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Nelsonian 240z

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I have been planning for years now to create a build thread for this project but only getting around to it now. Ok, where to begin. In 2004, I purchased a local 1973 240z in very much original state right down to the stock steel rims with hubcaps. I always new that performance modifications were the main goals for this car. I had just started a new job at this time and my salary was certainly going to limit my plans for out right performance. I started off with the most basic and effective changes, (replace points dist with electric dizzy, round top carbs for the flat tops). I began my regular routine of junk yard reconnaissance missions always on the hunt for automotive treasures. Shortly after a few trips to the jy, I picked up a decent set of 280zx six spoke rims to give a little upgrade in the visual department. As weeks and months sped along, I continuously read and based decisions off of current threads here and formed a long term plan for a turbo transplant.
Funding was (is) still a challenge for this project, but I came to grips with taking my time and doing it very thorough and complete from the start. I scored a completely rebuilt l28et in Oceanside,CA, that only had 3500 break in miles on it and a relevant warranty still in tact. A little time and haggling had me going home with the engine, stock ecu/wiring, and a new megasquirt version 2.2 for a good price. I barely drove the car with it's stock l24 for only a few hundred miles then made the decision to attend to some of the visible rust concerns in advance of adding more power and torque. Having had this car off the street and at a friends house for some time, I slowly started filling my "parts wanted list" from many members here. The parts collection started to grow, and as more time went by I found my self with the next level upgrades and even doubles and tripples of some parts,(transmissions, air dams, spoilers,etc).
Somewhere around 08' I ended up breaking my left index toe while surfing very fun waves down in baja, (hence the Purple Toe Project name). This resulted in a one month sick leave from work as I was unable to adhere to the city policy of steel toe boots at all times. Here is where the "while I'm at it" mantra took affect and snow balled into the current goal of every thing changed for the better. I began disassembling the car and bagging/labeling all hardware to make it easier when reassembly finally became a reality. I planned all along to remove all the old undercoating and bring the car down to bare metal to see and fix any needed rust issues and fortify by chasis strengthening.
Fast forward to June 2010. I receive the info that I have 18 days to remove my car from the property it was on as the house was up for sale. At this point I had a completely stripped car sitting on the rotisserie still in need of the undercoating removal. I shifted into high gear, took a few monday/fridays off and ground off all the bottom. My arsenal consisted of Snap On Crud thug, harbor freight needle scaler/ pnumatic scraper. I tried the Mister Muscle oven cleaner route but it soon became a concern for contaminating the ground, as well as burning skin after grinding off with the crud thug. My friend allowed me to work on his property, but did not want caustic materials close to his dog. I got everything stripped on the underside, and started to focus on the engine bay removing the flexable wiring tabs to clean it up.
I scooped up a truck camper cart or dolly off of craigslist and strapped down the freshly stripped body to it. In July I had a towing truck take the car on dolly to Time Machine Racecraft in Oceanside, CA. where ther current in depth rusteration has been taking place. My goals at Time Machine were to:
{Have a new oem rear patch panel applied, pass Tabco dog leg replaced, battery tray area fixed, tc arm gusset added, new Zedd floors, Baddog frame & sub rails, AZC camber plates, 4 point chromolly roll bar, new seat mount brackets, fill antenna/badge holes}.
Along the way we have had to address unexpected rust issues from the previous owner doing a horrible job fixing a passengers side rear end wreck. Discovered under a nice paint job, was a section of metal covered in 1/8" of unpropperly mixed bondo, just waiting to absorb and hold moisture. The repair job was by far the most amateur work I have seen to date. Tho Chung, Owner of Time Machine Racecraft, took a good piece of patch siding that I provided and filled in that puzzle piece. I cant say enough good things about Tho's attention to detail and welding skills, truely an artist with a welder. So here is where I am currently with my build, with plans to have the paint blasted and then the whole car epoxy coated. The car will then sit for a few monthes until I can get teh funds to have a bodyman apply the subtlez kit and paint the car. I look forward to the day I can reassemble and finally drive this car again.






