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1977 Datsun 280z - Project 1000whp +

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So I've been debating pulling the trigger or not and have finally found my favorite year of the 280z's and i must say in decent condition with minimal rust and for $2,000 must say it was definitely a good find. 


On to the details..The frame has 53,909 original miles and came with vin matching Motor and Transmission (4spd) previous owner also threw in a 5spd transmission. The motor was rebuilt using flat top high compression pistons, all work done by previous owner.  Most of the rust found on the car was surface rust but no real rust except from the Radiator support in the front which seems to be a bit more severe. The interior is complete although the car has a missing front windshield so the interior has gone to shit but the good news the floor panels seem to be in great condition, found no holes on the underside of the car. 


Now onto the Project - My intentions are to do a 2JZGTE  VVTi swap with the Getrag v161 6 speed transmission and a ford 8.8 differential (still haven't decided on gearing). I know in order to surpass the 1000whp mark I'm going to need to increase head flow, pistons, rods, springs, valves (3 angle valve job), retainers, cams, single turbo exhaust manifold and lastly the turbo still debating but will AT LEAST be starting with a 72-85. 


As far as suspension goes definitely open to suggestions. 


....and some pictures



Edited by 420Coupe
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I like the power goal and the engine to do it.


Are you going to sandblast or dip the body at some point? To me, that looks like it would need quite a bit of rust repair. Considering your power goal, I wouldn't leave the body stock. Some careful reinforcements could really help safety and handling, two things that you want lots of when you're messing around with 1000hp.


I recently finished doing a 70's Porsche 911 body and it looked slightly more solid than yours. Then it went on a rotisserie and got blasted with copper slag and glass. I had about 110 hours of sheet metal work on that one after blasting. It needed about 20 patches and a door.

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Thanks for the insight!


That was actually the first plan was to strip the car down, build an engine rotisserie and sandblast it down. I actually had in mind using baking soda to get it down to bare metal see how bad the rust truly was then to get to work. Although I'll take advice to any material you'd recommend as you have prior experience with it.


As far as reinforcement of frame still want to see how bad in shape it is then I'll begin with reinforcement. First steps first though gotta strip her down naked and get er on a stand.

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  • 4 years later...

Oh man It's been a hot minute since I've actually circled back to this project so I'll provide a couple small updates. 


I bought all the steel to build the rotisserie but because I was in the middle of moving I never actually welded it together as I was in the process of purchasing a home and figured it be easier to move individual steel rather than an entire rotisserie. That said with the market the way it was I ended up with a great deal on New construction home and it finally gets delivered may 2021. I sold the original L28 and transmission for what I had paid for the entire project car. I had also purchased a very clean 2JZGTE VVTI back in 2018 where it sat in my air conditioned garage until just recently I decided to take advantage of this random spike in prices and sold it off for a nice chunk of profit. That being said I'm basically up $6k on the project with essentially a free rolling shell. With the whole covid nonsense I've had a lot more free time and decided to use this time to clean up the shell. After a great deal of researching and speaking with a lot of blasters first hand they all recommended I go dustless sandblasting as it will control temps much better on the metal and hopefully avoid any warping to any of the body. 


Now on to my questions: I'm still very heavily leaning towards my original 2JZ/V160/V161 build however with the current spike in import parts I can basically build one of the much higher end LSX for quite a bit cheaper and more parts are readily available / new parts. My question to those that have gone either way 2JZ or LS what are the specific pros and cons you guys discovered on your own personal builds (yes i know this will vary greatly by person's project goals and budget but i'd like to hear first hand experience on the S30 chassis). 


I'd like to remain <$50k on my complete build, ideally way under that but based on my previous calculations (when apparently prices were much much cheaper) I should be relatively close to that number and have a pretty much brand new chassis, frame, suspension, motor, trans, interior. MoTeC and miscellaneous parts. Some must haves for my build include a bullet proof rearend (or as close to bulletproof as i can get), high revving engine (10k+), a Manual Transmission (sequential may be an option but i'd prefer the good ol' fashioned manual) and lastly A/C as Florida is unbearable without it. The car will mainly be my weekend/track warrior (I'd like the ability to do both straight-line (dig/roll) racing and autoX - both with their own respective tunes accordingly)

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