- Post is under moderationRuss Smith’s market headliners ‘They’re the things you might expect on a car bought from auction in Japan and being sold on in the USA as a quick lip’ #Nissan-Fairlady-240ZG / #Nissan-240ZG / #Nissan-240Z / #Datsun-240Z / #Datsun / #Nissan / #Nissan-homologation / #Datsun-240ZG / #Datsun-240
Nissan’s homologation hero… Japan-only #Fairlady 240ZG to be offered by RM in Monterey
Something of a mystical beast because they were only officially sold in Japan (though we believe three now live in the UK), the Nissan-Fairlady-240ZG was created to homologate aerodynamic parts for GT and Group 4 racing. They are rarely seen on the world market so we asked Datsun Z-car expert Alan Thomas for his take on the no reserve offering from RM Sotheby’s at Monterey on August 24, during the Pebble Beach week.
‘Nissan initially built 500 240ZGs to satisfy the homologation, but they sold so well that more than 1000 were eventually made. Good, genuine and original HS30-H model 240ZGs command a premium in Japan and they are currently changing hands privately for well over £60k [I know of a lovely example that sold for over £71,000 last year] but they must be genuine. The main proof for this is in the documentation for the car – the original Japanese papers state the extra length and width, as well as the different internal factory coding – but good provenance is also important because there are occasional fakes. The body style itself is easily replicated, and there are many tribute cars on Japanese roads.
‘Furthermore, it’s important to note that Japanese market models never had the word ‘Datsun’ anywhere on them when they left the factory. They were, proudly, Nissan product through and through. There’s no such thing as a ‘ #Datsun-240ZG ’ – despite Tamiya’s 1⁄12th scale model of that name.
‘This particular example does not appear to be top level, with the bonnet extension panel suffering from sagging – the sun and heat in Japan will do this – and misalignment. That’s fairly easily fixed, so I don’t know why it hasn’t been done. Or rather I probably do. They’re the things you might expect on a car bought from auction in Japan and being sold on in the USA as a quick lip after a bit of hype. From what I see in the photos it’s also not very original – non-original but period-style wheels and rear strut brace among other things. I’d say that it would be a £35k-ish car in Japan.’
In the glossy press photos this appears to be a tempting opportunity to acquire one of the most sought-after #Z-cars – but there are a few factors that raise one expert’s eyebrows.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEND OF TERM Nissan GT-R The latest GT-R is more useable than ever, claims Nissan. So did that claim turn out to be true? And does it make for a better car overall?
CAR: #Nissan-GT-R / #Nissan / #2017 / #2017-Nissan-GT-R
In the end I spent 99 days with the #2017-model-year Nissan GT-R. And in the end I loved it to bits. That verdict was far from a foregone conclusion, however. The whole reason for running this latest GT-R – albeit for a less-than-ideal three months only – was to see if Nissan had softened the car sufficiently to make it liveable with seven days a week. That was always going to be the key question that needed answering. And the simple fact is, it has.
If there’s so much as a single millilitre of petrol in your veins then you could easily put up with the GT-R’s firm but no longer ridiculous ride quality. Same goes for its much improved transmission, its much reduced tyre noise, its more soothing engine refinement and its slightly less manic steering. In all these areas Nissan has, without question, improved the GT-R and made it more useable as an everyday car in the process.
But there was a second key question, namely: if Nissan really had polished away the GT-R’s rough edges to a point where you can live with this car daily, then how might that affect its core ability to make your heart explode when the right road appears in the windscreen? Because this is ultimately what the Nissan GT-R has always been all about. No other car, with the exception of a few of the most hardcore Porsches and the Ferrari F40, has ever been able to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention like a GT-R does when you give it the beans over a deserted mountain road. So if this aspect of it went missing, I’m not sure the thing would deserve to wear its badge any longer.
But I’m glad to say that the madness is still very much intact. You need to press a few buttons to unleash it, true, but on the right road and ideally when there’s no one else around to witness it, the nutcase that has always been at the centre of the Nissan GT-R is still very much in situ. If anything, in fact, it is more unhinged than ever before because the suspension is that little bit softer nowadays, I that little bit more in tune with the average UK B-road, which means you don’t get airborne quite so often as you once did, which basically means you can generate, and carry, even more speed. Everywhere.
It’s not perfect, though. During my time with #OY66-UOP I became increasingly irritated by a piece of plastic trim near the steering wheel that would fizz randomly to a point where it began to bore a hole into the middle of my brain on some journeys. The car’s packaging is also ridiculous in terms of the amount of road space it occupies relative to the amount of interior space it fails to offer. And the combination of its silly fuel consumption (22mpg sometimes, more like 17-18mpg most of the time) allied to a 74-litre tank meant its real-world touring range was always an issue.
But you put up with these things in a GT-R because the payback, when it arrives, is immense. And now that they’ve smoothed away most of the rough edges – none of which added to the purity of the driving experience; they were just flaws, pure and simple – the Nissan GT-R has become a more complete car. And a more desirable one as a result.
To a point where I genuinely can’t think of another vehicle that offers more raw ability for less, even if its weight and packaging are a bit dubious. Bottom line: I know 82 grand (basic) sounds like an insane amount of money for a Nissan, but this ain’t no ordinary Nissan. It’s a GT-R first, and a Nissan second; always has been. And for the 2017 model year version the GT-R happens to be in better shape than at any point in its near 50-year history. Which, as you’ll know, is saying something.
Date acquired July 2017
Duration of test 3 months
Total test mileage 3622
Overall mpg 19.0
Purchase price £83,745
Value today £72,500
‘The nutcase that has always been at the centre of the GT-R is still very much in situ. If anything, it is more unhinged than ever’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCONTINENTAL DRIFT
It’s become an international sensation but the heart of drifting is in Japan. That’s not to say you have to use a Japanese car, however; you just have to get a little creative… 400HP E34 M5 V8-powered drift 5 Series S62 V8-swapped E34 drift machine. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Ade Brannan.
Drifting has come a long way from being the sole preserve of mischievous Japanese outlaws sneaking out for touge battles after dark. The sport has spread like wildfire across the globe, consuming everything in its path in a fug of dense tyre smoke. Of course, there are drifters and there are good drifters; any fool can kick a clutch and light up the rears but the true connoisseur has an ingrained knowledge of entry angles, balletic transitions, and all those technical tricks that are earned and learned rather than simply assumed.
Interestingly, the rise of the modern obsession with drifting neatly overlaps the demise of what archaeologists of the future will probably call ‘the fibreglass body kit era’. The modding fraternity’s enthusiasm for bolting massive, extravagant plastic addenda to humdrum shopping hatchbacks rapidly tailed off when they started seeing footage of big-power RWD cars atomising their tyres at high speed. And the timing of the fall of one phenomenon and the rise of the other is no coincidence. And Jeek Federico, owner of this slightly scary E34, straddles the two scenes rather effectively.
Now, it’s all very well teaching yourself to drift and honing a few cheeky skills, but it’s not like you can just do it out there on the Queen’s highway. You’ll be tugged by the fuzz in short order. And if you try to hang the tail out at Brands or Silverstone, you’ll be black-flagged straightaway, and probably blacklisted, too. But thankfully there’s a place on these innocent isles where such smoky shenanigans are actively encouraged: Driftland. It’s up there in Lochgelly in Scotland. Oh, and by chance, Jeek just happens to be the owner of the place. Handy, eh?
