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 Post subject: restomod for my 73 240z
PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:11 pm
Posts: 2
I am looking for a garage in the Rhode Island area that would be able to do a restomod type project for me. I have a 73 240z. one family car, pretty clean, 58k miles, minimal rust. stock/original except for webber carbs, aftermarket rims. both put on by my brother in law 20 -30 years ago. I am hoping to keep it looking pretty stock but upgrade brakes, steering, exhaust. open to other ideas.

If anyone has knowledge of a garage with experience working on 240z, I would appreciate the help.

also if anyone has done a restomod project, I am curious to learn what you have done.

Thanks

Frank


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:51 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:11 am
Posts: 311
I recommend Vinny Bedini. He's located in New Milford, Ct but I'd consider that close enough for his level of quality and expertise. I'm in Pennsylvania and have done business with him.

Great guy, none better IMO.

860-355-1829.

He's a club member by the way.

Jay


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 13430
Location: CT
I concur. Vinny is the best, hands-down. Not sure what his summer schedule is, or whether he is interested in putting anything other than a Datsun engine into a Z, but you could ask. He has a trailer and can arrange to come to you to collect the car.

Please keep us updated on your project, sounds interesting!
Frank

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1970 240Z


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:33 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:11 pm
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Thanks for the information. I will reach out to him and discuss what he thinks and what the possibilities might be.

Much appreciated.

Frank


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 13430
Location: CT
Glad to have you with us Frank, welcome aboard.
What kind of mods do you have pictured for your '73?

Frank T

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1970 240Z


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 13430
Location: CT
Frank:
Just for your information while you decide how to build your Z, the cars which are built using Datsun engines hold more personal interest (and value) than non-Datsun conversions.

The cars only had 151 bhp to begin with, and that equated to roughly 125hp at the wheels. Not a lot by today's standards, but very sufficient to make it perform well and FAR beyond what $3400 would buy you in other cars of the day. My stock 1970 car beat most sports cars, including the 350 Corvettes, up to 70 mph because of the weight difference.

But the L-series engines can be beefed up to about 300bhp if you really feel you need that much. It costs a few thousand dollars to do that to them, and a V8 is actually cheaper, but people who go shopping for Zs want the old ones, and as close to stock as they can find. The old sixes are dirt-simple to work on compared to today's V8s.

Spending a few thousand dollars on a performance Z engine will reward you with plenty of satisfaction. You can also install larger L26s or L28s; they're all the same block and all the accessories just swap over.

Having said that, the first Z cars were released with a 10-year life expectancy and they're five times beyond that today. Also, they were released on a budget which would let Datsun make a profit on each car they sold for $3400, so some of the systems, while being acceptable, weren't developed to their highest potential when they began selling the cars.

The single biggest area of improvement over the years was made to the electrical systems. I could write a page about how they improved every year (and sometimes several times in a single year) to the point that old electrical items need to be used only in the VIN range of their build date. The electrical items from a 1971 or later are useless in my 1970 for example, and so-on up thru the 240Z years. Today there are plug-in kits which route all the heaviest amps and voltage power thru a pair of circuit breakers on the engine bay fender and I highly recommend that. The whole 240Z series routed every single circuit thru the 4-way flasher switch and a single failure there would blow fuses or even cause a fire. The old Multi-Switch carried too much electrical load, too. Upgrading the old alternator with a modern diode-controlled 70 amp unit is a sound decision if you get the twin circuit breaker system. A cheap $100 electronic ignition system can drop into your distributor and eliminate all the hassle of setting and timing ignition points.

The 4 speed gearbox was made in two models, the later (which is in your '73) being the better of the two. A 5spd 280Z or ZX gearbox is one of the happiest things you can do for your Z if you actually intend to drive it. 5th gear is an effective overdrive gear ratio and lets the engine relax noticeably. I have one now and don't know how I managed to live with the 4 speed for the 12 years I first owned this car.

