Aaron Britton - 1972 Datsun 240z
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1972 Datsun 240z
I have always believed you build your car for you, Not anyone else...
I'm 31 years old living in the south coast of the U.K just outside Portsmouth and work in finance supporting small businesses.
I got into cars when I was about 15/16 years old watching car videos on the internet. I used to love e30 and e36 BMWs but I didn’t have a clue about cars and what was modified and what wasn’t, just liked how they looked. When I was 17, I couldn’t wait to drive! It was the only thing that mattered and I passed my test soon after my 17th birthday and bought my first car which was a 1997 1.8 Ford Escort. This is how much I knew about cars.... my dad and I thought we were buying a 1.6 because it had 16v on the back! The next morning I found my insurance was going to cost me a fortune! But it was worth it! My passion for modifying cars took off from a mix of watching the original fast and furious movie and playing with the need for speed underground! I remembered going to watch Tokyo Drift at the cinema when I owned my escort. I swapped and changed through a few different cars ranging from a 1987 Mercedes to a Seat Leon over the first few years. Nothing with lots of mods, just simple wheels, window tints and lowering springs.
Then I turned 21 and I had my heart set on buying a Subaru Impreza ( probably because I drove my girlfriends, dads when I was 18 and thought it was awesome). However, I checked the insurance and it was just too high and hardly anyone would insure me. My mate and I went and visited a Japanese import car dealer to check out what they had with a hope to test drive a few cars. I’m not sure why Japanese cars... maybe it was Tokyo drift that had an influence on us... anyway, when we visited, the guys at the dealership were surprisingly relaxed with letting us go and test drive a few cars. I saw this one car and didn’t have a clue what it was... then I clicked and it was the first car you have at the start of need for speed underground and DK’s car in Tokyo Drift! a Nissan 350z. We took it for a drive and I absolutely loved it, it felt so powerful with its 3.5 v6 (compared to my 1.9 diesel Seat Leon) and 2 seats, it felt like a proper sports car! I didn’t know anything about them but I knew this was the one for me! And bonus... insurance wasn’t bad either!
The 350z was my first Jap car that got me into really modifying a car, I changed so much from both performance and styling including a wide-body Veilside kit just like the one in Tokyo drift. After a few years, I loved the Z so much, I sold it and bought a 370z and loved that too! Then priorities took over and it was time to save and buy a house so I sold the 370z and bought a cheap run around for £400. Once we bought the house, it was time to get a toy again. My fiancé suggested another 370z which I was tempted but I really wanted to learn a bit more about cars on how to do things myself rather than paying someone else to fit mods and fix things. As I loved my Z cars, I was tempted for a Datsun 240z being the first Z car but would also give me that opportunity of a proper project I could learn.
My mate and I went to see a garage who had a few for sale. All of the projects but only 1 which had no previous collision damage and it drove!! It didn’t drive great as it had no brakes, hardly any interior, very smokey and you could see the ground through the floor but it drove! It was a 1972 240z that had just been imported from California. The next thing it was on a trailer being delivered to my house!
SpeedyMech a local garage offered to help me learn about my car and learn how to fix and fit parts to it. The guys there are such nice guys and I can’t thank them enough for all their help with teaching me! I started off working underneath it overwinter on my driveway which was bloody cold lol and then was lucky enough to move it to a ramp at the garage which was much easier.
Once I got it registered and road legal, I drove it around looking like a rat rod for a few months. I constantly had issues where lights would work one minute then not the next. The wiring on these is just old but the beauty of having an old car without a computer meant I could learn wiring diagrams and it was fairly basic to get my head around! Then it went into the paint at a local body shop called GT Spraying. It started to transform as I then put my own stamp on it. The original colour was a brown colour but as you can see from the photos it was not in a good place.
My favourite colour is blue but I wanted a blue that would fit a classic car but also with a modern twist but not too modern so that it would still suit its classic lines. It took many hours searching through Google but I then found the perfect colour that I liked!
I also decided to change the bodywork to smooth the rear end and not run a rear bumper with a taller boot wing. I definitely wanted some over fenders despite people telling me not to do it as the original arches were in good shape and solid.... this build was for me... I contacted Star Road who is a classic car specialist shop in Tokyo and they supplied me with my over fenders which were made to fit the lines of the z and fitted perfectly! Since bodywork, new BC suspension and bought some wheels and wanted that JDM look where the wheels and tyres have that bubble look from behind, the engine has been rebuilt just in time for my wedding. A few days before my wedding I was still underneath the car trying to get it to run! I was so pleased to drive it to my wedding for some snaps!
Since then I have only done small tweaks playing around with how it sits, upgrading parts to modern parts, rebuilding the brake system and a new exhaust system from Z story.
It’s just been good to get the Z to some shows with some friends and their cars! I am part of a few clubs and have attended shows with A good bunch of like-minded car nuts at @fuji_jdm car club. Shows like Japfest, Simply Japanese, Trax, Go Japan are just a few of my favourites to get along too! Simply Japanese at Beaulieu was my first show with the Z in 2019 and to be honest I was just happy that she made it there! What a surprise I had when she came 2nd place in people's choice award!!
Engine / Transmission
- Rebuilt 2.4 L24 engine slightly bored out with Piper fast road cam
- Twin downdraft Weber carbs
- MSD electronic ignition system
- Mishimoto radiator upgrade
- Upgraded alternator
- Upgraded starter motor
- Upgraded water pump
- Upgraded oil pump
- Zstory Street - Sport manifold and exhaust line with JDM muffler
- Manual 5 speed gearbox
Suspension & Wheels
- BC Racing BR extreme-low Coilovers
- Japan Racing Wheels JR19 with 15x9 on front and 15x10.5 on rear
- Toyo Proxes Tyres - 225/50 Front and 235/50 Rear
- Star Road Japan S30 over fenders
- BRE tall rear spoiler
- Smoothed rear end and side markers
- Custom metallic paint
- Fully stripped down to bare metal with new sound deadening and full carpet.
- Classic Cobra bucket seats
- Nardi deep corn steering wheel with NRG boss kit
I have thoroughly enjoyed building this car and have been a full restoration project with some tweaks of my own liking. It has been a great sense of accomplishment doing most of it myself alongside the help and support from some amazing friends! Who would've thought before this car I had never even done an oil change myself! I still have so much more to do! I would like to get the interior to a show worth condition as I feel it’s quite basic at the moment and also looking to add a few bits to the exterior too but you will have to wait and see what those changes are going to be
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