Driftland is the UK’s only dedicated drift venue, and it caters to all levels of enthusiasts who prefer to do their driving while looking through the side windows; seasoned veterans are welcome, but Jeek also runs a fleet of 15 or so E36 Drift School cars. Naturally he needs something pretty boisterous for his own car as well, to act as a showcase for all the place offers. And that’s where this E34 comes in. “I was looking for something to replace my E39 540i drift car that I’d owned for years,” he recalls. “I tried a few different Japanese models but hated them all. I’d known of this particular car for quite a few years and it came up for sale at just the right time; it had all the best bits of a big V8 German beauty that I loved, mixed with the agility and weight of a nimble Japanese car.”
Aha, you’re intrigued now, aren’t you? Because, you see, this isn’t just a strippedout travelling salesman special – it’s a custom-engineered lightweight with a German heart and a Japanese soul. The front end of the car is pretty much all Nissan S14 200SX, converted to run a JDM steering rack rather than the heavy old steering box. And the commitment to weight saving throughout the car is extensive and farreaching; even the single-wiper conversion runs an E46 Compact motor to shave off a few grams.
But don’t go wringing your hands just yet. It’s not all Japanese. Take a look at what’s going on under the bonnet, for example: the eagle-eyed and nerdy of engine code will have recognised this as an S62B50 – the hyperactively enhanced variant of the solid-as- a-rock M62 that you’d usually find under the bonnet of an E39 M5 (or, for those of a more exotic persuasion, the retro-futurist Z8 – y’know, the car James Bond sawed in half in that questionable 007 movie). This is a mighty motor, offering 400hp in factory tune; it’s got eight individual throttle bodies, hollow camshafts, and it’s just peachy.
“These engines don’t need a lot of modification,” Jeek assures us. “I’m running Huxley Motorsport exhaust manifolds and an Alpha N map with MAF delete but, aside from that, it hasn’t been messed with and it makes a solid 401hp.” He’s got it running through a five-speed manual ’box with a super-lightweight flywheel (this isn’t like a lazy, rumbling American V8, it’s an eager revver), while a Helix paddle-clutch makes short work of those fourth gear clutch kicks.
As you might imagine, the chassis that underpins all of this culture-clash fury is a bit of a mixed bag – part German, part Japanese, but all awesome. “The brakes are from an R33 Nissan Skyline at the front,” Jeek explains, “along with an E36 M3 Evo pedalbox and cylinder. The rear end is all E34 540i – it’s running zero camber to give perfect tyre wear and maximum grip from those 265/35s at 15psi.” Custom Apex coilovers suspend the thing, and you’ll find a variety of oriental flavours in the mix, too, from the likes of Tein and Doritech among others. The overriding theory behind the build is to ensure that every element of the car is focused on doing its job correctly; there’s nothing superfluous here, it’s all just hell-bent on destroying tyres in the most aesthetically alluring way possible. “The plan with it was always just to have fun, wreck tyres, and do huge top-of-fourth-gear smoky skids, all while advertising my business,” laughs Jeek. And his sense of fun is palpable throughout the E34. Sure, it’s aggressive and mean, but it’s also a little bit mischievous.
The choice of wheels presented a bit of head-scratching, not least because the car’s running different PCDs on either axle: 5x114 front and 5x120 rear. “I have always been a fan of dish and width,” he says. “My old E39 ran 10”-wide Rondels all-round, so the new car’s wheels had to be beefy specs, as well as being easily replaceable in the event of one getting damaged. I opted for the STYLE49 wheels from 7Twenty, in 10x17” on the front and 10.5x18” on the rear.”
They certainly complement the gorgeous paintwork very well. If the colour’s left you scrabbling through your memory banks of all the paint codes, it’s actually a Citroën shade named Whisper Purple. “I originally bought the car from my mate at Jankes BMW Spares,” says Jeek. “It was high off the ground, had crap wheels, and a terrible paint and sticker scheme. I had the body and paint all sorted out by the good guys at Toole Design. Along with the paintwork, the car was lowered and received a set of side skirts and a 1980s Zender splitter. The paint’s definitely my favourite thing that’s been done, as it looked rubbish before.”
While the look may be pin-sharp and ready to mingle with the heavies, it’s important to remember that this E34’s real party piece is its extraordinarily light weight. “It weighs just 1150kg wet,” Jeek explains. “To put that in context, that’s about the same as a new Fiesta.” Just absorb that fact for a moment: imagine a new Fiesta with 400hp, then consider the fact that they’re not even rear-wheel drive… the dedication to weight saving has been relentless and ruthless here.
“The theme for the interior was, quite simply, race car,” he grins. “There’s nothing in there that the car doesn’t need. That steering wheel is actually a genuine carbonfibre item from one of Ken Block’s M-Sport Focus rally cars. There’s also a pair of Motordrive seats with Driftland-branded harnesses (because sometimes you need to scare a passenger), a hydraulic handbrake, extinguishers, and that’s pretty much it.”
Which, of course, is just as it should be. The base car was a non-sunroof 530i but there’s not a whole lot of that left here now, aside from the essential silhouette. The attention to detail stretches way into the recesses that you wouldn’t spot, too. All the underseal has been scraped from the underneath, which has been painted grey, while the insides are a complementary grey and blue. Everything about the car screams purpose, but at the same time it’s a very considered build. The perfect tool, in fact, for advertising Driftland.
Is it the ultimate BMW drift car, then? Has Jeek nailed it this time? “Ah, I don’t know,” he considers, scratching his chin thoughtfully. “I often think about what the next car might be, but I’m not sure what could be better – this engine in a 1M shell maybe? Or maybe some V10 M60 goodness?”
It’s a moot point for now, however, as this shouty workhouse is a harsh taskmaster. “It got quite crashed up this year, so it’ll be getting some fibreglass rear quarters made up, and at the same time the car might end up a different colour, as well as going a little lower,” he confirms. “And, hey, if money were no object, a flat-shift sequential and a supercharger would be nice.” Well, if this E34 is as effective an advert as it is a drift car, those dreams may well be coming true before long.
The plan was always to have fun, wreck tyres and do huge skids, all while advertising my business.
Interior has been stripped-out and fitted with a Huxley Motorsport roll-cage plus a pair of Motordrive seats
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-S62 / #BMW-V8 Drift / #BMW-E34 / #BMW / #7Twenty / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW-5-Series-Drift / #BMW-E34-V8 / #BMW-E34-S62 / #BMW-E34-V8 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-E34-Drift
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.9-litre #V8 #S62B50 / #S62 , #Alpha-N map, new shells, Huxley Motorsport exhaust manifolds, #Doritech exhaust system (with V-bands for quick removal), #TTV-Racing lightweight single-mass flywheel with custom paddle and #Motorsport-Helix cover plate, 35-litre alloy tank underneath rear floorpan with #Bosch-044 pump and pressure gauge in bay, five-speed #ZF gearbox, 3.23 welded diff
CHASSIS 10x17” 5x114 (front) and 10.5x18” 5x120 (rear) #7Twenty-STYLE49 wheels, #Nissan-GTS 320mm fourpot front calipers with ventilated discs, 540i rear calipers with ventilated discs, rear subframe reinforced with adjustable camber and toe, #Powerflex bushes, front subframe modified to use Nissan steering rack, bottom #Nissan arms, front Nissan knuckles with adaptors to use #BMW wheels, #Doritech knuckles for extra lock, #Tein tie rods, #GKT-Tech castor arms and GKT Tech lower arms, hydraulic handbrake with 0.650 Wilwood pump, #Apex custom coilovers – 10/8kg damping adjustable
EXTERIOR E34 530i non-sunroof shell, Citroën Whisper Purple paint, underside painted grey, inside painted grey/blue, side skirts, #Zender splitter from the 1980s
INTERIOR #Huxley-Motorsport roll-cage with extension to front turrets, #M-Sport/Ken Block carbon fibre steering wheel, E34 #BMW-M5-E34 instrument cluster and kick plates, #Motordrive seats, #Driftland harnesses, Coolerworks gearshifter, power steering cooler, #Lexan windows, flocked dash, M3 Evo servo and pedalbox, extra gauges for oil/water temperature/oil pressure/fuel, flick switches, custom wiring with fuse/relay panel, single wiper conversion running E46 Compact motor, #Zero-2000 plumbed-in extinguisher, 1kg hand-held fire extinguisher, small battery with fibreglass box and cut-off switchStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRichard Fisheer’s Boss S14
THE BOSS hot ride: #Nissan-240SX Speed Star: 560bhp LS1-powered Boss S14 Defining Car Culture. Words Paddy McGrath & Ben Chandler. Photography Mark Riccioni. We caught up with Chicago-based car builder, drifter and self-confessed Air Jordan hoarder, Mr Fish and his positively bananas Boss-kitted S14 drift car.