Edited by Nelsonian

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Future plans/parts for the car consist of:

Wilwood 4 piston brakes, sectioned struts Ground Control coilovers (225/250lb), Driveshaft Shop custom 280zxt cv axles, Modern Motorsports billet 280z stubs/comp flanges, r200 lsd, AZC rear billet mustache bar & uprights,ebay special front/rear shock tower bars, AZC camber plates, Zrace products rear adj control arms, AZcarbum's front adj control arms tc rods, MSA fr/rr sway bars, in tank ATL black box gas tank conversion, Classic Tube stainless hard brake lines, 240sx 5spd trans, Fidanza light flywheel, Rota RBR 17x9" front & rear (hopefully), Mitsubishi EVo 9 Recaro seats, Momo steering wheel & shift knob, rebuilt stock dash with Autometer analog gauges, Hybridz member made door panels with 6" speaker provisions, Spal electric windows, All interior plastic covered with Alcantera or micro suede, Italian perforated black leather shift boot and brake boot.

Engine consists of rebuilt l28et (3500 miles fresh),ZRace products harmonic dampener kit, Jim Wolf Tech cam & springs, Nismo adj cam gear,HKS 1mm metal head gasket, Ported/shaved n42 intake mani, 240sx tb, (240Hoke) custom front intercooler piping Treadstone intercooler, Tial bov, Tial 38mm wastegate, Ported stock exhaust mani, (240Hoke) custom 3" downpipe with piping to the wastegate wrapped in DEI heat wrap, 3" pipe to Apexi exhaust, Palnet fuel rail, RC 550 fuel injectors, freshly rebuilt Turbonetics T3/To4b, 60-1 comp, .82 A/R, stage 5 turbine, ACT clutch, AZC stainless radiator, Spal 16" curved vain elec fan......... Ecu still researching, but heavily considering Haltech, Wolf v5......

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A few pictures to add as to the current state of my build. The seat mounts for the Recaro's are finished, and the 4 point roll bar is tacked in place and ready to be tigged. Tho started working on the rear wheel well enlarging, in preperation for Rota rbr's. More to come each week...

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A big thanks goes out to Hybridz members of many of the quality project builds I have had the pleasure of watching come to fruition here. I wish I could take credit for the fabrication end but all of that has been at the hands of Tho Chung, owner of Time Machine Racecraft in Oceanside, CA. So far I have only stripped the car of parts and undercoating/interior. I am trying to do what I can for personal enjoyment/enrichment/education if you will, but don't currently have the space or skills to cleanly pull off what I knew Tho could achieve.


(310z), In similar fashion to your project (much respect to your build), I am trying to keep the car balanced on all levels: performance, aesthetics, interior, audio, etc... Just trying to build what I have envisioned in my head. More to come in another week.

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Here are some pics from the last time I had done some work to the intake. I had a friend cut,port and weld back a cap on the intake, while I smoothed out the exterior side as best I could. Still in need of work to get it to a smooth polishable state. I have put this on back burner for awhile and am preparing to spend some free time rebuilding my dash as I have seen others here have done using SEM products.

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Newest progress on the build. The wheel wells are now enlarged and Tho has shifted attention to the rust issues under the battery tray/firewall/top of frame rail. I am now researching sealed battery options(Optima,XS Power,Oddyssey, Stinger, etc...), and will either make a new tray or try to salvage the old pitted one. As has become usual in my weekly meeting/discussion with Tho, we found even more rust and a continuation of the horrible amature repair work done to the passenger rocker panel. To date the rocker showed the thickest area of bondo at 1/8' thick,(fu#@in previous owner). Waiting on a new Tabco rocker panel to arrive this coming week. This car project has definately been a learning lesson in many ways on what to prepare for when considering an old car purchase, (shiny paint can sometimes hide lots of secrets).


After the battery tray area and rocker is taken care of, the focus will switch to making custom rear shock tower brackets for strut tower bar, then finish tigging the roll bar.

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This is my battery tray area. The tray was painted separate and then tray was riv-nutted in place at the end of the build. The photos are at post #43 on my Build post(The build of a 240Z by 310z). This may give you some ideas.





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Thanks for the links and I'm on the same page with you as far as the riv nutsert program. This was exactly my suggestion to Tho on how to approach the tray. I needed to get the old tray out to do repair as well as have everything blasted then epoxy coated. I have been researching sealed battery options and considered installing a small Oddyssey in the tool bin with added metal framimg. I decided against using a small battery however, due to having a decent stereo with reasonable power needs ( Alpine deck,Alpine pdx 4 channel amp,Infiniti perfect 6.1 components, kappa 6x9"s,Infiniti 10" basslink 2 to round it all out).


