Thomas Vo 1976 Datsun 280z

I got interested in cars at a young age due to my father's influence. He was an automotive enthusiast before I was born, owning mainly American muscle and some 90’s JDM cars.

Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z
Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z
Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z
Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z
Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z
Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z
Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z
Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z
Thomas Vo  1976 Datsun 280z

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Thomas Vo

1976 Datsun 280z

Instagram: @aivothom

It as an RB25det Series 2 swap @ryujin_Z. I’m currently a student at the University of Buffalo for Computer Science and Mathematics, and I own a Vietnamese restaurant and a photography business which I do on the side whenever I have free time. My photography mainly consists of portraits, street/urban and automotive. 

I got interested in cars at a young age due to my father's influence. He was an automotive enthusiast before I was born, owning mainly American muscle and some 90’s JDM cars. Growing up as a kid, I was rewarded with hot wheels for doing well in school, or finishing chores so I was very interested in cars, I was that child who grew up working on cars with my father, from holding the flashlight to actually working on the cars with him. It was a good bonding experience. The car scene currently isn’t the same as it was in the past 10 years, nowadays I don’t see as much passion for cars as I do the need for attention and “clout” on social media.

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The Datsun S30 chassis has been my favourite car growing up, from seeing photos in magazines such as Import Tuner, to mangas such as Wangan Midnight. After a successful year in the restaurant business and my photography picking up, I was finally able to afford a project car and decided it was time to check one dream car off my list. I chose the 280z instead of the 240z because the availability of the 280z was greater than the 240z, and honestly I couldn’t afford a clean rust free 240z. I’m not a purist of any sort but I would not want to “ruin” a clean 240z. In my honest opinion, the 280z is the car to “Resto-Mod”. Some other cars I would eventually like to own would be an R32 GTR, a real Fairlady 240z, and a Porsche 911.

So I bought the car sight unseen as it was during the 2020 Covid Quarantine in the USA, the car was originally from Tampa, FL and I live in Buffalo, NY. I paid a Datsun specialist in the area to do a PPI (Pre-Purchase Inspection) on the car as I could not check it out in person and the car checked out, it was healthy, well maintained and had little to no rust in the common areas. The Datsun S30’s are amazing cars to drive, and those who have driven one will understand what I mean. The car provides a raw driving experience with no electronic assistance, and you feel as if you are in full control of the car with no assistance such as abs, traction control, power steering, etc. Owning a car like this is an experience in itself, from being stopped at gas stations by people to talk about how they had one 30-40 years ago or how their parents or grandparents had one or asking me what kind of car this is and how they’re shocked to find out it is a Datsun from the ’70s. Most people nowadays don’t even know or remember Datsun. 

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My plans for the car are to build a fun street car that I can enjoy and drive to the track, I do not plan on building a crazy high horsepower car, or a fully dedicated track car. I want to be able to enjoy the car on the street as much as I would on a track. In the future, I am planning on rebuilding the motor to handle a little bit more power reliably, and my goals are to hit at least 450whp. I also plan on getting the full suspension/chassis components from Apex Engineered to modernize the suspension. Ohm from Apex Engineered is an amazing guy, and all the products AE provides are the best money can buy and his customer service is top-notch. If you’re thinking about replacing any suspension parts for your Datsun and many other cars you will not regret going with Apex Engineered.


  • Carbon Fiber Front and Rear Bumpers, 
  • Carbon Fiber Spoiler, 
  • Dapper Lighting LED SEVEN Headlights


  • RB25DET Series 2, 
  • R33 5-speed, 
  • 3.9 R200 LSD, 
  • RSEnthalpy Tune ( 295whp 285 ft/lb), 
  • Greddy Intake Manifold, 
  • GTR Coil Packs, 
  • ARP Head studs, 
  • ACT Stage 2 Clutch, 
  • Tial BOV, 
  • CUBE Short Shifter,


  • Aftermarket Springs and Shocks, 
  • Planning on switching over to a true Coilover set up. 
  • (BC coilovers), 
  • Garage Theory Strut Bar


  • Rota Grids 16x8 +0, 
  • Toyo Proxy R1R 225/45/16


  • NRG 350mm Deep Dish Steering Wheel with short hub and quick release, 
  • AGI Roll Bar/cage, 
  • Autometer Gauges, 
  • Nightrunner x Willians Harnesses 

Future Plans: Recaro Pole Positions, Garrett GTX3076r or G30 660 plus supporting mods,, Haltech ECU, Carbon Signal Moonbeam Body Kit, BC Coils. Work Meister CR01 or TE37V. Full Vinyl wrap in Inozetek Metallic Midnight Purple. Full Front and Rear Apex Engineered Suspension/Chassis,  Hoping to rebuild the motor with forged internals to handle over 500hp. The goal is to hit at least 450whp with the built motor.

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