NISSAN S14 It may look like a Dodge Challenger from the front, but we can promise you it’s all Nissan on the inside.
In words, at least, this is a car that will almost certainly evoke a sigh or two. It has all the right (or wrong, depending on how you choose to look at it) ingredients for a drift car: an LS V8 motor, a Rocket Bunny kit, some SSR mesh wheels and Air Lift Performance suspension. There was a time when this combination would have blown people away, but now it’s almost the expected, and maybe the proven choice for a fun street/track car. But, we’ve long since learned that it’s not how you stand by your car, it’s how you race your car.
This may not be the very first time you’ve seen this S14. This particular car has appeared on the internet and done the round on Instagram, but we do feel that it’s the first time a UK magazine has managed to capture this beautiful piece of automotive art. It’s still evolving too; since Mark captured these photographs, it’s now running a supercharged LS1 making 560hp to the wheels. It’s far from a show pony.
Drifting, as a whole, is about expression. It’s always been this way and some might argue that non-competitive drifting is perhaps the purest form of drifting, as it offers the driver the most amount of freedom with regards to expressing themselves. Risky Devil, established 2007, are maybe the most recognised crew from the United States, mostly because they epitomise this mantra so well. There is a certain look that’s considered appealing in this community: as low as possible, wide wheels with lots of dish and as much smoke pouring off the back of the car as achievable.
This 240SX delivers on all of these things. And more.
The whole package is a visual treat. While I had seen pictures of the car before, I don’t think I appreciated the two-tone paint scheme; the black roof and pillars are maybe the most important part of tying the Boss kit into the S14, itself combining US and JDM style into one car.
While it might not be a fully-fledged competition car, safety has still been addressed in a comprehensive way. Fixedback buckets and Takata Racing harnesses are enclosed by a full FD specification roll cage. The aim might be fun, but that doesn’t mean that the impact will be any softer if the worst happens.
I don’t think it’s anything that we haven’t seen before but when something looks this good, it’s genuinely exciting to have this drift weapon in Fast Car. You might forget about it in an hour or you might not stop thinking about it for weeks – we’re just glad it exists.
Wheels: Get The Look
Speed Star Racing, or SSR to you and me, are one of the Godfathers of Japanese aftermarket wheels. They’re responsible for some of the most famous of all wheels, the SSR Super Mesh – a most beautiful wheel that can often be found on AE86s, Hakosuka GTRs and Nissan S31s. Basically old and Japanese. The wheels on Fish’s fine S14 Boss are Formula Mesh. These have been around for decades and are now certified as absolutely timeless. SSR, for the most part are all 3-piece wheels. As the name suggests, the company has been involved in racing for many years. If you look closely at the logo on the caps of SSR wheels you’ll notice an actual outline of F1 genius Graham Hill, a gentle nod to SSR’s passion for racing.
If you’ve not heard the name Risky Devil before then stop whatever you’re doing and head over to YouTube immediately. Type ‘Risky Devil’ into the search bar and hit return. Seeing a car static in photos is one thing, but actually seeing it living and breathing in video is another. We also came across a clip on YouTube which gives a pretty good insight into the sort of life this car lives. Sure, it might make you flinch when you see it, but I respect that the car is still out there being driven as intended. It’s better than the alternative, right?
AIR LIFT PERFORMANCE
Fish is a long time friend and customer of Air Lift Performance. He worked directly with Corey at Air Lift on this built to create a car that sits (and drifts) super close to terra firma. The S14 Air Lift Performance kit is a bolt on solution, which means that if you have an S14 chassis, you can fi t this kit in a weekend and be airing out at work by Monday! Check out www. airliftperformance.com for further info.
This fine Japanese gentleman is a living breathing legend. Now, legend is a word that is overused, but it is certainly well deserved in this case. Why? Well, Muira-san has pretty much single handedly made bodykits cool again. The mad scientist is responsible for the Rocket Bunny brand and has also penned designs for the likes of Liberty Walk, Old N New, Pandem and more. This USDM and JDM mash-up kit found on Fish’s S14 is one of his finest designs.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS: #Nissan-S14 / #Nissan-Silvia-S14 / #Nissan-Silvia / #Nissan-S14-Boss / #Nissan-S14-LS1-V8 / #Nissan-S14-V8 / #GM / #GM-V8 / #SSR / #Air-Lift-Performance / #Air-Lift / #Nissan / #Nissan-240SX / #Nissan-240SX-S14 / #Nissan-240SX-V8 / #Nissan-240SX-LS1 / #Nissan-240SX-Boss / #Rocket-Bunny-V2 / #Nissan-Rocket-Bunny-V2
Styling #Rocket-Bunny-V2 “Boss” wide body aero package, with front lip; bullet wing mirrors; license plates removed front and rear; fully repainted in red and black (only to be repainted again and again, and probably again when Fish runs the wall); genuine, eBay rare Risky Devil sun strip.
Tuning LS-1 motor swap; #K&N intake, #CSF radiator upgrade (now running a supercharger post shoot).
Chassis #SSR-Formula-Mesh 10.5x17 (f), 12.5x17 (f) with Dunlop Direzza ZII 245/40x17 (f) and 265/40x17 (r); Air Lift Performance struts with 3H management.
Interior Fully stripped with FD-spec cage; Takata harnesses; Racetech seats; snap-off steering wheel; fly-off handbrake; repainted in a tasty looking silver hue.
Thanks #Air-Lift Performance – www.airliftperformance.comStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTrack test new supercars comparison
/ #2017 #Nissan #Nissan-GT-R 570bhp version
0 – 25 mph - 1,3 seconds
0 – 62 mph – 3,5 seconds
0 – 100 mph – 7,4 seconds
0 – 160 mph 11,5 seconds
2017 #Porsche-911-Turbo-991.2 / #Porsche-911-Turbo-991 / #Porsche-911-Turbo / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-991.2 / #Porsche-991 / #Porsche
0 – 25 mph - 1,0 seconds
0 – 62 mph – 3,1 seconds
0 – 100 mph – 6,8 seconds
0 – 160 mph 10,8 secondsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRETRO RIDE: DATSUN 240Z WORDS: Jarkle PHOTOS: #Larry-Chen / #Sung-Kang / #1973 / #Datsun-240Z / #Nissan-240Z / #Nissan / #Datsun
FILM STAR CAR / HAN SHOT FIRST
All Hollywood stars drive Italian exotica, right? Well no, not the rather Fast-and-Furious Sung Kang…
And there was us thinking movie stars only drive Ferraris and Range Rovers… obviously not when they’re feeling Fast and Furious.