I will have to start a new thread in search of personal experiences with different brand sealed batteries. I have heard, searched, read many different opinions on say optima's, but most of the threads here are a few years old, and many other company's have stepped up( stinger, xs power, oddyssey to name a few. All of this is relavent to what will fit in the provided engine bay space.

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Enjoying the progress! Sometime I would enjoy checking her out in person.


I'm finally getting around to putting together the axles you gave me. V8 build is finally getting off the ground after being stalled for a year. I ended up selling the shell you saw in favor of a cleaner chassis.

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"I ended up selling the shell you saw in favor of a cleaner chassis."


This is exactly what I should have done in the first place. If only I had the facility to do this, I would have saved a fortune, instead of re repairing shotty patch work on the bondo bucket. She is coming along now though, so I suppose I will just keep looking foreward. A big lesson for me learned in better selection, maybe the next build :)

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Had to drop in and check out your build thread after the obvious complimentary design cue tastes we share.


Some great work happening there, and no matter what side of this planet we are on it seems we all deal with the same build issues be they restoring a ride or the logistics of doing so.


Will definately keep my eye on your progress.





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It's almost been a year now with barely any new movement on the build up until two weeks ago. I have been in savings mode for the next level or phase of my rebuild for a long time now. I brought my car back to Time Machine Racecraft and had Tho fab up some mounts for the front strut tower bar that would be stout enough and fit around the camber plate section. He had to wing it and guestamate clearance from provided pics of others installs, due to the lack of engine mounted. I now need to dismantle the doors and pull the window and trim from the rear hatch in preperation to have the car media blasted, which hopefully will begin within two weeks. I have been gathering most of the needed supplies (eastwood's undercoating/gun,seam sealer,) and still need to get 3m panel adhesive for the rear panels as well as the paint and compatible acces. I am almost certain I will use a two stage using either PPG, or Dupont paint. Still up in the air if I will attempt my first paint job or bow out and have a professional do it depending on cost. After a rediculously tough decision which bounced between 6 different colors, I am almost positive I will paint the car with Nissan 350z chrome silver. Such a hard decision to make after seeing so many nice examples on here. Here are a few pics of the progress as well as a few of Tho's Mazda rx4 and Silvia that he had in the shop.

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It's been a long time coming as I have been saving to have the car blasted/stripped down to bare metal and primed. I went over to my friend's house (Bob Rector) to snag a few pics of the just finished shell. It looks like a little bit of work will be needed to smooth out the hood and rear hatch and fill in some holes. The rear hatch has a small area of rot that needs to be replaced or possibly just find another hatch altogether if cost rises too much. I suppose I must give a sideways compliment to whomever worked on the car prior to me owning it as, although there were ample amounts of bondo in places, the time and over all shaping that went into the hood and hatch was amazing. Someone really spent some time getting the curves correct. I just had to bring this down to bare metal to, (in my mind) do it the right way. Next step, I will be applying the newly purchased Lizard Skin ceramic insulator and sound deadoner, then the body guy (Stuart Rule) will begin doing his thing. Still debating if this will finally be the first time sparaying a car for me, or having it professionally done, only time will tell. Finally moving along again after a long dryspell of inactivity.

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Some more progress this weekend as I met with the bodyman Stuart Rule. We assembled the doors and hatch, then cut and ground the under side of the subtle z fenders to get a starting point before adhering them. We got the rears situated and just have the fronts sitting loosly and not positioned for now. I have even more appreciation for bodymen/painters after getting a chance to get in there and help and more importantly learn as this build progresses. I foolishly wore a t shirt and have paid for it by itching myself for half of the weekend, lesson learned for next week. This project has been and continues to teach me proper orders of doing things and how costly it can become when not done right. We removed the gas filler pocket from it's original place to move it out and bond it to the rear subtlez fender about 1/2" out. This seemed easier than welding in new walls around it to make up the difference. Since the car was involved in a rather hard shunt, and the right rear quarter panel was put on slightly off it's mark, it has made it a challenge to set the proper panel gaps. The drivers side peak where the a-frame meets the roof leaves little room for the corner of the door stainless trim, with very tight spacing. I'm looking forward to next saturdays progress.

