We all have our childhood dream cars.
For some it may be a Lamborghini Countach or a BMW 3.0 CSL, for Andres Lell it was always the Datsun 240Z.
He’s loved the S30 Fairlady design for as long as he can remember; the long nose and small cockpit blend into an iconic, sporty shape. In building this car, Andres‘ childhood dream would be realized.
Working hard has paid dividends for Andres, and he’s now in a position where he can afford more than one of his favorite poster cars. Within his collection are a few cars with rally pedigree, the reason being that when Andres was young he spent a lot of time in a garage with his father who built and prepared cars for special stage duty.
Due to its climate, Estonia is a country where the weather dictates a lot. Long winters necessitate vehicles a little more sensible than a 600hp rear-wheel drive Datsun, so an Evo or an STI is ideal when conditions allow.
But if you want to be really original you go for a Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution – only 2,500 were ever produced after all. The engine did give up in Andre’s example, but a replacement was found in Japan.
I was overwhelmed by the garage. But who wouldn’t be, seeing a Ford Escort Cosworth, Peugeot 205 GTi and Toyota Celica GT-Four (one of only 300 left-hand drive cars in existence) parked next to an ultra-rare Mercedes-Benz SL600 AMG with V12 (one of 150 made), or a Bentley Turbo RL (one of 200).
As you can see, there are some amazing cars in Andres’ garage, but the Fairlady Z is by far his favorite. We planned a special photoshoot for it, even though the weather was more in favor of all-wheel drive…
True To Spirit But Boosted
The base car was found in Holland around three years ago, and for a few months Andres drove it in stock condition while he thought about the direction of the project.
In total, the Z was under the knife for around 18 months, with all of the work carried out at local tuning and fabrication shop VKM Motors. Andres knew he wanted a high-powered machine, but he also didn’t want to lose any of the Datsun’s DNA, hence the decision to replace the original inline-six with another Nissan inline-six. It was only ever going to be an RB26DETT, but this one’s now making 600hp and 590Nm. In a car that weighs just 1,000kg, it’s a recipe for a whole lot of fun.
To hit those numbers, VKM fitted custom intake and exhaust manifolds, a GReddy muffler, big single Precision turbo, custom intercooler, and a Haltech Elite 2500 engine management system, among other power-making upgrades. Keeping it running cool is a Mishimoto aluminum radiator with twin 11-inch fans.
The newfound power is transferred to the rear wheels by an R33 5-speed gearbox and R32 Nismo differential. Of course, the engine could develop even more power, but 600hp is a reliable number for the setup.
In order to bring the old chassis up to spec, the Z underwent a lot of chassis reinforcement. The body was fully welded for strength, and a custom strut bar was added in the rear. The suspension solution was provided by Techno Toy Tuning, an American company making performance parts for interesting cars. Wilwood brakes feature at all four corners.
For the exterior look, Andres’ main idea was to make the Z wide and aggressive, so Miura-san’s Pandem kit fit the bill perfectly. The white paint work is close to the Datsun’s original color, but up close its metallic nature brings a modern twist.
Andres put a lot of effort into the color; it’s the most visible characteristic and he wanted it perfect. LED lights finish things off nicely.
The Datsun sits on 17-inch RAYS Volk TE37V wheels and wears Toyo Proxes R888 rubber, 235/40R17 at the front and 255/40R17 out back.
Inside, absolutely no corners were cut. Carbon fiber Bride Histrix seats were ordered from Japan, the carbon center console was assembled in Dubai, and the leather trim was sewn in Estonia.
The steering wheel is the Z’s original item, albeit restored to new condition, while custom gauges by Speedhut featuring a GPS speedometer were added.
The balance between the new and old is in perfect harmony.
A similar approach was taken in the engine bay, and the result is an extremely clean look. All of the wiring is hidden; everything is composed and clean. Even the front strut bar was ditched to keep the space minimalistic.
The Same But Different
If you’re looking at this Z and thinking you’ve seen something similar, you’d be right. Andres’ S30 indeed shares similarities with Fast and Furious star Sung Kang’s FuguZ, but their purposes are quite different. Sung’s car runs a naturally aspirated RB26 engine and its philosophy is high-RPM canyon runs; Andres’ car is more of grand tourer, so to speak.
It has functioning heating and a stereo, while FuguZ has a roll bar and track pedigree.
We can look at this Datsun and appreciate it for the vibe it gives off, but really it’s the mechanical components and solutions that make it such an amazing machine.
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