Where were you when you saw your first Fast and Furious film? If you’re a petrol head and a modified car fan with even the most fleeting of interests in movies, then chances are you’ll know exactly where you were when you first met Dom, Brian, Letty and the rest of the gang. Me? Well my introduction to brake caliper-less Jettas, endlessly long gearboxes and suspect tribal vinyl graphics happened back in 2001, when me and a group of mates snuck our way into the Milton Keynes multiplex cinema overloaded with popcorn and fizzy pop, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Plenty of you clearly feel the same way, as not only has the F&F franchise grown out of all proportion, but it’s left an indelible mark on modified car culture. You only need to recall the outpouring of grief that followed Paul Walker’s tragic death to realise this.
These films have always strived to blur the line between make believe and reality of course, so it’s wrong to assume all the actors who appeared behind the wheel on screen (and boy are there a lot of them) were fully paid-up petrol heads. That said, some most definitely are and were, Paul Walker being the most famous example, Sung Kang (Han in the films) another. It’s the latter’s car that you see before you, a jawslackening Datsun 240Z that’s better known by its nickname ‘FuguZ.’
Debuting at last year’s SEMA show, Sung’s ’73 Datsun is a case study in how to do a 240. Each and every area of it groans under the weight of cool aftermarket hardware, clever thinking and one-off styling. Cars have been a part of Sung’s life for a long time. Tuning, modifying and generally being able to stamp his personality onto them was always a huge part of the appeal. So you could say he was always destined to build something like this eventually.
The thing that it’s pretty much impossible to overlook when you first clock Sung’s Z is its bodywork, specifically those bulging arches. They’re an unmistakable product of the chaps at Rocket Bunny, plus a little help from their official US importer (and a name that’s cropped up more than once in the F&F films themselves), GReddy.
The result is without doubt one of Kei Miura’s best efforts to date. A fantastically mean looking kit that manages something that not all his creations do: it looks right at home, working with the factory lines of the 240Z instead of simply swamping them with layers of hyper-aggressive plastic. There’s more at play than mere aesthetic showboating though, much more. The Z’s chassis received extensive strengthening and bracing (plus an imposing bespoke roll cage that dominates the car’s interior) before the kit was fitted, while the overhauled suspension setup has been painstakingly developed in order to maximise the car’s already polished handling characteristics. Techno Toy Tuning coilovers are largely responsible for this Datsun’s ability to corner with the kind of composure you normally associate with far more modern offerings. But the brand new suspension bushes and lightweight RAYS Volk Racing alloys also play a part, while cutting unsprung weight in the process.
There’s no point in pretending that cars like the 240Z aren’t ingrained in Japan’s automotive culture, and this in turn means that messing with them carries a certain amount of risk: get it wrong, go too far or otherwise ruin the car, and people from all sections of the car world won’t hesitate to tell you exactly what they think!
A good example of this is this car’s engine, now a RB26DE and created by removing the forced induction hardware from an RB26DETT, then recalibrating it to run in naturally aspirated form. The result is that this is far from the most powerful 240Z to have ever graced these pages, but it’s perhaps one that pays most respect for the original running gear first bolted into place by Datsun themselves. It is after all still a straightsix, and one still fed in a naturally aspirated fashion, albeit now via a sextuple of individual throttle bodies controlled via a standalone ECU.
Keeping the ethos behind the 240 was import ant for Sung. That doesn’t mean he was adverse to modifying it of course. It has a forged bottom end and a ported head, but he was keen to preserve its, ahem, Datsun-ness.
The result is that this car can now call on a very handy 220bhp, a figure that can be fully exploited pretty much anywhere you care to mention. Particularly when you factor in the trick OS Giken LSD that brings up the rear of the drivetrain.
There’s no point making a street car stupidly powerful, not if you want to enjoy using it on a regular basis and Sung is happy with how it drives; there’s a good balance of power and handling.
Sung went to great lengths to ensure this theme of balance and respect for the car’s origins continued into the interior, where you’ll now find CarbonSignal Automotive bucket seats, dash and doorcards, a smattering of attractive gauges to monitor the engine’s vital signs, and the aforementioned roll cage. No, it doesn’t look stock and was never intended to. But neither does it look overtly modern or out of place. Once again, the balance has been struck perfectly.
The chances of any of you reading this actively disliking Sung’s car are, let’s face it, slim. And that’s because he’s done a simply amazing job in modifying it to his tastes. But what really sets this Z apart from the herd is its owner. Namely that his passion for cars, messing about in them and with them, remains resolutely undiluted. Some of the stunts, scenes and CGI present in the earliest Fast and Furious films might have started to show their age, but as long as the films continue to hold a mirror up to modified car culture (or an idealised version of it), we’ll certainly continue to watch… and maybe even be closet super fans.
TECH SPEC: ‘1973 240Z
ENGINE: GReddy built #Nissan-RB26DE with high compression pistons; forged con rods; ported head; custom individual throttle bodies; AEM standalone management; Nissan 5-speed manual gearbox; #OS-Giken clutch and LSD; R200 differential.
CHASSIS: Fully braced and strengthened chassis with custom #GReddy multi-point roll cage; Techno Toy Tuning coilovers; #Wilwood discs and callipers; aftermarket high pads and braided lines; 17in RAYS Volk Racing TE37V SL forged wheels; Nitto NT01 tyres.
STYLING: Signature Auto Body restored 1973 Datsun 240Z in Kilimanjaro white; Rocket Bunny wide arch kit; JDM-style front-mounted wing mirrors; custom ‘FuguZ’ badging.
INTERIOR: Custom GReddy roll cage; custom CarbonSignal dash, door panels, bucket seats; multi-point Takata harnesses; oil, temp and pressure gauges.
Well, he’s not gonna be rolling in a Hyundai, right?
Now that’s the face of a superstar!
No added sound effects needed here!
And not a tank of NOS in sight!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe story of these twin GT-Rs is one of classic values, camaraderie, and dreams fulfilled. To hugely misquote Forrest Gump, ‘awesome is as awesome does’… Words: Daniel Bevis. Pics: Olliee Wildsmith. Walk designed in japan, built in Belgium and killing it on the UK’s streets and shows, these two liberty walkkitted R35 #Nissan GT-Rs set the standard.
/ #Nissan-GTR-R35 / #Nissan-GTR / #Nissan / #VR38DETT / #V6 / #Nissan-VR38DETT / #Nissan-GT-R
RUN FORREST, RUN
Twin Liberty Walk-kitted Nissan R35 GT-Rs are a match made in wide arch heaven
As fans of the silver screen will enthusiastically tell you, 1994’s Forrest Gump is one of the greatest tales ever committed to celluloid. It’s not so much the vast budget, the sprawling scenescapes, the all-star cast, or the kickass soundtrack (although those are all, naturally, important factors), but the fact that what seems like a complex story is actually very simple: it’s all about how greatness can stem from humble beginnings, how having strong and clear values will win out in the face of all kinds of adversity. It’s a principle that’s oft retold in various formats, but the heartwarming truth of that now-careworn ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ motif sits at the core of it all.