Brakes were adequate but are a prime target for upgrade. All manner of aftermarket kits are available today for upgrading the front axle AND for converting the rear axle to disc brakes as well. I personally prefer to have drums back there but I did replace the old iron drums with a set of lightweight aluminum drums a few years ago; they reduce unsprung weight and cool down faster than the originals.

There are at least a doZen single-or-dual-pipe exhaust options available for your car. You will have to decide whether you want it to be so silent and polite you can hear the engine fan run, or be a real free-breathing performer with dual pipes and glass pack mufflers. In the automotive world there is nothing else that sings with the voice of an overhead cam straight six engine. (Think Maserati). Each exhaust option gives you a different tone. They are all beautiful and instantly recogniZable on the road.

Your car came stock with what we call the Hitachi "flat top" carburetors. Those were a stop-gap measure to reduce emissions when the American EPA changed everybody's emission standards. They did lower emissions, but they lowered performance too, didn't give great fuel mileage and had severe after-boil and vapor lock issues. Many attempts were made to cool them down enough to make them reliable but the following year the Z got fuel injection available (on the 260z) so the temporary flat-tops never got fully developed for the street. They do have an acceleration flap which the older carbs don't have; that eliminates a bit of lag when you press the pedal, so the flattops are popular with old Z racers who care more about track performance than about street manners, but they are generally avoided today for street cars. Plenty of high performance triple carb setups are made for the L-series engine (Webers, Solex, Mikunis, others) which also look really cool on your engine and can add 20hp overnight. A slightly hotter camshaft is required for them to work properly.

The interiors changed slightly almost every year, so you want to familiarize yourself with OEM and aftermarket options. The cheap seats improved with each year; some reclined, others didn't. They can be replaced easily with really posh comfy aftermarket racing units with side-support, and the steering wheel is often swapped out for a smaller diameter or with a flat-chord bottom to give more leg room. Big interior changes over the years included different consoles, relocated ashtrays, armrests, different 4-way flasher switches, improved seatbelts and slightly changed dashboards. Dashes cracked predictably in the very early cars but they had been improved by the time your car was released. It is not unusual to find a '73 car with a perfect dash; it is nearly impossible to find a 1970-71 car with one. Smaller changes included different design patterns on the interior vinyl panels, modified center control panels, and different center air vent. Radios and audio systems were upgraded almost every year and airconditioning was a desirable option for grand touring. There were 3 different speedometers used over the years, each one with a different starting speed.

The only reason you might want to pay strict attention to all these nuances is if you wished to create a very-correct 1973 240z. If you didn't care about what years the similar parts came from, and just wanted a solid, fun, road-Z, you could play mix-and-match and nobody but the hardest Z aficionado would even notice.

From personal experience I will recommend that you build your car slowly, "from the ground-up", with safety as your main goal. Start with the wheels and tires you want, then build the suspension, brakes, and the exhaust, then the engine, interior and paint. Don't be in a hurry; build your car slowly over years so you can drive a "rolling restoration" and enjoy each change you make. Nobody cares what your Z looks like while you're working on it; it's your smile they understand. Every one of our cars is a work in progress. Expect to make mistakes and buy wrong parts. Expect to spend money, but wisely, over years. I probably have over $20,000 invested in my car AFTER I bought it, but built it slowly over 12 years so my family still wore shoes and ate each day and slept indoors at night. You might want to save old parts you replace, in case you change your mind later and want to revert back to a more-original car. Save the original block regardless if you use it or not; numbers-matching engines increase the car's value.

The prices of old Zs has literally skyrocketed over the past year. They turned 50 and are now certified classic cars rather than just special interest or collectible cars. Two years ago you could buy a roadworthy Z for $8,000 ($5,000 if the owner was desperate). Today you can only buy parts cars for that price. This year a very original 1970 low-mileage street Z sold for $320,000, a high-water mark for these cars. That sale, along with the new classic status, has boosted the value of all Zs about 20% across the board. However much you ultimately decide to put into your car will become an investment.

Do you have any specific dreams about how you want to build your baby?

Frank T

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1970 240Z


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