to tune carbs every other month, ya know?? The less ECU’s the better IMO but supposedly you can get 1000hp outta this $2500 Nissan motor once you Bore it out and work all the cam magic etc plus turbos - no supercharger tmk? 
 

Have an awesome new year and thanks again for all your help and feedback!! (All of you)
 

Cheers

 

BB 

 

I can’t clearly see the pix I’m uploading but here’s the $90k FF Ferrari engine (2016 I think) w/30k mi - ready to roll. Then the Nissan Limo engine in the 240z (I hope) and a few  pix I grabbed for some reason? More later. Thanks again!  

 

 

oops. It’s a Jag V12 in the 240z. As said, when selecting pix off my phone I couldn’t really see what was at.  So I’ll hunt for the other Limo pic  - and think now too that Someone did suggest the Nissan V12 saying it’s 2xV6’s merged together somehow?? Unsure as I’ve just started researching all that now

 

 

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Edited by BoozeBaron
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If you want a very special one of a kind Z there are thousands of those glorious sounding F1 V10 engines that were used in the 90's, 800-900 bhp 16,000-18,000 rpm.  There lumped in the corner warehouses gathering dust.  You can get a Honda F1 V10 for as little as $12,000,  the Ferrari V10's seem to be going for $80-90,000.

That would be my dream build.

For those who miss the beautiful music of a V10  try this,

 

Edited by grannyknot
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On 12/25/2020 at 10:24 AM, calZ said:

If you do want to go with the Bentley center console, I'd get some measurements on it before committing. It looks quite a bit wider than the Datsun console, which is close to the seats the way it is.

 

Grannyknot's picture is of his 240Z. Here's the full build thread

 

 

Do you have a link to the auction results for the high dollar Zs you've mentioned? I hadn't heard of any restomods going that high, so it would be interesting to see what it takes in terms of finishes to sell a restomod for that much. 

 

 

 

Howdy. 

 

Appreciate your extra thoughts, insights and suggestions. Sounds good 👍🏻 I’ll search for those links later (I explain more below) ...
 

In the “FWIW column” (off-topic) I’m currently going thru chemo for adrenal cancer, hence me being away at times for weeks and up at 3am etc (and “loopy” penning these crazy long missives! 🤪). Sorry! So hopefully that explains my absence and my lengthy posts at times. My short term memory isn’t what it once was. Siri and Alexa save my butt daily reminding me of things to do (which reminds me - response coming soon Tom. Tim?  Ah crap).it’s coming. Thnx. 

 

But I digress. 
 

I’m on a gazillion mailing lists and sites, but found that Haggerty’s list is where I search/buy the most from - as I have my 240z-260z parameters/searches set up tight there as most builds are typically the restomods or factory restored ones that are the best built and usually are asking and getting the the big bucks. But there are others too as you know. 
 

But If you’re thinking eBay Motors, that’s not where I’m fishing, nor was that what I’m talking about for high end sales. You have to use specialty sites. Everyone is low balling on eBay motors looking for a deal (me included for parts or bits and bobs, but not cars really) e.g. to find that 1969 Datsun 240Z Fairlady in need of a total frame off restoration- I originally got from a New Zealand auto importer (I have my NZ import license still too) but he knew I’m on the hunt (project #2) for a ‘69 Fairlady 240z first batch VIN/Chassis #’s - Series 1 - He got wind of it and sent the link to me - and once I had the info and location. That then led me to the exact website he was really advertising on in Japan and the true asking price (rust bucket) in yen ¥ which was $280K USD once converted I think? It’s been awhile now. But think that’s right. I’m sure it’s long since sold by now. But if not? If you wanna double your money - it’d cost you $500K to get back $1M plus at auction. I’m guessing you can just Google “highest 240z Fairlady sold at auction” and it’ll show the $1.2M sale price I mentioned before or it may be on one of the more “opulent” websites for estates etc. but most likely sold at Mecum or Barrett’s. But could be on an estate site (doubt that really. But I’ll look and see if I can find that again...) 
 