It’s also a theme that we find mirrored in countless walks of life. Take these artfully matched Nissan GT-Rs, for example, resplendent in Liberty Walk’s finest – the twins are named LB Shadow and LB Pearl, and the story is rooted in humble beginnings. Just ask Phil Hird, owner of the grey car, LB Shadow: ‘I’ve been modifying cars since I got my licence at 17, with my first car being a MkII Fiesta,’ he recalls. Yep, cars don’t come a lot more humble than that. ‘After that I moved onto a diesel Golf, and then I spent a bomb on an Audi A3 which got lost in the floods in 2007.’ It’s not reading like the strongest start so far, is it?
Remember that Vietnam scene where Forrest’s platoon is wading through chest-high floodwater? This whole modifying lark can seem that way sometimes, can’t it. ‘Big ol’ fat rain!’
‘In 2008 I started again with a brand new Audi A5, fitting a one-off bodykit to it,’ Phil continues. ‘But then kids came along, so by necessity I moved onto a Q7. And then the GT-R came into my life in 2014…’
Well, there is an argument to be made for Nissan’s supercoupe being a sensible choice, isn’t there? Everyday usability, baked-in Japanese reliability, strong residuals. Ah hell, you only live once though, don’t you? Coming from a starting point of a tired old 1980s hatchback, if the opportunity to play with a GT-R presents itself, you’d regret it forever if you didn’t pull the trigger. It’d be like slapping fate in the face.
‘I found the car on the Supercar Rooms website, it had low miles and was a great price,’ says Phil, ‘so I called and paid a deposit on it until I could get to their showroom to see it! A week later I drove the five hours to see the car and testdrive it – from the moment I put the pedal down I wanted the R35 to be mine. So as soon as I got back to the showroom I bought it!’ Some might call it reckless to put a deposit on a car sight unseen; others would say you’re just rolling the dice. Sometimes you just have to play it the Gump way, go with the flow and allow history and culture to swell around you.
Phil wasted no time getting stuck into the mods, as the art of tweaking GT-Rs (a car, remember, that Nissan originally claimed was ‘untuneable’!) is now well-established and, frankly, required. He started with a set of 20in Vossen CV4 rims and then moved on to a full-on carbon-fibre Knight Racer kit, complete with bumper fins, full diffuser, and all manner of carbon tricks. Then came the 21in Strasse wheels, at which point Phil opted to take a little time out from the build to go old-school, like Forrest returning to Greenbow, Alabama. The counterpoint to the GT-R project lay in his 1967 VW Beetle, a car – named ‘Elmo’ – that he fully restored himself, running air-ride and winning copious awards. This tells you a little about Phil’s skills, as well as his focus.
But the GT-R was just sitting there all along, its carbon-fibre gleaming, goading Phil on to take the next step. And who was he to refuse?
‘In September 2015 I ended up speaking with Jean-Marie de Roover from the Belgium GTR Store,’ Phil explains. ‘I’d seen his Liberty Walk GT-R on the Battalion30Five Facebook group, which we’re both members of, and a Liberty Walk GT-R was kind of the final dream for my car! We discussed building it, and options we could add to the car to make it a one-of-one styling exercise so it was bespoke, that could be seen as an individual build amongst the Liberty Walk community.
After a few ideas and lots of discussion, a deposit was paid and it was all systems go!’ You see, sometimes, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. Moving in the right circles helps you, but occasionally these things are shimmered along simply because the cosmos is smiling on you.
‘A few weeks later, Dan and Mike Jackson, who are good friends of mine and utter GT-R fans, heard that a guy from the UK had booked his car in with Jean-Marie,’ Phil goes on.
‘While chatting on the phone one night, Dan was talking about creating an LB build of his own but was unsure who the other person was who’d already signed up with the Belgium GTR Store. Eventually I gave in and told him everything! Dan was very supportive and couldn’t believe what I was actually going to do – and a month or so later it was confirmed that Dan and Mike had also booked their car in for a Liberty Walk transformation.
It makes sense at this point to meet the Jacksons, doesn’t it? Dan and Mike are a father-andson team, with Mike holding the impressive distinction of being, at 68 years of age, the oldest known owner of a Liberty Walk car. Which is a very cool boast, indeed. No battered Micras here, this is a guy who approaches every day with flair and élan.
‘We have always been interested in cars,’ says Mike, ‘especially Japanese cars. Before the R35 GT-R was a 350Z, and we’ve even owned a Nissan Bluebird! But we fell in love with the R35 after driving one at an experience day at Elvington airfield with Everyman Racing.
Not long after, this car was purchased from Alexanders Prestige in Boroughbridge.’ As bought, the guys found themselves gazing lovingly at a totally standard, UK-spec 2009 Black Edition, and it remained stock for quite some time, barring the addition of a Y-pipe and a remap. But the lure of GT-R tuning proved too strong, and their mate Phil certainly wasn’t helping matters…
‘In December 2015, Battalion30Five held their end of year meet at Black Hangar Studios,’ says Phil. ‘I took my GT-R along, with Dan and Mike in theirs, also knowing that Jean- Marie would be coming over from Belgium with his Liberty Walk R35. From the moment we saw his car, we knew we’d made the right decision. His attention to detail was first class, along with his knowledge. We all came away from the event dreaming of the day we’d get to deliver our own cars to Belgium and get the builds rolling.’
And so, at the end of January, the lads boarded a ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge for the overnight trip, driving the next day down to the Belgium GTR Store. They took the tour, chatted over all of their ideas with Jean- Marie, then made their way back to the ferry to play the waiting game. (Which, as Homer Simpson will tell you, is a game that sucks, and you’re better off with Hungry Hungry Hippos.) The cars were in Belgium for three months in all, with Jean- Marie feeding the guys’ enthusiasm with constant photo updates of how the projects were progressing, while they in turn worked hard to create specific design templates of the graphics they wanted applied to the cars for the GTR Store to replicate.
After what felt like aeons of thumb-twiddling and nail-biting, Phil, Mike and Dan found themselves back aboard a ferry in late April, ready to see LB Shadow and LB Pearl for the first time in their classy new threads. ‘Man, I couldn’t stop shaking at the sight of the car that was now coming home with me,’ Phil breathes in an awestruck whisper. It’s evident that this car still thrills the hell out of him, still sends an electric shiver down his spine. ‘And the rest is history, really,’ he says, brightening, returning to reality with a gentle bump. ‘The car lives at home with me, most nights I just sit there and stare at it.’ Well, when he’s not out there enjoying the vast swells of hard-revving fury from that VR38DETT, we imagine…
‘Our car was already a headturner, but now it’s just insane,’ Mike chips in, evidently just as awestruck as his buddy. ‘People video it and take photos everywhere we go. We use it all the time, too – having air suspension means we can pretty much go anywhere without worrying about damaging it, and we’re planning to go to as many car shows as possible so we can just get out there and share the car with everyone.’ A very cheering and altruistic sentiment, to be sure, and it’s clear that these guys are enthusiasts in the old-school sense; they haven’t chosen Liberty Walk kits simply to win the intangible celebrity of Instagram fame, but just because they thought it’d be cool. And they’re right, it is. So now they want to share the whole experience with like-minded petrolheads.
‘Yep, we go to a lot of meets and shows,’ Phil confirms, ‘and charity events for sick children, too. The reactions to the cars are always amazing.’ And that is the crux of the thing – Phil, Mike and Dan didn’t build these cars to show off, they did it just because they wanted to touch a little of that oriental magic; their inherent good nature and strength of character means that these builds are all heart. You see, life really is like a box of chocolates. And right here we have a pair of angular, exotic chocolates with extraordinarily gooey caramel centres.