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I met with Stuart the body guy yesterday to see what progress had taken place. It was determined that we would need to recut the rear wheel wells to raise and flatten the inner liner to allow a maximum, unimpeded clearance for the wheel to travel. While I was there at Bob Rector's property , he was working on his Bonneville salt flats racer, so I snagged a few pics. All I know about it is, that it has a merlin block, is 2" shy of 600, makes 900 hp on 116 gas, and has so far been 191 mph with Bob piloting it, all at the ripe old age of 79 and still sharp as a tack.

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Finally a little more progress on getting the rear subtle z 1/4 panels to fit the body. The body guy Stuart as well as myself only get a chance to come out to the car on most Saturdays to make a little bit of forward motion. He welded a new lip/support for the fiberglass 1/4 panel to rest against in an attempt to eliminate any flapping or movement the panel might make while at speed. He slightly pushed out the lower part where it connects to the dogleg upon my request. We will have to split down the waistline to fix the "bowing" effect it puts on the rest of the panel. He welded in a new extended wheel housing metal piece to fill in the gap as well. The whole underside will be undercoated when the time comes for it. The last thing he got around to, was removing the factory lead in the upper c pillars to eliminate a flex/stress area. When it is all done with welding, it will get blasted again by Bob and primed again to cover the metal.



Upon catching up with Bob Rector the blaster, owner of the property and gracious host,as he was working on his race car he informed me that he managed to get three warm up runs at Bonneville before something let go in his tranny. He ran a 155 warm up, 190mph and lastly 194mph with looots left to go when his tranny let go. He is working on the car now in preparation for El Mirage.

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Some minor progress this weekend. We painted the rear body panel on the inside of the subtlez panel for complete coverage. We ground the area for applying the 3m adhesive and finally bonded the rear quarters on. We just barely got by with two tubes of the 3m adhesive and then started on adjusting the front passenger side. Lots of cutting/grinding will be needed to get the panel gaps acceptable. The last pictures show the hood and drivers side just resting and not bolted on. She is finally somewhat taking shape. Bob the property owner rolled up in his coupe with a 406, while I was there working today, so I snagged a few shots.

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So it's been a while and time for a little update. A few months back I had my car moved from Bob's house to Stuart the body man's to receive more attention and keep it garaged. Upon my decisions as far as design and style were concerned (smoothed and blended in wherever possible), Stuart began to mold in the rear three piece imsa spoiler and re curve the joining arc to the existing side body line. He split seams down the sides and vertically up the rear to pull out the subtle z panels to split some of the difference in blending into the extra thickness of the spoiler. Expanding foam was used to fill in and support the newly made gaps. Fiber glassing the mat into shape then applying a kevlar mix of bondo, then a lot of sanding ensued. The rear spoiler had a funky split that actually did not line up well with the seam running down from the hatch and body. It was cut on an angle and was wider at the bottom and pinched at the top. A lot of attention has been spent on getting proper gaps on this build.


I  have eliminated the hatch lock as well as had the door handles filled in and eliminated, (just could not get the white Common Snapper car out of my head). I revisited the idea of venting the inner front fenders near the firewall and picked up a set of 03' Hyundai Tiburon side vents to have molded/beveled into the fenders. To me it makes a big difference by beveling an add on item (as if it was intended by the factory), rather than just plucking it on the outer side of the body. We have yet to cut the dimple die holes into the fenders and apply the vents as of yet. In order to eliminate a busy feeling of the vents and bmw side lights, I had Stuart move the lights forward and up onto the body line more. To me visually this felt less crowded or busy, and still carries out it's intended function and job.

I picked up a cheap, cracked 240sx dash to use as the test fitter, then will make the proper cuts to my mint one. Hope to have it covered in alcantara, or leather, have not decided as of yet. I found out from a local Porsche dealer that the 996/boxster gauges look analog, but are controlled via sensors in the hubs that feed to the computer to dictate speed. Pity because I absolutely love that cascading gauge layout, and think it would have fit amongst the 240sx binnacle.  I will most likely go the Auto meter route now instead. That's about it for now as we continue on with sanding the rear spoiler, and will start on the fender venting shortly. Here are some relevant pictures.  











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