That said I’m in between something at the moment here right now - so time is short - and don’t have the name of this company who did this restoration at hand (VILNER.EU)  (pics below) in Europe- but the entire interior is leather. Even the headliner. And I THINK he was originally asking $120K USD. Or maybe it was in euros? for as just said, he’s overseas. It’s a 280Z. Unfortunately for him that’s a far less desirable car. But still did an excellent job. Sh!tty colour choices imo.  But point is, this is the level of craftsmanship you have to go and do these days to get the ultimate big bucks as even Haggerty’s has spotless 240z’s that look clean for only $25K-$110K ya know? My project is a dice roll no question- hence me trying to balance out what would •maybe• work best. A $2500 BMW or Benz V12? A $5K Toyota Limo v12 engine?? (Still in production! ) -But that’ll pull in maybe $70K tops (with an awesome interior) or I could go on with a $90K Ferrari engine where I have no clue where it came from, or how bad it was wrecked, and if it’ll even run or not?  Add in 24 ECU’s! 😂 I know I’m asking for a headache there. Wiring. Ugh 🤦‍♂️ And then add in what would may work for the trans and the rear end as most supercars are AWD these days 😂!!? Yeah. This is an expensive and massive risk and am starting to think-these funds would better serve me as a down payment for a decent flat in Monaco. Yeah. That may suit me better for this kinda money eh?? Then again,  I could always stick with a simple Datsun ZX turbo rebuilt. Or do the 350 LS/LT thing so many ppl have done and some really well. But to me those lack that wow factor. Plus that’s not the vision I have in my head. I know I can build a $250K V12 roadster for $150K that’ll melt minds :) (or it could be the RX talking:) 

 

Another side-bar; A true gent wrote me offline and says I look like I’m having “analysis paralysis” and I think now he’s right. Sooooo - I’m gonna step away from this project for a few weeks and talk to a custom block mfg he gave me. As that could be another bloody brilliant  solution he handed me. TBD. So-We’ll see?!? 

 

As for the junkyard interior - Good point   But since penning that, have located a local shop that does all (erm. Most) of the TV show/like Foose interiors - and now that I’ve seen I can do that interior   (Or any) interior I desire here somewhat locally. Well? - we can just use that photo/concept as a blueprint of sorts and take our design cues from there and just build our own with Italian leather in two tone and will look magnificent. Ultimately I’d love for it to look like a Bugatti inside! But still keep the “3 hump gauges” and layout the same up top to keep some Datsun elements alive. But think This will look great once done. Trust me. 
 

Sub frame solutions anyone?

 

Cheers again, and happy news years to all. 💥 👍🏻 
 

BB 

 

Found the one custom I referenced for $120K (originally) all leather frame off resto. Check this bad boy out. 280z and automatic. Fairlady- rebuilt by “Vilner” (I found it later and added it up top)  - As said, He has dropped the price to $93K (€75K) I think it was in the $110-120K range originally last year. But could be mistaken. It’s a 280z automatic:(  that’s what’s killing him and the value there) Right resto. Wrong model car. If it were a 240z stick? He’d get $120K easy! 
 

Full link: 

 https://www.vilner.eu/en/sale/145/1976-datsun-280z-by-vilner-garage-75-000

 

 

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Edited by BoozeBaron
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On 1/2/2021 at 4:25 PM, grannyknot said:

If you want a very special That would be my dream buildone of a kind Z there are thousands of those glorious sounding F1 V10 engines that were used in the 90's, 800-900 bhp 16,000-18,000 rpm.  There lumped in the corner warehouses gathering dust.  You can get a Honda F1 V10 for as little as $12,000,  the Ferrari V10's seem to be going for $80-90,000.

That would be my dream build.

For those who miss the beautiful music of a V10  try this,

 

Schumacher 2004?  Emola - Music to my ears. I’ve seen this video on YouTube a 100 times 👍🏻 thanks! 

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