‘THE REACTIONS TO THE CARS IS AMAZING
VERSION 1 VS. VERSION 2
You’ll no doubt have spotted that the cars’ bodykits are subtly different to one another. This is because liberty walk don’t just offer one identikit set menu, but are always tweaking and broadening the range; LB pearl wears the version 1 kit, while LB shadow is rocking version 2, the principle difference being in the rear spoilers. This makes sense for Phil, Dan and Mike as, while the cars are unmistakably twins, it was important to keep each one unique. You can follow the cars’ respective evolution on their instagramfeeds - @lb_shadowand@lb_pearl
TECH SPEC LB PEARL
ENGINE VR38DETT 3.8-litre 24v V6 twin-turbo, Stage 1 with Ecutek Version 5 maps, #ARMYTRIX titanium exhaust system with remote-control valves, uprated intercooler
TRANSMISSION Stock GT-R transmission
SUSPENSION AirREX digital air suspension
BRAKES AP Racing discs, Ferodo pads
WHEELS 20in custom Gravity rims
INTERIOR Re-trimmed and re-shaped flat-bottom steering wheel with carbon-fibre insert, carbon-fibre effect instrument surrounds, Alcantara centre tunnel, custom instrument cluster with carbon-fibre effect inlays and blue LED backlighting
EXTERIOR Liberty Walk Version 1 kit, Pearlescent White wrap, custom 12-LED Formula 1 brake light, tinted front headlamps, custom LED indicators integrated into the mirrors
THANKS ‘Alexanders Prestige, Middlehurst Motorsport, Litchfield Imports, JM-Imports, Tyremen (Hull), Belgium GT-R Store, AC Speedtech, Andy at R35Audio, Battalion30Five, Darren Tucker’
TECH SPEC LB SHADOW
ENGINE VR38DETT 3.8-litre 24v V6 twin-turbo, Litchfield Stage 4.25 tune, monster intercooler, full Milltek Sport stainless steel exhaust system, Litchfield Forge BOVs, Forge header tank, custom Liberty Walk carbon-fibre engine cover
TRANSMISSION Stock GT-R transmission, Litchfield bellhousing upgrade
SUSPENSION #AirREX digital air suspension
BRAKES Alcon discs and pads (front), AP Racing discs and pads (rear)
WHEELS 20in custom Gravity rims with blue ink clearcoat lacquer
INTERIOR Re-trimmed and re-shaped flat-bottom steering wheel with carbon-fibre insert, extended carbon-fibre paddle-shifters, carbon-fibre wrap on centre console, Alcantara centre tunnel
EXTERIOR Liberty Walk Version 2 kit with ducktail spoiler, 3M matte grey wrap with carbon-fibre accents, custom 12-LED Formula 1 brake light, custom front DRLs, custom LED indicators integrated into mirrors, Valenti taillights
THANKS ‘A big massive thanks needs to be given to Jean-Marie de Roover of Belgium GTR Store, who built the car into what it is today, and to Kato of Liberty Walk for meeting us and putting his signature of approval on the car. Also a big shout out to the Battalion30Five family who are a collection of GT-R owners from across the world.’
‘A LIBERTYWALK KITWAS THE FINAL DREAM FORMY CAR’
BELGIUM GTR STORE
As the name suggests, these guys deal exclusively in GT-Ts. So is it worth your while trekking all the way over to sint-truiden to let them have a go on your R35? Their results speak for themselves, really – it’s a full-house offering, encompassing engine and transmission tuning, interior and exterior mods, and they’re keen to express that they love working with carbonfibre. So we’re not just looking at bolt-ons here, this is a shop that passionately wants to make every r35 that comes through the door unique and distinctive. We’ve already seen a number of cool cars with the Belgium GTR store name attached, and there will undoubtedly be many more to come!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationFeature Car / Nissan GTR R35 Track Pack (UK Edition) Track focused
Text : Mat Canyon Photos: Shah Bahulu@Adam Photography
Ever since the initial release in 2008, the R35 GTR has become an ever so popular car to own and race. It was the brain child of the man who saved Nissan, Carlos Ghosn. With his guidance, Nissan was able to produce a worthy successor to the very iconic R34 GTR. Due to its popularity and the fact it has become the world’s first GTR to be available worldwide, it would be no surprise to have the R35 GTR be spotted everywhere around the world.
Just like what Nissan did with their previous GTR models, they have also produced special trims which would be considered by enthusiasts as ‘rare models’ like the 400R for the R33 or the Z-Tune for the R34. This R35 we show before you on these pages is the highly track focused Nissan GTR R35 Track Pack which went on sale after the R35 GTR V-Spec was sold out.
Of course, it is just another Nissan GTR R35, right? So what would make the GTR Track Pack so special? It doesn’t come with any added horsepower compared to a normal GTR. Well for starters, the GTR Track Pack is a lighter version of the normal GTR, about 15kg lighter. It is because for this trim, they ditched the rear seats and are using lighter alloys. Other improvements that were put into the Track Pack are stiffer springs and new brake cooling ducts which is able to lower the operating temperature by 100 degrees C. It also comes with a full titanium muffler from the factory. It is like the Japanese equivalent of the Porsche 911 GT3.
This GTR R35 track pack runs on an ECU Tech and it currently puts out 543 brake horsepower with 465lb ft of torque. While everything else is remained stock, the owner wanted to make this GTR like his own. So he added some subtle exterior parts like the Varis wing and sideskirts. With these subtle bits, it keeps the car clean and tasteful looking at the same time.
Instead of the normal Bridgestone Potenzas that normally come with the GTR, the GTR Track Pack comes with a set of Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 tires wrapped around six spoke Rays wheels. With the new hardware, it gives a more tracked focused GTR for those track addicts who can afford to own one. Furthermore, for being the UK spec Track Pack, this GTR is considerably rare in Malaysia.
It may look like any other GTR you see on the road, but not only the trim is different, it is also said to give a better feel with the surface of the track as well. Special thanks to ATS Sunway and Terana Auto and of course the owner of this exquisite ride to let it be featured on our pages.
TECHNICAL DATA Model: #Nissan-GTR-R35-Track-Pack (UK Edition) / #Nissan-GTR-R35 / #Nissan-GTR / #Nissan /
Engine: 3.8L #VR38DETT #V6 / #Nissan-VR38DETT / #Nissan-GT-R
Max Power: 543bhp @ 6400rpm
Max Torque 465 lb ft @ 3200-5800rpm
Drivetrain: 6-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission, 4WD
Wheels and Tires: Rays Wheels, Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 Run Flats,
Exterior: Varis Spoiler, Varis Side Skirt.
Understated looks with over the top punch.
UK Track Package takes the GTR to a whole new level.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationStephen Bayley hits suburbia in the Japanese icon. Zen and the art of the Z.
It was the first sports car from Japan to attain the status of icon. Who better than Stephen Bayley to unravel the appeal of the Datsun 240Z? Photography Paul Harmer.
There’s a marvellous saying in Zen that ‘whatever is true, the opposite is truer’. You can apply that principle to the question of Japanese sports cars. The question being: are there any great ones? Japanese culture is stiff with concepts of the superiority of collaborative endeavour over individual expression. They have a concept known as nemawashi, which translates as ‘root-binding’, but actually means collective responsibility. Then there isjishu-kisei for self-restraint. Hence a public fast train, the glorious Shinkansen, is preferred over a personal idiosyncratic sports car. Moreover, Japan’s 60km/h speed limit is among the most stringent in the world.
