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Larby

Hello from Guernsey with a 240z kitcar project plan!

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Hi all,

I'm James, otherwise known as Larby. Long time lover of the S30 models, never yet owned one!
I live in Guernsey, Channel Islands. It's a little 5 mile by 7 mile island between the UK and France. Tiny place, no 240's!

I run a performance fabrication & tuning company here, with my background being in Land Speed Racing & Engineering. Most of the work we do at present is bespoke for local customers, but I have a plan I've been thinking about for a while now, which I'm aiming to have underway by the end of the year...

I'm looking to build a low volume production 240z kit car. Working with a UK based company who produce a fibreglass replica shell & all panels for the 240z, I intend to take this a step further and develop it into a semi spaceframe 'kit' of sorts, based on a newer Nissan.
The concept is to give people the ability to build a modernised 240z without needing an original car at all. Maybe you're planning a track car build, or some wild conversion etc. Saves having to start with a rusty original, when you can go straight to a FRP bodied version with full integral rollcage and far superior running gear.

In the first instance I'm looking to use a 350z as the donor vehicle, though this is still open to change. Cheap and easy to buy, decent 300hp N/A V6, good running gear & gearbox, seems like the ideal donor. 
I'd be looking to use as much as possible from the 350z, with tubular conversion subframes to interface between the 350z running gear, engine, gearbox etc and the 240z body.

I'll be using the search function a LOT over the next few weeks, to look into what's already been done and learnt. Should anyone have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know! Ideas for the project, potential issues or threads you think I should read, I'm all ears!

That's about it for now, I look forward to becoming a part of this community!

Cheers, Larby
 

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Welcome

 

Very interesting. Mark's build is probably along the same lines or the project ardvark build. The reason I think people restore the rusty frames are to have the all important VIN number which allows registration and insurance. Kit cars without a VIN of sorts can be difficult to get certified for insurance or road use. If it is a track only toy then the requirements are much less, granted I think some places still want VINs for insurance purposes even for race cars.

 

Would be interesting, 350z's are pretty affordable, and if you could find a way to use the sub frames and such and the stock suspension pickup points the list of benefits would be pretty neat. The problem then would be you are basically building a lighter 350z with a body kit. Mark has a very modified power plant and suspension setup, and the project aardvark has similarly extensive modification, but for drift usage. I'm not sure how the car would be running 350z geometry in a shorter wheel base with a different balance and different weight.

 

Will be interested in what you come up with!

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Hi Seattlejester!

 

Thanks for your response, really appreciate your input. 

What you say about the VIN is right, I need to look into that. I know how it's all done in the UK, but I'm not so up to speed in the US.

I figured there must be a relatively easy way, as there's so many kits available based around the Miata etc. 

Over here we have something called 'SVA - single vehicle approval' for kit cars etc.

 

I don't forsee any issues with the 350Z setup in a shorter body, other than the changes which would affect any setup by reducing wheelbase.

I still need to decide whether to use our adaption subframes to reduce the width down to stock 240 spec, or keep the 350 width so one could use wide arches without spacers or excessive offset.

Maybe both should be an option in the end.

 

I'll have a read of the mentioned threads, thanks for directing me to those!

 

Cheers, Larby

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Posted (edited)

Welcome aboard and that is an interesting concept you are considering. I wonder if the smaller and lighter Toyota 86 or older Scion frs/ Subaru brz would be a better candidate. Older models are relatively inexpensive.

Edited by Nelsonian
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I'm sure there is something similar here, there are plenty of kit cars as you mention so I'm sure there is a process of sorts. I think it varies from state to state which may be a bummer. I have heard some stories of it taking years, and others of breezing right through. I think some like factory five generate a vin that they use for the chassis they build that can be used for registrations.

 

Don't forget the weight change as well :). 

 

I realize you are talking out loud and not looking for answers per say, but interesting to think about. Part of the looks of older cars is running fairly deeply dished wheels. If the hubs were further out that would prevent deep dish wheels without going even further. Granted I'm sure there are benefits to having the hub more centered in the wheel especially in the front instead of running massive negative offsets. Kind of a question for aesthetics vs function. Granted non dished wheels look a bit off on classic Z's to me personally as do larger diameter wheels.

 

I think the subaru would be a bit of a different animal with the boxer engine. They really did achieve something special there with the low CG and mounting, it would be fairly difficult to mount in our surprisingly narrow body style. That does make an interesting point, a modular bay of sorts to accept different cradles or engine mounts was always some fuel for late night bench racing.

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Seattlejester I'm all for a bit of feedback and throwing around some ideas! Thanks! I didn't want to ask for it, as I don't want people to think I'm just here to take information.

 

I've got various plans for modular engine bays, different base cars etc, but figured I had to start somewhere.

I believe that something Nissan based would be the biggest seller, and the 350Z is just so readily available in the UK and US.

Over here the R33 Skyline would be a logical swap, but they're not so common in the states. They're also getting on a bit and have their own issues, not to mention less power even with a turbo compared to the 350Z!

 

It would be easy enough to make a setup with totally universal engine mounts, a flange kept as far out of the way as possible, so people can just adapt to whatever engine they like.

 

I'll have to look into how Factory 5 do it with generating their own VIN. I guess it's a case of registering as a car manufacturer. 

More homework for me to do. If it were easy though, everyone would be doing it!

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