And yet there is a Japanese sentiment that finds its best expression in sports cars, often of very unusual character. The 1959 Datsun SP211 was based on the Bluebird saloon and called Fairlady, a name inspired, in that amusing Japanese way, by the company president’s 1958 visit to Broadway to see the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe musical that was, itself, based on Shaw’s Pygmalion. Thus, the layered, yet revealing, meanings of automobile nomenclature.
Pygmalion was a play about a hopeless strumpet being civilised through ambition and elocution. The Fairlady followed a similar path of improvement, evolving into a pleasing MGB-like proposition – although, by the time it reached its final 1968 edition, what had become the Datsun 2000 Sports Roadster proffered an output of some 135bhp, and it effortlessly shaded the English car in every single aspect of performance and quality.
Then there were the exquisite 1963 Honda S500, and the impressive rotary-engined Mazda Cosmo of the following year. And in 1965 Toyota showed its sensational 2000GT. Clearly inspired by the Jaguar E-type, Toyota refused to attribute its design to any individual until Paolo Tumminelli identified Satoru Nozaki in his fascinating 2014 book Car Design Asia – myths, brands and people.
Forgotten now is the elegant 1966 Isuzu 117 Coupé, drawn by Giugiaro when he was still at Ghia and at least as fine as the same designer’s contemporary Gordon-Keeble. In fact, it’s impossible not to believe they used the same drawings twice. But the greatest Japanese sports car of them all was the new 1969 Datsun Fairlady. This we know as the 240Z.
Like all great products, creation myths surround its origins and evolution. But these creation myths, the idea of ‘authorship’, were a necessary part of the progress and acceptance of Japanese design in the West. Against all the principles of nemawashi and jishu-kisei, the 240Z has always been recognised as the inspiration of Yutaka Katayama, described in his New York Times obituary earlier this year as an ‘ebullient, adventurous man’. Mr K, as he became known, was unlike his timorous and anonymous corporate colleagues. He was 105 years old when he died.
Katayama had been a successful rally driver and became the first president of The Sports Car Club of Japan, an imitator of the American SCCA whose races at Laguna Seca and Bridgehampton offered a theatre for the English sports car to perform in front of appreciative audiences. And it was the leading role of MG, Triumph and Austin-Healey that Katayama set to usurp with his new Datsun coupé. His story is told in David Halberstam’s 1986 book The Reckoning, a study as much about the collapse of the US auto industry as the rise of Japan’s.
Because of his extrovert personality, Katayama had been banished from Japan to California, a sort of gulag as seen from Tokyo. As the first president of what became Nissan Motor Corporation USA, Katayama faced derision, cultural obstacles and profound market apathy in America but, under his influence, by 1969 the neat little Datsun 510 saloon was selling 60,000 units a year. This growing success had given him the prestige to talk his own project into being back in Tokyo.
The precise origins of the 240Z may never perhaps be disinterred from the archives, but it seems to have been based in an early-1960s project called A550X, a joint venture with Yamaha. Albrecht Goertz, a designer who had learnt the craft of self-promotion in the United States from his mentor, the sleek, perfumed and pomaded Raymond Loewy, was hired as a consultant.
Hitherto, Goertz had worked on Loewy’s Studebakers and the BMW 507 that, since Ferry Porsche was impressed, led to some early styling proposals for the 911. Goertz it was who introduced the Japanese to the use of American-style full-size clay models in the design process, so has a big claim to having begun graphically biased Japan’s adventure into Western sculptural 3D.
But the A550X stalled and Yamaha took its engine technology and the rest of the project to Toyota, where it soon appeared in the Toyota 2000GT – which Yamaha eventually built in its Hamamatsu factory. Goertz, however, stayed on with Datsun, collaborating with in-house designer Kazuo Kimura on the beautiful Silvia Coupé. However, when it was presented at the New York Auto Show of 1965, American critics found the Silvia too cramped and too under-powered. This seems to have been the imperative Katayama needed to create a real sports car.
This he did by encouraging another another in-house Datsun designer, Yoshihiko Matsuo, who ran Styling Studio No 4, to rage against the conservatives at Nissan who had abandoned A550X and design a brave new car. But Goertz stayed long enough to have had his name associated with the 240Z. Persistent claims by the argumentative Goertz were grudgingly and partially acknowledged by the company in 1980, although Matsuo and Katayama published a more official list of those involved in their 1999 book Fairlady Z Story. It reads like a musical’s cast: Teichi Hara, Kazumi Totsurnoto, Akio Yoshida, Sue Chiba, Eiichi Oiwa, Kiichi Nishikawa, Hidemi Kamahara and Tsuneo Benitani. Car design is, indeed, a collaborative venture. And perhaps not one that gives due credit to its heroes.
There is more certain ground to discuss Mr K’s concept. He wanted a coupé, not a roadster. This was pragmatic: impending US legislation would, so it was thought, outlaw convertibles. He liked butch numbers as model designations, not effete names. The ‘Z’ simply connoted a Jetsons-era modernism. It is said that early proposals resembled Giugiaro’s Ghibli, but the car that went on sale in the United States on 22 October 1969 had a style all of its own.
With its 2393cc 151bhp L-series six-cylinder (an engine inspired by Mercedes-Benz, whose designs were produced under licence by Prince, which merged with Nissan in 1966), it easily outperformed English rivals and annihilated the American hegemony of MG, Triumph and Austin-Healey. Katayama said at the New York launch: ‘The 240Z represents the imaginative spirit of Nissan and was designed to please a demanding taste that is strictly American… We have studied the memorable artistry of European coachmakers and engine builders and combined our knowledge with the Japanese craftsman.’ The car cost a modest $3526 and, while some critics found its finish and behaviour a little crude, it soon dominated its class in the symbolically important SCCA races.
Visually, the 240Z is exceptionally distinctive. With its long bonnet and emphatically rearwards cabin, the general arrangement is based on the E-type while its scalloped headlights were inspired by Ferrari, but the whole is unique. It is small, but imposing, aggressive, yet elegant (although most of the original 240Zs had crude pachinko-style wheeltrims, not proper alloys). It does not look nearly half-a-century old. But get into a 240Z today and it seems very narrow, feels slight and a bit upright too. Doors are insubstantial and strangely thin. The structure pre-dates the computer-aided modelling that, inspired by safety legislation, has given impressive psychological bulk to even the most modest contemporary cars.
The 240Z’s glazing bars seem fragile. There are sharp edges and you wince to think of its integrity during an impact. Indeed, a stabiliser bar across the rear hatch opening suggests that body flexing was a problem. The hatch itself closes with a shuddering undamped clang, not a modern moderated thwump. Start the engine and there is a fine induction roar. Press the throttle and there is a lot of noise, but not a lot of progress. Steering is precise, visibility good. I am not certain I felt that sense of euphoria Katayma described when he said the 240Z gave access to that mystical man-and-machine harmony, but it was certainly amusing to drive. It feels vintage. Sue Chiba’s interior, with its hard plastics and irrational scattering of tumbler switches and sliders, seems Cold War. The 240Z was the first modern Japanese sports car… and also, globally speaking, one of the last old ones.
To my eye, the 240Z cannot be separated from the 1970s and its strange visual culture, still influenced by voyeuristic television serials that were themselves located in a more distant, romantic age of onedimensional heroes and villains, following linear plots. It was co-eval with the rise of disco and reggae, the avocado-coloured bathroom ‘suite’, Italian furniture in tangerine plastic, and the era in which Habitat (whose signature colour was a violent green) was the dominant high street taste-maker with its knock-off bean bags and inimitable chicken-bricks. Thus, it represented a gorgeous, remote dreamworld of innocently sexy un-wired consumerism.
For this reason, we photographed the 240Z in the extraordinary Edgcumbe Park estate in Crowthorne, near Bracknell, on land that once belonged to Windsor Great Park. Here, as my fantasies enlarged, was where you could reliably enjoy barbecues and wifeswapping after a thrilling blast up the dual carriageway from Maidenhead in the Z-car. More prosaically, Edgcumbe was a high-minded garden suburb created by an enlightened developer called Athelstan Whaley, who had been influenced by Scandinavian domesticity and the ranch-style houses of California. As Katayama said, the 240Z package was addressed to America. At the time, most advanced design was.
Exactly contemporary with the 240Z and its Fairlady predecessor, Edgcumbe Park was begun in 1958 and completed in 1970. The ambitious brochure – more, really, of a manifesto – was revealing: ‘The place to live West of London,’ it said. ‘Every house, every site and winding cul-de-sac is imaginatively planned by our Architectural Staff [note CAPITALS], preserving the Oaks and the Mountain Ash, the Scots Pine and Sycamore, ensuring good orientation and pleasant views.’ And, if you could afford it, you would have a Charles Eames chair and ottoman next to your heated serving trolley with its taramasalata and beef olives, around which your female guests would gather, wearing billowing cheese-cloth dresses and agreeable pouts.
It was in a house on this estate that François Truffaut shot, with Julie Christie, his film of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a novel set 50 years in the future. The estate has been described as ‘the future that time forgot’. And now, as we remember it, how distant that age of thigh boots and hot pants seems. Delicious to imagine the felicity of driving a fast and reliable 240Z home, parking it in the drive of your California-style ranch home in Berkshire, then sipping a Campari and soda before you enjoyed a casserole served in bright orange (Raymond Loewy designed) Le Creuset oven-to-tableware.
More than half-a-million 240Zs were manufactured and its success lent Datsun an aura of prestige that could not have been achieved by the front-wheel-drive Cherry. As The New York Times noted in 2008, it changed ‘the auto industry’s perception of Japanese cars’. Katayama-san retired in 1977 when Japan was still a pompous, conservative and hieratic nation.
While America acknowledged his achievement with the 240Z, at home his high profile was interpreted as vainglory and Katayama was not fêted in retirement. But with the increasing scholarly interest in the history of car design, Katayama began to emerge as a significant figure and, by 1997, Nissan was running television ads featuring the ebullient Mr K, father of the Z-car.
The 240Z is one of the great Japanese cars. In fact, one of the greatest cars of them all. Consider again that Zen proposition and take pleasure in the ability of cars, good and bad, to evoke powerful and romantic ideas. Great cars take your imagination, as well as your body, on fascinating journeys to remote worlds. Even as far as Crowthorne.
Thanks To 240Z owner Phil Bradshaw, 240Z specialist Fourways Engineering, www.datsun240z.co.uk, and Edgcumbe Park homeowners Mr and Mrs Vincent.
TECHNICAL DATA #1973 #Datsun-240Z / #Nissan-240Z / #Nissan / #Datsun
Engine 2393cc straight-six, OHC, twin #Hitachi / #Hitachi-SU-type carburettors / #SU
Power 151bhp @ 5600rpm
Torque 146lb ft @ 4400rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Steering Rack and pinion
Suspension Front and rear: MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
Brakes Discs front, drums rear
Performance Top speed 122mph. 0-60mph 8.7sec
Right. Stephen explores the details of the Z, with its flaps by the bonnet for accessing the battery and suchlike, and an under-bonnet lamp that can be removed for localised illumination. Such attention, he says, is typical of the Japanese approach to car design.
‘It represented a gorgeous, remote dreamworld of innocently sexy un-wired consumerism’
Above and right. There had been Japanese sports cars and coupés before the Datsun 240Z, but none had been designed with an eye on the American market. Stephen describes the black, moulded interior as ‘Cold War’.
‘The 240Z cannot be separated from the 1970s and its visual culture. It was co-eval with the avocado-coloured bathroom suite’
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe #2015 #Nissan-GT-R MY15 / #Nissan Once the embodiment of future tech, Nissan’s GT-R now feels deliciously old-school and involving.
Unveiled at the #2007 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan’s R35 GT-R might be getting long in the tooth, but a process of constant refinement and tweaking has ensured its teeth remain razor sharp. And despite the familiarity with the shape, spotting a GT-R is a rare thrill – during its time on sale in Australia, more Ferraris have been sold locally than GT-Rs.
Like other exotica, the Nissan GT-R sizzles with a tension that is lacking from most modern cars. And like other big-hitting sports cars, a flutter of nervous tension shocks me as the unassuming key is handed over and I approach the hulking, square-shouldered shape. So futuristic when new, the interior has aged markedly, but the oversized steering wheel, chunky centre console and multi-mode display screen suit the larger-than life nature of the GT-R. If the design shows the march of time, the quality has improved out of sight over the first R35s of last decade. Our Premium model feels just that.
Prod the red starter button and the Nissan’s 3.8-litre twinturbochargedV6 fires with a dry cough. It’s more industrial than musical and doesn’t hint at the latent potency of the GT-R. For the MY15 model, power and torque remain at the already prodigious levels – 404kW at 6400rpmand 628Nm from 3200-5800rpm. I’m always surprised by how physical the GT-R feels, and while the inherent tech promises the future, the clunks and whirrs from the tightly wound drivetrain feel oldschool.
It’s a dichotomy that bears out in the Nissan’s dynamics. I’ve previously been highly critical of the GT-R’s ride quality (despite claims from Nissan that their engineers have softened the car for each update). TheMY14 update, however, changed my tune and the MY15 further softens my stance. There’s no denying that the GT-R still rides with tightly controlled tension, but there’s no longer a Pavlovian response to flick the dampers to ‘comfort’ mode before you even test out the road surface. The squishier seats also help round off the worst of the impacts.
As alluded to earlier, the GT-R’s dynamics are a blend of tech-enhanced efficiency and old-school, scruff-of-the-neck fun. For those that dismiss the GT-R as a fast car that drives itself, it’s anything but and requires more driver effort than a Porsche 911 Turbo. It also gives up its secrets earlier than Turbo (or even more insane Turbo S). The first time a GT-R steps into oversteer might well surprise you, but once you’re familiar with its responses, you’ll be looking for opportunities to provoke Godzilla.
The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 still possesses sledgehammer shove through the mid-range and into its upper reaches, but newer, more sophisticated turbocharged weapons (Porsche’s 991-generation Turbo and Turbo S are obvious examples) show up the Nissan’s low speed tractability. The Nissan’s six speed dual-clutch gearbox has also been surpassed by those from other brands (again Ferrari and Porsche lead the way here), but there’s still a ruthless efficiency about the manner in which the GT-R gets from here to there in very little time.
With Porsche and Ferrari updating their cars more frequently and with ever higher levels of technology, there’s delicious irony that the Nissan GT-R now represents the old-school.
Above: It’s hard to believe but the current GT-R was revealed in 2007.
+ Ride is much better (no really), still ballistically quick, playful dynamics
- Interior feeling its age evo rating
Engine 3799cc V6, dohc, 24v twin-turbo
Power 404kW @ 6400rpm
Torque 628Nm @ 3200-5800rpm
0-100km/h 2.7sec (claimed)
Top speed 315km/h (claimed)
Weight 1740kg (232kW/tonne)
Basic price $172,000
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.